Missions is a God-centered endeavor, not a man-centered one. It is, from start to finish, about the Glory of God. Isaiah 42:8 says “I am the Lord; that is my name. My glory I give to no other.” According to David Platt, “The most glorious reason you exist is for the proclamation of the glory of God to the ends of the world.”

We participate in giving the Good News of Jesus Christ to our community and to the nations because missions is an expression of who God is. Because of our union with Christ, who is The Way, The Truth, and The Life, we can, by the strength he provides, participate in what He is already doing around the world: reach the nations for his glory.

The God of Missions

If we want to understand the heart of missions, we first need to understand God’s heart for humanity, and His heart for humanity flows from who He is. When we look at God in the Scriptures, we find him to be an infinite being without any outside limitations.

  • He is a spirit that lacks all the physical limitations that we face. (John 4:24)
  • He is an eternal being who created time and operates totally free from its constraints.
  • He is self-existent and therefore can exist without any outside help (John 5:26)
  • He is omnipresent so he is not under the constraints of space.
  • He is omniscient and therefore always has perfect, complete knowledge.
  • He is omnipotent and therefore always has sufficent power to accomplish everything he desires.
  • He is absolutely sovereign, and therefore all things work according to the counsel of his will.
  • He is immutable and therefore will never change. All the attributes he possesses now he will always possess to the same absolute degree.

In the wrong hands this unbridled power would be horrifying. Let’s look at those wonderful attributes of His character which guide the actions of His infinite being.

God is personal. He is an incredibly outgoing and joyful God, and because He never changes, He has always been that way. Being perfectly loving, from all eternity, the Father and Son have delighted to share their love and joy with and through the Spirit.

According to Michael Reeves, “It is not that God becomes sharing; because He is triune, God is a sharing God, a God who loves to include. Indeed, that is why God will go on to create. His love is not for keeping, but for spreading.”1

  • God is truthful, and is the source of all truth. It is impossible for man to know God at all and live outside the realm of truth.
  • God is wise. He uses all his resources: his knowledge, power, authority, and sovereignty in the best possible way.
  • God is righteous and just. In righteousness, he does everything perfect and right. In justice, he is totally and completely impartial.
  • God is loving. Some elevate this attribute above all others, but it is coequal with the other attributes. Agapan is placing value on something and acting with its highest good in mind. Larry Crabb once wrote: “God’s love relentlessly pursues our best when we would happily settle for less.”

The complete character of God is involved in the salvation he has provided. The character of God also come into play with regards to missions.

At the center of missions, we find a very personal, outgoing God. Though his resources are unlimited to carry out missions — he could write the Gospel message accross the sky in every language known to man — he has chosen the church.

Why?

Participating in His Divine Nature

According to Dwight Pentacost: “When God created Adam, God made Adam in the image and likeness of Himself, with all the essential components of personality, so that Adam might enter into fellowship with and glorify God.”Fellowship with God includes sharing in his mind, heart, and will for the world.

Sharing the Gospel and making disciples is the wonderful privilege of becoming instruments through which He demonstrates His qualities to a lost and dying world. God has asked living, breathing people — who are united with Him in heart, mind, and will — to carry His personal message in a personal way to those who are in need of hearing it.

Missions doesn’t just rest on him being personal. Missions rests on God being a loving God as well. God relentlessly pursues our best, even when we would, by nature, settle for less. God’s love pursued the world’s best when He sent Christ into the world as Savior.

Christ’s saviorhood involves not only our being declared legally righteous before God, it also involves the impartation of His life into those who put their confidence in Him. It also involves Christ continuing to reach out to those who are lost by means of those who carry his life within.

This is where God’s truthfulness comes into play. God, through man’s conscience, the Law, and the life of Christ, told mankind the truth about his problem: man is rotten to the core. Man doesn’t just do bad things, they are by nature bad.

This is where righteousness and justice come to play: God doesn’t play favorites. He judges all men by the same standard. At the heart of missions is a God who cannot overlook the sins of some, even if they are deep in a jungle somewhere. At the heart of missions is the truth that man’s only hope is found in God’s righteousness and justice being satisfied in the provision that His love made.

This is where God’s wisdom enters in: In his wisdom, He provided the best way for the message to be carried out, which would give Him maximum glory. A way that is personal enough to satisfy a personal God. A way that demonstrates that He’s a loving God who pursues that which is best for His creation. A way that rests in truth, and a way that declares that God is an impartal judge.3

Our case for missions doesn’t rest on a single command: it rests on who God is. Those who question the validity of missions today have lost sight of God’s nature.

  1. Delighting in the Trinity, Michael Reeves: page 31
  2. Designed to Be Like Him, J. Dwight Pentecost: page 26
  3. I owe much of this reasoning to Ron Lindsey of Ethnos 360.

6 Links That REALLY Internetted is dedicated serving up the highest-quality, insanely-fresh, linkiest-links on the internet.


I immediately feel inadequate.

“Because the 72-year-old just offed a heapin’ helpin’ of the venomous reptiles gathered under her home, according to a neighbor, Susan Thompson, who was visiting Newby and then posted Friday about her feat on Facebook, WTVD-TV reported.”

72-year-old woman uses shotgun, shovel, and rake handle to kill 11 copperhead snakes under her home.


I had my first exposure to Reeves through his book Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith. Later, by God’s remarkable providence, I read Rejoicing in Christ during a tumultuous time in our lives. He’s incredibly compelling, faithful to Scripture, and British. Here’s a powerful series he did on The Word in 2008.

“In three talks, Mike Reeves examines the doctrine of the Word of God. Recorded at UCCF South West Transformission.”

Mike Reeves – The Word of God


This is a week or so old, but worth the bump in light of Brannon Howse’s recent removal of Mike Abendroth and Justin Peters from the Worldview Weekend Network.

“My complaint is that the criticism of Dr. White has been grossly overblown and over-hyped. Here is a man whose whole life has been devoted to the proclamation and defense of the gospel. Perhaps no one has spent more time on the front lines of public debate against heretics and gospel-twisters than Dr. White. He proclaimed the gospel without cutting corners or softening the hard parts in this very context—in an Islamic mosque!”

Phil Johnson: Answering Some Lingering Questions about the James White/ Brannon Howse Controversy


Reassuring!

“Great News: Outback Steakhouse makes it clear that they are not being controlled by a satanic cult.”

Read it


Incredible. NEVER. STOP. LEARNING.

“All of his life, Jerry Vines has been a student par excellence,” said Southwestern President Paige Patterson. “For Vines, who already has a Th.D., now in retirement to seek a Ph.D. with our School of Preaching should inspire every preacher to keep studying and learning all of his life. I will be the most surprised man on earth if he does not write one of the finest dissertations ever.”

Jerry Vines enrolls in SWBTS Ph.D. program


It’s coming…

Jeff Durbin is cool. His beard runs long and red, making me simultaneously goose-bumpy and green with jealously. I wish was Jeff Durbin cool. Other than a few things like his love for the Gospel and his general coolness, I can’t claim to really know much about him. I think I’ve listened to one Apologia radio broadcast. It was a doozy. Steve Camp went completely bonkers in it, and Durbin handled it with respect and grace. You should totally check it out.

Don’t throw nasty cyber tomatoes @ me

I know that Jeffery is a theonomist and I am not. I see a clear distinction between Israel and the Church in Scripture, whereas Jeff believes it is the church’s task to preach the Gospel and conform the culture to OT ordinances, which will eventually usher in the Kingdom. The promises of Israel are swallowed up in the church — they’re re-interpreted.

I don’t believe the promises given to Israel in the Old Testament are re-interpreted or nullified by New Testament revelation (Romans 11). I believe the New Testament gives further revelation regarding Old Testament prophecies, but they never contradict them. I believe Jesus will rapture his Church prior to the tribulation. I believe Israel will continue in unbelief until “the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. (Ro. 11:25)” Then Daniel’s 70th Week will commence, the time of “Jacob’s Trouble” (the Great Tribulation, Jer. 30) commences, Israel will repent and look on Him whom they pierced, Jesus will return to save them, will crush their enemies and will fulfill the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants for Israel by ruling all nations from Jerusalem. God won’t back out on His promises to that nation. His Word is sure.

So what?

*catching my breath* Okay, now that I’ve shown my cards and will have gross cyber tomatoes thrown at me, I will proceed to tell you why this matters.

I  think I understand why Durbin wants this late night show to be a thing. He wants to “take late night shows back from the culture.” He wants to Christianize it, for dominion’s sake. This is another step in which God makes that Kingdom happen. I get it. He’s being consistent within his theological framework.

I have no desire to stir up controversy for clicks. I don’t want to embarrass anyone, because, God knows, deserve to be called out and embarrassed every. single. day. I’m forgetful, ungracious, short-sighted, unkind. My flesh is nasty, which is why I have to kill it every day by renewing my mind, or I screw all kinds of things up. Whenever I bring myself into things, I fall short of His glory.

As I gaze at Christ through His Word, through His Holy Spirit, I’m reminded to die to myself and walk by faith in His life. I have to abide in Him, because pleasing God is impossible without Him living through me.

I sin. I repent. I rejoice. I repeat.

That’s what Christians do, and what Jeff Durbin, the Theonomist does. That’s not what the unregenerate do. Sinners gonna’ sin. “All they do is sin, sin, sin no matter what” in the words of DJ Khaled.

What I liked about it

Jeff Durbin, like I said, is cool. He carries himself well and is fantastic at the classic “Charlie Rose” interview. His sit-down with the dude who did the abortion documentary thing was extremely insightful and informative. This made me even more aware of the need to stand up for the unborn. Abortion IS murder.

What I didn’t like

Aside from the cheesiness (yes, it was über cheesy), and the “Hey Haters” vibe from Durbin during his hipster and mean tweets segments, my main issue: the show is built around mocking our mission field.

I knew it would be. You totally have to POWN people to get clicks these days, and, unfortunately, that’s primarily what it was all about: pot-shots at millennials, pot-shots at the LGBTQ sinners, pot-shots at trolls. Yeah, they do really, really dumb things and have really really stupid opinions, but their minds are darkened, their hearts are like stone — they have no light of life in them. Not only that, like I wrote above, aside from the grace of God, Jeff would be in that same place. He has no reason to boast. No reason to finger point.

John Calvin once wrote, “The whole life of man, until he is converted to Christ, is a ruinous labyrinth of wanderings.” 

This is easy. This is like a parent making fun of their kid because he doesn’t know how to balance a checkbook. Like I wrote yesterday, I enjoy some good, hearty laughter, but not at the expense of people I’m earnestly trying to reach with the Gospel.

I really, truly believe Jeff Durbin wants to reach as many people as he can with the truth of God’s salvation in Christ. I’m not being a hater. I really respect the dude. However, the monologue was surprisingly dirty, the jokes were lame (his writer worked for Jimmy Fallon?), and its audience: only 700 people tuned-in for the live show, dropping off steadily after the first ten-minutes. It’s future: folks that are already devouring Durbin’s stuff will watch it.

However, unsaved people won’t touch it (why would they want to endure that), and if Christians want political pot-shots at liberals, they’ll just watch Tucker Carlson.

I’m done writing about Next Week with Jeff Durbin. The lesson is clear: Christian, stay in your lane. You’re not created in Christ to one-up the culture, just preach Christ crucified.

 

UPDATE, 1:40PM: A Twitter friend and graciously alerted me to the fact that I spelled ‘buffoonery’ incorrectly in the article. This is why spell-check changed it to ‘baboonery’. So that I might learn from this embarrassing mistake, I have chosen to leave it as is. As you were.

I like to think I have a decent sense of humor. I’ve been known to participate in some next-level bafoonery (my spell-check wants to change this to ‘baboonery’, which is also full of comedic-wonderment, but I will stand my ground), cut a wisecrack, and drop some hot gags on a brother from time to time. What I’m trying to say is, when push comes to shove, some people like the cut of my jib. They enjoy my youthful antics. They love my dad-jokes. People just applaud me all the time — sometimes for no reason. I’ll just walk into a room and BAM! everyone starts applauding me for a solid 4-5 minutes.
So, when I saw this press release from the people at Apologia Studios, I was intrigued, which spiraled into a state of confusion, which then turned into more intrigue:

“PASTOR LAUNCHES LATE-NIGHT SHOW: There are a dozen or so late night shows on the air right now, and they all have the exact same opinion. Apologia Studios is about to disrupt the echo chamber with their political late-night comedy, Next Week with Jeff Durbin. Jeff Durbin is the pastor of Apologia Church and Apologia Studios, which has a huge social media following, including top YouTube and podcast channels, with millions of views…

…’Next Week with Jeff Durbin’ will air every Tuesday at 10 PM Eastern on Facebook Live, Tuesday, August 1st.”

Though I’m known as the “The Midwestern Funny Boy,” I have three serious questions about the show, which airs tonight.

Will it be super lame?

Christians are generally bad at doing things the world does. The movies we make are heart-felt, but generally lame. Our TV shows aren’t great. Our Contemporary Christian Music waters down the Gospel and does a really poor job at electro-beats. What I’m saying is, when Christians venture out of the realm of preaching Christ and making disciples, it just doesn’t look good. Our jokes aren’t as sharp, our cinematography is sketchy…we make cheesy things

This comes with being a Christian doesn’t it? Especially a Pastor who spends much of his time counseling his hurting flock and preaching the God-breathed Word on Sundays. We just don’t have all the time and resources in the world to make this stuff look legitimate.

So, without seeing a single episode, I’ll probably turn the show on in anticipation that it will be sort of lame. If I want to see people mock liberal point of views, I’ll turn Gutfeld on. If I want to see people mock the President, I’ll turn…well…anything else on. Do I really want to see Pastor and Evangelist Jeff Durbin do this every week? My gut feeling, which is getting larger and more powerful with age, says no.

Will it mock a hopelessly depraved culture that needs the Gospel?

Which leads to my second point: I’m not cool with Christians mocking the world all that much. Especially pastors and evangelists. Why? Because they can’t help but live in rebellion against God while suppressing the truth about Him. The world is experiencing God’s wrath every dayevery moment. This is such an easy way to get clicks and views, but at the expense of the lost.

I want you to imagine someone hopelessly depraved, doing something hopelessly depraved people are doing. How about that girl that thinks she’s a guy, married a guy, and is having a baby? The Left is really excited about this. As an evangelist, Pastor, disciple of Christ, would you walk up to this person created in the image of God and crack some jokes about how ridiculous they’re acting? No, you would have compassion on these people, love them as your neighbor, and tell them there is a God that created them. He will judge them someday, and unless she repents of her sin and places her faith in Christ’s atoning death on the cross for her salvation alone, she will die in her sin and experience the fire of Hell for eternity. If you wouldn’t laugh at them in real life, why would you mock them on Facebook Live?

That’s what the world does TO US. That’s what “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” does TO US. And does that endear me to progressivism? No. It makes me dig my heals into conservatism even more.

I realize that’s an extreme case, and Durbin may never touch on something like that story with the pregnant girl that thinks she’s a guy. My point is, however, the world is ridiculous because all reason and logic has been torn to shreds by sin. I don’t need to read about the latest charlatan on Pulpit and Pen every day, because I’m not surprised and shocked at heresy and apostasy. Bad people do bad things. I doubt I will need to turn “Next Week with Jeff Durbin” on every week.

This is so antithetical to grace. I already know the world is screwed up, and left to myself, I would be right there with them, celebrating homosexuality and such. But I’m not, not because I am intrinsically not stupid, but because the Holy Spirit gave me new life through the Gospel.

 I want to share the only thing that will free them from their depravity, not mock them for doing the only thing they are capable of doing — suppressing the truth.

Will it mobilize more Christians to ministry among the lost or unreached?

Will it lead people to die to themselves and live for Jesus? Assuming this show will be a ministry of Apologia Church, I hope that will be the case.  The church is commanded to produce disciples who make disciples who make disciples, so simply using her resources to produce art and comedy seems sort of… wasteful.

Years ago, I remember writing about Driscoll spending Mars Hill’s money to get his books on the New York Times Best Seller List. It cost his church millions of dollars. The money he spent to further his brand could’ve reached like 10 unreached people groups — thousands of people from these groups are dying every day, only to spend an eternity in Hell.

According to Ethnos 360, There are approximately 2,300 UPG’s worldwide. Nobody is spending a dime to plant indigenous churches in these places. I’m sure Durbin’s church gives lots of money, resources, and time to missions here and abroad, but wouldn’t it be cool if, instead of paying comedy writers and designing sets to comment on political news to “disrupt the echo chamber,” they just supported more tribal missionaries? Just a thought. Those people will be on my mind with every episode they produce. “Seriously, they bought that ridiculous prop?” Every one of us stands and falls before our own Master, but that doesn’t make this easy on me.

This all kind of feels icky. I sincerely hope and pray this is more than just a brand-stiffening attempt to “disrupt the echo chamber.” The Church doesn’t need more Tucker Carlson’s, we need William Carey’s.

6 Links That REALLY Internetted is dedicated serving up the highest-quality, insanely-fresh, linkiest-links on the internet. Super smart and Oprah-approved Rob Bell dominates the news, but Bartman is getting a World Series ring and New Testament (N.T.) Wright is a heretic.


“Bartman received the ring before noon Monday in Ricketts’ office. Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and President of Operations Crane Kenney were also present. Ricketts then showed Bartman around Wrigley a bit, so he could see what was new since he’d last been to the park.”

Steve Bartman receives 2016 Chicago Cubs World Series Championship ring


“What brings real comfort to the hurting? That’s an important question in a world filled with pain and Rob Bell believes he has the answer.

In a glowing profile at CNN on the former evangelical pastor’s book promotion tour, Bell responds to an audience member who confesses to doubting God when doctors told he and his wife that their unborn baby may not survive.”

Rob Bell’s Promise of Comfort


“But Heaven forbid that my fellow Christians would come alongside me now, in my first unwelcome months as a widower, and offer casseroles and tears without also offering me the comfort of knowing that my suffering (and that of my beloved wife) has a purpose.”

Rob Bell Revisited: Nine Christians Reflect on Personal Suffering and Romans 8:28


“The hatred of many in the media for the Bible shouldn’t be a surprise to those who hold reverence for it; much of the media is leftist, and the Left’s positions are quite often completely antithetical to the Bible. But some lies the media promulgates about the Bible are so egregious and their attempts to smear the Bible are so abundantly clear that they are simply staggering.”

Media Trumpets That Bible Is Wrong. Oops.


“As the summer months are upon us the Christian blogosphere has taken upon itself the task of rallying to their respective “modesty” camps. Some advocate for liberty of conscience for women to dress as they please, chiding anyone who would seek to cover up skin with either general guidelines or quite strict rules. The other camp are purveyors of those tacky ‘Modest is hottest’ memes. We live in a perilous time of attack upon the objective meaning of language and symbol. In the area of clothing, Christians are in danger of going along with the mindset that believes in the ‘relativity of truth’ and doing so in the name of Christian liberty.”

A Sentence Made of Fabric


“If you want a quick-but-tedious way to separate some of the shallower evanjellyfish from the more theologically-serious evangelicals in your circle of friends, here’s a simple method: call N.T. Wright a heretic. It’s quick because the blowback you will surely experience can be timed in microseconds. It’s tedious because you will be subjected to a series of overweeningly shrill diatribes, accompanied by confident insinuations that anyone who says such a thing is a divisive dolt.But a more effective method is difficult to find.

N.T. Wright is a heretic. There, I’ve said it. Let the ranting begin.”

N.T. Wright’s Long Farewell