The Missionary Society As the Sending Agency -- By: Greg Peters

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 125:498 (Apr 1968)
Article: The Missionary Society As the Sending Agency
Author: Greg Peters

The Missionary Society As the Sending Agency

George W. Peters

In the previous issue, we sought to establish the thesis that the church is the divinely ordained mediating sending authority.

The analysis and conclusions in the first article, of course, raised the questions: Have missions operated on an unscriptural basis by creating special missionary sending agencies? Have the missionary societies imposed upon the churches and robbed them of their Scriptural prerogative? Have the missionary societies a Scriptural right to exist? Can we justify their continued existence and ministry?

These questions deserve careful pondering. The answer, however, is not too difficult to find. While we must contend that the church is the mediating sending authority, the manner in which the local church exercises such authority depends upon circumstances and convictions. The church may do so directly or by delegation, establishing or relating herself to a special sending agency commonly known as a missionary society. Many congregations exercise their prerogative through denominational agencies. Others prefer an interdenominational sending organization, while some few congregations prefer to act directly as a sending agency. In our days of numerous complications and far-reaching involvements of missions, the latter method does not seem advisable nor practicable.

The advantages of being a member of a respectable missionary society are so numerous and so evident that we

strongly urge young people to associate themselves with a missionary sending agency.

It must be stated, however, that to become dogmatic in this area and seek to establish exegetically the Biblicism of a missionary society seems to be going beyond clear Scripture evidence. The Bible presents to us broad organizational principles, but not defined organizational patterns. These broad principles certainly provide authority for the organization of missionary societies and justify their continued function.

The principle of organization for efficiency and effectiveness is clearly evident in the Scriptures. The church had been moving on as a spontaneously expanding body without taking care of efficient organization. Due to this negligence, difficulties arose. Acts 6 is not so much concerned with the creation of a new office in the church as it is concerned with adequate organization for efficient function and effective service. The central lesson here is not the divine institution of the diaconate. The emphasis must rather be placed upon efficiency of organization for effective service.

The same truth is t...

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