Author: Dr. C. Wright
Following his paper, Dr Wright opened the floor to questions from the audience…
1. If Jeremiah is in some sense modelling what it means to be missionaries, as a group or individuals, is this encouraging or discouraging with the experiences that Jeremiah has and how does this fit into the wider context of biblical prophecy?
I hope that it would not be discouraging, but it would certainly be sobering. I think there is certainly a necessity for a prophetic critique of the church of the people of God. When we are thinking about mission, it is easy sometimes – especially in a place like this and elsewhere – to get fairly gung-ho about all the wonderful realities of church growth around the world, of great stories of successful mission and so on, for which we praise God. But we also need to recognise that there are some very terrible deformities in those who claim to be the people of God, especially within the evangelical communities around the world. Things that make us wonder if the judgement of God is as much against the church as against the world; things like: lack of integrity, like a prosperity gospel, all sorts of ways in which one finds deformities in the Christian church.
So there is a need for a sobering, prophetic critique of the church, but I wouldn’t want to be discouraging. I would want to be encouraging because the overall message of Jeremiah is that if the church is willing to go through that purifying period of God’s discipline and judgement, there is grace, there is restoration and there is ultimately the hope that God will complete his mission. God will do what he says he will do, which is to gather in the people from all the nations. We can be grateful that the completion of God’s mission lies ultimately in God’s hands and is not dependent upon our obedience in the sense that it is his grace which is ultimately sovereign.
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