An Evangelical Response to Theological Issues in Missions -- By: Greg Peters

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 135:539 (Jul 1978)
Article: An Evangelical Response to Theological Issues in Missions
Author: Greg Peters


An Evangelical Response to Theological Issues in Missions

George W. Peters

[George W. Peters, Professor Emeritus of World Missions, Dallas Theological Seminary.]

What is to be the response of evangelicals to theological issues confronting missions today? In a previous article this writer discussed several theological issues which currently pose a serious threat to world evangelization: universalism, “salvation today” theology, realized eschatology, and Dortian Calvinism.1 What message is to be given in this theological chaos and bewilderment?

The message, ministry, and contributions of evangelical missionaries may be stated in two main propositions.

The First Proposition:
A Biblicism That Is True to the Word

Three essentials for present-day missions are suggested by this proposition.

1. The missionary must go forth with a thorough-going biblicism which does justice to the claims of the Scriptures.

The Bible in its entirety is the inspired and therefore the infallible, inerrant Word of God. It does not merely contain the Word of God nor does it present a record of the thoughts of God as perceived by man with all its contemporary myth stories, etc.

The neoorthodox theory that the Bible becomes the Word of God is also rejected. The Bible is the Word of God. Christ said, “The words that I speak unto you are spirit and are life”

(John 6:63b); Paul exhorted his readers to take “the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God” (Eph 6:17b); and the writer to the Hebrews stated, “For the word of God is quick [living] and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword…” (Heb 4:12a, italics added).

2. The missionary must be fully persuaded that the Bible is self-authenticating when boldly preached in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Christ.

Uniquely the Bible is self-authenticating. Uniquely the Holy Spirit relates Himself to the written Word of God as He relates Himself to no other word. There is a mystic-realistic relationship between the Word of God written and the operations of the Holy Spirit. This is why Paul wrote, “And my speech [word, ‘logos’] and my preaching [proclamation] were not with enticing [persuasive] words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Cor 2:4). In a similar vein ...

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