Christ: Our Pattern And Plan -- By: John C. Whitcomb, Jr.

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 19:2 (Summer 1976)
Article: Christ: Our Pattern And Plan
Author: John C. Whitcomb, Jr.

Christ: Our Pattern And Plan

An Analysis of Evangelical Missions and Evangelism In The Light of the Great Commission

John C. Whitcomb, Jr., Th.D.

Grace Theological Seminary Winona Lake, Indiana


The Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ is perhaps the most quoted but least obeyed command He gave to His Church. It is rather obvious that this is true of the vast majority of Christians. But, surprising though it may be, it also seems to be true of the majority of evangelical missionaries and evangelists as well. It shall be our purpose in this study to explore the nature of this problem and God’s revealed solution.

Compromising The Great Commission

One of the most certain paths to spiritual failure is to ignore the dangers that surround us. This is especially true in the great modern foreign missionary enterprises of evangelical churches where Satan would use any possible means to distract us from the pattern and plan of our Lord for world evangelism. It is therefore expedient, even if it is not always pleasant, to examine some of the enormous pressures that

evangelical missionaries have been facing in the past decade to compromise their convictions in Biblical doctrines.

One of the great pressures for doctrinal compromise has come from the direction of gigantic congresses for world evangelism which have been launched with enormous expense and with increasing appeals for attendance, participation, discussion, debate, and finally the signing of covenants and declarations that do not resemble the priorities and the precision of God’s revealed guidelines for doctrinal truth.

It cannot be denied that huge interdenominational and intermission conventions have a magnetic attraction that is almost irresistible. Missionaries who have labored for years in isolated and difficult mission fields suddenly gain a sense of belonging to something truly big in such mass meetings, where thousands of fellow Christian workers can sing and pray and share together in the things of Christ.

But the very attractiveness of such conventions, with the aura of visible unity, promotion through mass media, and the promise of technological breakthroughs in Christian radio, literature, transportation, and even representation before world governments, carries with it hidden dangers that must be honestly faced before the Lord and His Word.

It was as recently as 1966 that the first of these great evangelical congresses was staged. It was the World Congress on Evangelism held in Berlin, Germany, with 1,100 delegates brought together from over 100 different de...

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