Evangelical Times is to be commended for its ‘ET Perspectives’ series of booklets, which helpfully reproduces selected writings originally published in this paper. This latest title brings together in seven short chapters a series of articles on mission by Daniel Grimwade, combined with a chapter each from Daniel Webber and Jonathan Bayes.
First, Daniel Webber addresses the challenge of reaching Europeans with the gospel in the face of contemporary philosophies and distorted representations of Christianity. The church must respond biblically to these by establishing the truth in people’s minds, ensuring spiritual vitality among the churches, and recapturing a biblical view of her role in the world. ‘Her primary task is the proclamation of the gospel.’
In succeeding chapters, Daniel Grimwade lays the foundation that God is the author of biblical mission and that conscious faith in Jesus Christ is essential for salvation. He discusses God’s strategy for us to take the gospel to every people-group of the world.
The agency by which this is to be achieved is the local church — sending, financing, training, encouraging and praying. The type of people required for missionary service must be ‘sacrificial, Christ-centred people who are willing to suffer for Jesus’ sake’, a qualification which is all too often overlooked today. He concludes with practical suggestions for churches and discusses the importance of the deputation meeting.
Jonathan Bayes then provides readers with an illuminating case-study of John Calvin’s mission to France, describing Calvin as effectively the ‘director of an international, underground evangelistic mission’! Not only did the church in Geneva send numerous missionaries to France, but the printing of literature also played an important role.
I highly recommend this booklet, with one word of advice: don’t put it on a book shelf where it will soon be forgotten. Rather, with your minister’s or elders’ agreement, purchase a quantity for your church to study at midweek meetings or discuss in home groups, as the publishers suggest.
After all, its stated aim is to help churches and ministers become mission-focused, and this can only be achieved by taking the booklet’s message seriously!