Sunday, September 5, 2010

Go/Stay = Both/And

I was talking with a friend at lunch today about calling as it relates to going/staying. She feels called to minister to those who have heard the Gospel - or at least are in a culture familiar with the Gospel - and yet have rejected it or not truly understood it. While she supports cross-cultural missions, she is called to stay "home" (whatever that actually this case, not going to a different people group).

While I support the vision God has given her and many other people I love and respect, I don't have that vision. My heart resonates with the probing question posed by Oswald Smith: Why should anyone hear the Gospel twice until everyone has heard it once? Of course, this isn't practical, nor should it be. Repeatedly being reminded of the beauty and power of the Gospel is critical to my sanctification. But my longing echoes that of Paul:

And thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation, but as it is written, "Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand." - Romans 15:20-21

In class this week, I heard this described as the difference between Petrine and Pauline mission. You could say Pauline mission is going where Christ isn't; Petrine mission is going/strengthening where Christ already is.

Paul is very much about frontier missions, going to the unreached and the unengaged, those who have no contact with the Gospel in their language and culture. Peter, though not excused from cross-cultural ministry, focuses on his own people group - the Jews. Though focused on "staying home," Peter still has important cross-cultural work. He is the first to take the Gospel to Gentiles - Cornelius and his household, and he certainly is interacting with different cultures as he ministers to the church in Rome.

Both are needed. The Church must preach the Gospel and make disciples in Jerusalem AND Judea and Samaria AND the ends of the earth. We're not given an option of Israel OR the world, or Israel and THEN the world. It's definitely a BOTH/AND calling. We need Peter and Paul. Peter and Paul need each other, and they need to support each other.

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