Editorial: Missions as a Display of God’s Glory -- By: Stephen J. Wellum

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 09:4 (Winter 2005)
Article: Editorial: Missions as a Display of God’s Glory
Author: Stephen J. Wellum

Editorial: Missions as a Display of God’s Glory

Stephen J. Wellum

Stephen J. Wellum is Associate Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Wellum received his Ph.D. degree in theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and has also taught theology at the Associated Canadian Theological Schools and Northwest Baptist Theological College and Semi-nary in Canada. He has contributed to several publications and a collection of essays on theology and worldview issues.

In the evangelical church we talk much about the Great Commission and the need for missions, usually tied to statistics regarding human need. Unfortunately, though, we often do not focus on what is central in missions—the utter centrality of the name and glory of our great triune God. As with everything in Scripture and Christian theology, it should not surprise us that the doctrine of God is most important. From Genesis to Revelation, our great God is the primary actor, the Lord of all, and, as such, he is central to everything (see Rom 11:33–36). This is his universe, not ours; he is concerned primarily about his glory, not ours (Isa 42:8). It is his name and character that we have sinned against (Rom 3:23), and in his gracious choice to save human beings, it is he who receives all praise, adoration, and worship (Eph 1:4–6). No doubt, we are the beneficiaries of his gracious action in our Lord Jesus as he has poured out his grace upon us, but he has brought about our redemption in order that “all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father” (John 5:23 NIV) and “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:10–11 NIV). Even in the judgment of those who stand outside of Christ, God will receive all praise and honor since he has not compromised his own holy name, character, and glory.

This point is clearly seen in the Great Commission itself (Matt 28:18–20) since, in the end, it is more about the glory and supremacy of our Lord Jesus than about us. To see this, it is imperative to establish the context of this crucial redemptive-historical event. Here we are presented with the risen Lord, who not only has all authority by virtue of who he is (John 1:1–3; Phil 2:6...

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