The Missionary Call—What Saith the Scriptures? -- By: Alden A. Gannett

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 117:465 (Jan 1960)
Article: The Missionary Call—What Saith the Scriptures?
Author: Alden A. Gannett

The Missionary Call—What Saith the Scriptures?

Alden A. Gannett

[Alden A. Gannett is Assistant Professor of Bible Exposition, Dallas Theological Seminary.]

The cry of the hour is for more missionaries. The current political, moral, and religious scenes of this decade, when viewed in the light of the Word of God, indicate more clearly than ever before that the coming of the Lord “is nigh.” For centuries there has been continually the warning of the Epistle to the Hebrews that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (9:27). Along with this, and sounding louder in recent years, there has been a second voice exhorting, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matt 24:42). In the light of these two warnings, there is a solemn conclusion: the church of Jesus Christ must act, and act now if it is going to evangelize this generation.

Various Attitudes toward the Missionary Call

With this sense of urgency ever demanding immediate response, Christians are confronted with the basic issue of what is commonly designated the missionary call. While faithful pastors, evangelists, and teachers are heralding the Scriptural doctrines of human depravity and divine grace, missionary leaders and volunteers are reciting the alarming spiritual statistics of the many unreached areas of the world; and together they continue to urge, in view of the pressing needs of the hour, the necessity of obedience to the agelong great commission.

And what has been the response to these pleas? With some, where there has been little or no effort to look upon the fields, what seed has been sown Satan has stolen out of their hearts and has left them in appalling ignorance. Others, after coming to understand both the human need and the divine commission, have reacted with inexcusable indifference.1 Then there are those who deliberately refuse to heed the call of God to preach the gospel, and thus reply with open rebellion. All of these

attitudes reflect a spiritual problem which can only be met by the Holy Spirit through the Word.

On the other hand, some few respond to the missionary challenge solely on the basis of sanctified human judgment. The “general call” of the great commission, as it is sometimes designated, is sufficient for them. The oft-repeated quotation—”a need, knowledge of that need, and ability to meet that need constitute a call”—constrains them to go to the field. Many times such words as those of James Gilmour, that great missionary to t...

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