The Mission Of The Church -- By: Newton Wray Upland

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 076:303 (Jul 1919)
Article: The Mission Of The Church
Author: Newton Wray Upland


The Mission Of The Church

Newton Wray Upland

No question should appeal more directly to the heart of the true believer than this. While the cause claims his love and zeal, the end sought must react on his spiritual nature, and greatly affect the volitional result. If one’s ideal and aim determine the character of his activity in other affairs, they certainly do so in the work of the Church. Neither the Church nor the individual will show the best type of service under a mistaken view of the Divine calling. The goal will affect all the incentives to conduct.

There is but one method of ascertaining this goal, so far as the Church is concerned, and placing in clear light her supreme obligation; and that is, searching the Scriptures with a spirit divested of every thought and desire, but to know the thought and desire of God, and to hear His voice speaking therein, causing them to blend in harmonious testimony to the truth. Such a method will establish, I think, certain negative propositions and make clear a positive one.

The first proposition is, that the Mission of the Church is not the Conversion of the World. This may seem strange to those who have “been accustomed to regard the present dispensation as His final one, and to assert that existing agencies have been ordained to bring in the Millennium. “Is not this the dispensation of the Holy Spirit?” they ask, “and was He not given to convert the world?”

The idea of universal salvation implied by such a question not only contradicts the teaching of Scripture, but sets aside the free moral agency of man, whose power to resist the truth is as evident as that of the Holy Spirit to

renew those who yield to His operations. We naturally suppose that our Lord would plainly state the mission of the Holy Spirit, in the messages He gave the disciples concerning Him. The supposition is fact. Understanding by the world its inhabitants, who are without God and without hope, we are taught that the mission of the Holy Spirit with respect to the world is to convict it “of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8–11). As to the penitent and believing, He has another office to perform, — to work in them that spiritual change which constitutes them the children of God, and then to comfort them, sanctify them, and endue them for the service of Christ (John 1:10–13; 3:3–6; 14:16–17; 16:13–15; Acts 1:8; ...

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