Theological Priorities for Missionary Engagement

This past Sunday, Dr. Mark Saucy (Professor of Theology at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, Califorinia)

presented a very insightful and practical lesson to our Missions Class at Grace Baptist Church in which he addressed theological priorities for western missionaries.

1. The Priority of the Gospel

He asked the question: “What is the core of the message that defines Christianity?”
It is One Event and Three Questions
The Event is the CROSS! (Eph 1:10; 1 Cor 1:23)

Three Questions —

  • Who was there? (Who is Jesus?)
  • What happened there? (What is the meaning of the Cross?)
  • How can it apply to us? (How is it applied?)

The answers to these questions are the “Die For” issues. This is the core of Christianity!

We must not die for “isms” – Calvinism, Dispensationalism, Pre-Millenialism, Protestantism, etc.

We must be clear that Jesus is more than just a man, that on the cross Jesus paid the penalty for sin, and that salvation is by faith alone.
2. The Priority of the Gospel in its biblical context

We must be clearly biblical. We must not just find a verse in the Bible to support our doctrinal beliefs, we must find the way the Bible presents a doctrinal belief.

We must also be aware of our cultural perspective. In the West, our western values influence the way that we read Scripture. “It is impossible to read Scripture outside of your cultural perspective.”
a) Be attentive to Scripture’s own deep theological structures.

We must understand that the theme of the Bible is not Redemption of a People, but Kingdom and Covenant. Jesus preaches the Kingdom.
b) Be attentive to Scripture own terminology.

We must see God the way that He reveals Himself in Scripture as the God of loving holiness. While you may feel compelled to present God to others as the God of sovereign grace, the Bible prioritizes God’s love and holiness as His primary attributes more than His sovereignty and grace.

We must “follow the Bible’s terms.”


As you attempt to engage in missional activities, whether here in North America or abroad, you must be clear on the message of the gospel. How would you answer these three questions:

  • Who was there? (Who is Jesus?)
  • What happened there? (What is the meaning of the Cross?)
  • How can it apply to us? (How is it applied?)

Author

Dave DeVries

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Dr. Dave DeVries is a coach, trainer and strategist – and founder of Missional Challenge. He is passionate about coaching and training church planters and missional leaders. His training skills have been used to mobilize church planters, pastors and ministry leaders across the country and around the world. Missional Challenge partners together with churches, networks and denominations to advance disciplemaking movements globally.With 25+ years of church planting and leadership development experience, Dave brings his passion and encouragement to those he trains and coaches. He created The Multiplication Cycle™ to assist church planters to start churches by making disciples. He has trained and coached hundreds of coaches and church planters across the United States and internationally.Dave has been coaching pastors and church planters for more than ten years. His experience in church multiplication led to his doctorate in transformational leadership at Bakke Graduate University. He also received a Master of Divinity from The Master’s Seminary and graduated from Biola University with a B.S. in Business Administration.
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