What Happens to the Church Which Ignores Missions

Some suppose that a church may feature worship and nurture, leaving gathering as a minor role.  More often, Christians shrink from affirming such a position, but implement it in practice.  Mission is reduced to a few offerings, the visit of several exhausted missionaries on fund-raising junkets and the labours of an ignored missions committee.  Such a church is actively involved in scattering, for the congregation that ignores missions will atrophy and soon find itself shattered by internal dissensions.  It will inevitably begin to lose its own young people, disillusioned by hearing the gospel trumpet sounded every Sunday for those who never march.

– Edmund Clowney, The Church: Contours in Christian Theology, copyright 1988, page 160

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Why We Need God

We have seen how completely the message of the Bible centers in God the Savior.  It is God who must come, because the human condition is hopeless, and God’s promises are so great.  We need God, not because we need his help to solve our problems, but because God’s holy justice is our problem.  Only he can make us right in his sight, and to do so he must beat our judgment, provide our righteousness and transform our natures.

– Edmund Clowney, The Church: Contours in Christian Theology, copyright 1988, page 158

The Theology of the “Servant Church”

In the sixties, the World Council of Churches (WCC) developed the theology of the ‘servant church’, affirming that the church does not have a mission but is mission: that the church exists only in mission.  For this view, the symbol of the WCC is singularly inappropriate: the church is not an ark of the saved delivered from a flood of judgment.  Rather, it is the company of those who know that the whole world is saved, and can declare the world’s salvation.

– Edmund Clowney, The Church: Contours in Christian Theology, copyright 1988, page 155

The Esteem We Cherish

Nurture in Christ is not a self-improvement program to build self-esteem.  The esteem we cherish is not self-esteem, but our Father’s esteem, extended to us not because we deserved it or earned it, but because in love he claimed us.  True, we were made in his image, but like the prodigal, we had forfeited all the rights of sonship.  The Father’s amazing grace claimed us while we were without hope and without God in the world.  God loved us enough to give his Son for us, and he loves us still.  Nurture is rooted in our new position in Christ.  Without hope there cannot be growth; without a new identity there is nothing to hope for.

– Edmund Clowney, The Church: Contours in Christian Theology, copyright 1988, page 147-148