Not getting vocation

Why is this wrong?

As far as God is concerned, someone is unemployed if the person is not working for Him, said a Latin American mission leader at a global missions conference in Tokyo.

Many people argue that they have a job and have plenty of work, said Obed Alvarez, international director of the New World Mission Association in Peru. However, the landowner (God) is calling those standing idle to work for him, he pointed out as he read from Matthew 20 about the parable of the workers in the vineyard.

“We should understand that all are unemployed if we are not living out God’s plan for us,” said Alvarez at the Tokyo 2010 Global Missions Consultations this week. “It doesn’t matter if you are a doctor, a senator or the president, you will always be idle as far as He is concerned if you don’t have a part in missions.”

The missiologist and church planter continued, “The president of the republic is just as idle as far as the Lord is concerned, if he is not doing anything to advance the missionary cause. What is his investiture worth if he is still a sinner and his destiny is hell?”

Alvarez – who founded the Latin American School of Missiology, the first school of missions in Latin America – said people can have other jobs but they should have the identity that first and foremost they are a missionary.

via Mission Leader: You’re Unemployed if Not Working for God | Christianpost.com.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Winston Smith

    Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

    Col. 3: 23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

    This zealous gentleman maybe overstates things a bit. As the verses above indicate, (secular, non-religious) work can be done for the glory of God, as a kind of sacrifice to God, “… that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.” Titus 2:10

    Although the New Testament focuses on the acts of the Apostles, most of the first century Christians were not primarily religious workers, at least as far as I can tell. Nevertheless, there must have been something about their lives, including the way they went about their work, that marked out their lives as different.

  • Winston Smith

    Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

    Col. 3: 23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

    This zealous gentleman maybe overstates things a bit. As the verses above indicate, (secular, non-religious) work can be done for the glory of God, as a kind of sacrifice to God, “… that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.” Titus 2:10

    Although the New Testament focuses on the acts of the Apostles, most of the first century Christians were not primarily religious workers, at least as far as I can tell. Nevertheless, there must have been something about their lives, including the way they went about their work, that marked out their lives as different.

  • Dan Kempin

    Is this a discussion of vocation, or is vocation used here as a means to discuss the great commission?

  • Dan Kempin

    Is this a discussion of vocation, or is vocation used here as a means to discuss the great commission?

  • Joe

    This guy has completely destroyed the doctrine of vocation. My vocation is as a lawyer, a father, a husband, a son, a brother and an elder. These vocations are given me to so that God can work through me for the benefit of my neighbor. I don’t work for God – God uses my work for his own ends.

  • Joe

    This guy has completely destroyed the doctrine of vocation. My vocation is as a lawyer, a father, a husband, a son, a brother and an elder. These vocations are given me to so that God can work through me for the benefit of my neighbor. I don’t work for God – God uses my work for his own ends.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Sometimes I wonder if evangelicals really think they are doing the world a favor exporting this kind of b.s. to other countries. What’s wrong with it? easier to answer what is right with it. Nothing.

    oh and Joe, all this stuff about vocation etc, and God using our work. Does that apply to lawyers too?
    Sorry, man. But I had to. No one likes a lawyer until they need a good one, then you understand just how much God does do in that profession.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Sometimes I wonder if evangelicals really think they are doing the world a favor exporting this kind of b.s. to other countries. What’s wrong with it? easier to answer what is right with it. Nothing.

    oh and Joe, all this stuff about vocation etc, and God using our work. Does that apply to lawyers too?
    Sorry, man. But I had to. No one likes a lawyer until they need a good one, then you understand just how much God does do in that profession.

  • http://originalsoapbox.wordpress.com/ Peter Schellhase

    It seems this evangelist’s main problem is that he sees “missions” exclusively in terms of commissioning or being sent out as foreign missionaries to the heathen. Vocation integrates the Great Commission into every kind of work. It is all part of God’s mission on earth.

    The other problem with this guy is that he is deliriously arranging evangelistic history into a dispensational pattern, embellishing the parable of the vineyard into a historical chart of missions movements with the present day conveniently located at the near-end of history.

  • http://originalsoapbox.wordpress.com/ Peter Schellhase

    It seems this evangelist’s main problem is that he sees “missions” exclusively in terms of commissioning or being sent out as foreign missionaries to the heathen. Vocation integrates the Great Commission into every kind of work. It is all part of God’s mission on earth.

    The other problem with this guy is that he is deliriously arranging evangelistic history into a dispensational pattern, embellishing the parable of the vineyard into a historical chart of missions movements with the present day conveniently located at the near-end of history.

  • Orianna Laun

    Could it be that the Christian’s vocation is to do mission work to those who are fulfilling their vocations who are not Christian? The woman working at McDonalds’ drive-thru on Ash Wednesday was fulfilling her vocation in taking my order and serving me. She asked about the smudge on my head and what it meant. My opportunity! Same for the hair stylist who asks what my plans for Sunday are, or the OB who says I’m pregnant and asks if I plan to keep it. Who is the idle one? The one who faithfully does one’s job without knowing Christ, or the one whom everyone knows knows Christ, but is not faithful in their own vocation?

  • Orianna Laun

    Could it be that the Christian’s vocation is to do mission work to those who are fulfilling their vocations who are not Christian? The woman working at McDonalds’ drive-thru on Ash Wednesday was fulfilling her vocation in taking my order and serving me. She asked about the smudge on my head and what it meant. My opportunity! Same for the hair stylist who asks what my plans for Sunday are, or the OB who says I’m pregnant and asks if I plan to keep it. Who is the idle one? The one who faithfully does one’s job without knowing Christ, or the one whom everyone knows knows Christ, but is not faithful in their own vocation?

  • Tom Hering

    The man is a fanatic. He states that missions are the only work God has for us – that missions are the only plan God has for our lives. He even seems to suggest that God’s definition of sinfulness is “the failure to advance missions,” and the consequence is eternity in Hell.

    The evangelical churches I attended in the past never went this far. But they did tell you missions were the highest calling, and the highest purpose of the jobs the rest of us had was to support missions with our paychecks.

    Thank God our Lutheran Confessions show us just how these views are lies.

  • Tom Hering

    The man is a fanatic. He states that missions are the only work God has for us – that missions are the only plan God has for our lives. He even seems to suggest that God’s definition of sinfulness is “the failure to advance missions,” and the consequence is eternity in Hell.

    The evangelical churches I attended in the past never went this far. But they did tell you missions were the highest calling, and the highest purpose of the jobs the rest of us had was to support missions with our paychecks.

    Thank God our Lutheran Confessions show us just how these views are lies.

  • Tom Hering

    “It seems this evangelist’s main problem is that he sees ‘missions’ exclusively in terms of commissioning or being sent out as foreign missionaries to the heathen.” – Peter Schellhase @ 5.

    Another misconception he has is seeing unemployment as idleness. The unemployed, like everyone else, have multiple vocations in life. Plenty to keep them busy, apart from looking for work.

  • Tom Hering

    “It seems this evangelist’s main problem is that he sees ‘missions’ exclusively in terms of commissioning or being sent out as foreign missionaries to the heathen.” – Peter Schellhase @ 5.

    Another misconception he has is seeing unemployment as idleness. The unemployed, like everyone else, have multiple vocations in life. Plenty to keep them busy, apart from looking for work.

  • Joe

    Bror – even Veith mentions lawyers in “God at Work”

  • Joe

    Bror – even Veith mentions lawyers in “God at Work”

  • scots

    wow … speechless … legalism and guilt-tripping, yeah, that’s the Gospel, that’ll preach … not

    Along with Colossians 3 we have 1 Cor 7:20 “Everyone should remain in the state in which he is called”

    not to mention the implications of Ephesians 6:5-9

  • scots

    wow … speechless … legalism and guilt-tripping, yeah, that’s the Gospel, that’ll preach … not

    Along with Colossians 3 we have 1 Cor 7:20 “Everyone should remain in the state in which he is called”

    not to mention the implications of Ephesians 6:5-9

  • Dan Kempin

    Wow. There is some really harsh response here.

    I grant that some of you may have looked up the full message and theology of Mr. Alvarez, (which I have not done and consequently do not defend), but the statements in the quote above don’t seem to merit some of the evaluation given.

    He doesn’t say, for instance, that everyone has to be a commissioned missionary in a foreign field. He says Christians are idle if they don’t have “a part” in missions–if they don’t do “anything” to advance missions.

    I don’t see a problem with that statement.

    There is a problem, perhaps, is how the term “missionary” is defined. That would lead us to a discussion of vocation and the depth and clarity of our lutheran understanding.

    I think, however, that the premise must stand. Every Christian is commanded to be a “missionary,” just as we are commanded to be a loving “neighbor.” That is a part of our vocation, whatever the rest of that vocation might be. Love your neighbor. Make disciples. It’s hard to argue with words fromthe mouth of Jesus.

    Question: Is the Great Commission law or gospel?

    Is it legalism to ever preach the law?

  • Dan Kempin

    Wow. There is some really harsh response here.

    I grant that some of you may have looked up the full message and theology of Mr. Alvarez, (which I have not done and consequently do not defend), but the statements in the quote above don’t seem to merit some of the evaluation given.

    He doesn’t say, for instance, that everyone has to be a commissioned missionary in a foreign field. He says Christians are idle if they don’t have “a part” in missions–if they don’t do “anything” to advance missions.

    I don’t see a problem with that statement.

    There is a problem, perhaps, is how the term “missionary” is defined. That would lead us to a discussion of vocation and the depth and clarity of our lutheran understanding.

    I think, however, that the premise must stand. Every Christian is commanded to be a “missionary,” just as we are commanded to be a loving “neighbor.” That is a part of our vocation, whatever the rest of that vocation might be. Love your neighbor. Make disciples. It’s hard to argue with words fromthe mouth of Jesus.

    Question: Is the Great Commission law or gospel?

    Is it legalism to ever preach the law?

  • Tom Hering

    “Every Christian is commanded to be a ‘missionary’” – Dan Kempin @ 11.

    1st Corinthians, 12:27-29, “Now you ARE Christ’s body, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. ALL are not apostles, are they? ALL are not prophets, are they? ALL are not teachers, are they? ALL are not workers of miracles, are they?”

    Ephesians 4:11-12, “And He gave SOME as apostles, and SOME as prophets, and SOME as evangelists, and SOME as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.”

    If you are doing your appointed part, even if that is loving your neighbor – and that alone – you are doing your part in the great, overall mission of the Church. Even if you have absolutely nothing to do with “missions” specifically.

  • Tom Hering

    “Every Christian is commanded to be a ‘missionary’” – Dan Kempin @ 11.

    1st Corinthians, 12:27-29, “Now you ARE Christ’s body, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. ALL are not apostles, are they? ALL are not prophets, are they? ALL are not teachers, are they? ALL are not workers of miracles, are they?”

    Ephesians 4:11-12, “And He gave SOME as apostles, and SOME as prophets, and SOME as evangelists, and SOME as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.”

    If you are doing your appointed part, even if that is loving your neighbor – and that alone – you are doing your part in the great, overall mission of the Church. Even if you have absolutely nothing to do with “missions” specifically.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    If this were true, how come there isn’t a single reference in Paul’s letters to personal evangelism? He neither commands it, nor encourages it, nor praises it. Just a thought.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    If this were true, how come there isn’t a single reference in Paul’s letters to personal evangelism? He neither commands it, nor encourages it, nor praises it. Just a thought.

  • Dan Kempin

    Tom, #12,

    Matthew 28: “Go . . . and make disciples.”

    The fuller explanation you offer does not negate the command.

  • Dan Kempin

    Tom, #12,

    Matthew 28: “Go . . . and make disciples.”

    The fuller explanation you offer does not negate the command.

  • http://takethestand.typepad.com Andrew, Esq.

    Why is it wrong? Because the author begins a sentence with ‘However’:
    “However, the landowner (God) is calling….”
    This leads to unemphatic sentences (and this one in particular needs help). ‘But’ or ‘Yet’ are preferable.

    Okay, so that’s not what you meant. But I think the preceding comments have pretty well covered what I would have said about vocation.

  • http://takethestand.typepad.com Andrew, Esq.

    Why is it wrong? Because the author begins a sentence with ‘However’:
    “However, the landowner (God) is calling….”
    This leads to unemphatic sentences (and this one in particular needs help). ‘But’ or ‘Yet’ are preferable.

    Okay, so that’s not what you meant. But I think the preceding comments have pretty well covered what I would have said about vocation.

  • Tom Hering

    Dan Kempin @ 14, the command, with reassurances, was not given to a generalized assembly of believers. It was given to the eleven, because some of them doubted. They were indeed to fulfill their appointed office. (Evangelicals believe everyone in the body is the same, without distinction except for a hierarchy of good works – with evangelism at the top.)

    Does the command extend to all members of the Body? Do all members hold the office the eleven held? Is everyone an eye, or an ear, or a limb?

  • Tom Hering

    Dan Kempin @ 14, the command, with reassurances, was not given to a generalized assembly of believers. It was given to the eleven, because some of them doubted. They were indeed to fulfill their appointed office. (Evangelicals believe everyone in the body is the same, without distinction except for a hierarchy of good works – with evangelism at the top.)

    Does the command extend to all members of the Body? Do all members hold the office the eleven held? Is everyone an eye, or an ear, or a limb?

  • MRS

    Funny how so many Reformed types take this same position, completely ignoring or rejecting Lutheran teaching vocation.

  • MRS

    Funny how so many Reformed types take this same position, completely ignoring or rejecting Lutheran teaching vocation.

  • JonSLC

    The reason many are raising red flags about the Alvarez comments maybe is shown in a true story I heard:

    A group of seminary students was helping a congregation do some neighborhood canvassing — door-to-door outreach and evangelism. Some members of the church were participating. One afternoon the canvassing crew was debriefing, sharing their experiences of the day. They eyes of one of the lay members who had been helping started to well up. When asked what was wrong, the woman said, “All my life, I’ve never served God until today.” Her impression was that evangelism was serving God, while other vocations were somehow less than that.

    I think that’s the danger we’re seeing in the quote by Alvarez. Personal witnessing is certainly a God-given vocation of the Christian, but not one that should be elevated above other vocations, or referred to as “working in God’s kingdom” as if other vocations fell short of being called Godly work.

  • JonSLC

    The reason many are raising red flags about the Alvarez comments maybe is shown in a true story I heard:

    A group of seminary students was helping a congregation do some neighborhood canvassing — door-to-door outreach and evangelism. Some members of the church were participating. One afternoon the canvassing crew was debriefing, sharing their experiences of the day. They eyes of one of the lay members who had been helping started to well up. When asked what was wrong, the woman said, “All my life, I’ve never served God until today.” Her impression was that evangelism was serving God, while other vocations were somehow less than that.

    I think that’s the danger we’re seeing in the quote by Alvarez. Personal witnessing is certainly a God-given vocation of the Christian, but not one that should be elevated above other vocations, or referred to as “working in God’s kingdom” as if other vocations fell short of being called Godly work.

  • JonSLC

    Another concern with the Alvarez quote: his use of the parable. While I guess his application is permissible, it’s a pet peeve of mine when this parable is used to focus on our work for the Lord, or lack thereof. The main point in this parable is God’s generosity, his grace. He gives us riches because he wants to and because he can, not based on how much we’ve done to earn them. Let this parable show God’s scandalous grace!

  • JonSLC

    Another concern with the Alvarez quote: his use of the parable. While I guess his application is permissible, it’s a pet peeve of mine when this parable is used to focus on our work for the Lord, or lack thereof. The main point in this parable is God’s generosity, his grace. He gives us riches because he wants to and because he can, not based on how much we’ve done to earn them. Let this parable show God’s scandalous grace!

  • Winston Smith

    I have long struggled with the place of personal evangelism in the life of one who is not specifically called as a missionary or full-time evangelist.

    Dan @14 is right when he cites the Great Commission (given to the church in general, I guess), yet John @13 also correctly notes that there is precious little practical instruction on that topic in the many words of the Epistles to rank and file believers.

    One very important consideration is that, whatever your station in life, your Christian walk had better back up whatever it is you preach. That is easier said than done — as someone said yesterday on another thread (about the adulterous Congressman), standing up for Jesus Christ puts a big target on your back. Preaching to people is all well and good, but your life needs to reflect what you say. How you work, and what work you do, goes a long way in adorning what you say to your neighbors.

  • Winston Smith

    I have long struggled with the place of personal evangelism in the life of one who is not specifically called as a missionary or full-time evangelist.

    Dan @14 is right when he cites the Great Commission (given to the church in general, I guess), yet John @13 also correctly notes that there is precious little practical instruction on that topic in the many words of the Epistles to rank and file believers.

    One very important consideration is that, whatever your station in life, your Christian walk had better back up whatever it is you preach. That is easier said than done — as someone said yesterday on another thread (about the adulterous Congressman), standing up for Jesus Christ puts a big target on your back. Preaching to people is all well and good, but your life needs to reflect what you say. How you work, and what work you do, goes a long way in adorning what you say to your neighbors.

  • Tom Hering

    Winston Smith @ 20, I think it’s precisely because evangelism is made out to be THE true work of every Christian, that we get a Souder. So long as I’m “evangelizing,” giving moralistic speeches and making moralistic videos, I will hear “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” and get a pass on all that sin stuff. (If I keep it under wraps and don’t embarrass my church or family. THAT would anger God.)

  • Tom Hering

    Winston Smith @ 20, I think it’s precisely because evangelism is made out to be THE true work of every Christian, that we get a Souder. So long as I’m “evangelizing,” giving moralistic speeches and making moralistic videos, I will hear “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” and get a pass on all that sin stuff. (If I keep it under wraps and don’t embarrass my church or family. THAT would anger God.)

  • Dan Kempin

    Tom, #16,

    “Does the command extend to all members of the body?”

    I would love to hear you answer your own question.

    If the answer is “no,” then what? It only applied to the apostles, who have since fallen asleep, so it is essentially irrelevant? It only applies to ordained clergy, so lay members OUGHT not make disciples? (A dangerous leap, in my opinion.)

    For that matter, how would we then take ANY words of Jesus as directed to us? To whom was Jesus speaking when He said, “Love your neighbor?” The hermeneutic of context can be taken too far.

    Of COURSE the great commission applies to the whole church, but . . .

    What does this mean?

    (There, I think, is where talk of the body and vocation begin.)

    While you are at it, would you care to answer my previous question? Is the great commission law or gospel?

  • Dan Kempin

    Tom, #16,

    “Does the command extend to all members of the body?”

    I would love to hear you answer your own question.

    If the answer is “no,” then what? It only applied to the apostles, who have since fallen asleep, so it is essentially irrelevant? It only applies to ordained clergy, so lay members OUGHT not make disciples? (A dangerous leap, in my opinion.)

    For that matter, how would we then take ANY words of Jesus as directed to us? To whom was Jesus speaking when He said, “Love your neighbor?” The hermeneutic of context can be taken too far.

    Of COURSE the great commission applies to the whole church, but . . .

    What does this mean?

    (There, I think, is where talk of the body and vocation begin.)

    While you are at it, would you care to answer my previous question? Is the great commission law or gospel?

  • Dan Kempin

    Tom #21,

    You have twice mentioned evangelism as a “good work” that is destructively elevated. If that is the danger you are arguing against, then fair enough. I do not deny that it is a real and destructive error. Perhaps you know more about the theology of the speaker than I do.

    For my own part, I am just taking it at face value. I do not see any problem with saying that every Christian ought to be involved with the mission of the Church, which is to make disciples of all nations. The nature of that involvement can and should be explained in light of Christian vocation, but I see no reason to shy away from making the statement.

  • Dan Kempin

    Tom #21,

    You have twice mentioned evangelism as a “good work” that is destructively elevated. If that is the danger you are arguing against, then fair enough. I do not deny that it is a real and destructive error. Perhaps you know more about the theology of the speaker than I do.

    For my own part, I am just taking it at face value. I do not see any problem with saying that every Christian ought to be involved with the mission of the Church, which is to make disciples of all nations. The nature of that involvement can and should be explained in light of Christian vocation, but I see no reason to shy away from making the statement.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    And how, Dan, are disciples made? Read “The Great Commission” once again, or as I prefer to call it, “Christ’s institution of the sacrament of Holy Baptism”.

    No, I don’t think everyone in Christ’s body is Called by God to make disciples. And yet they are part of one and the same body who God uses to make disciples, because they are one with the Head, who is Christ. Personal evangelism happens by the Spirit in people Baptized and fed by Word and Sacrament. It is not a call of duty. It just happens. I’m overjoyed when lay people have a desire to share their faith out of the fullness of the forgiveness they have received. I’m a little non-plussed when the only reason they are fervent to do missions is because someone has beaten them over their heads with the new Laws of Personal Evangelization and they mistakenly think that only “missional” Christians are truly spiritual. Yuck!

  • Bryan Lindemood

    And how, Dan, are disciples made? Read “The Great Commission” once again, or as I prefer to call it, “Christ’s institution of the sacrament of Holy Baptism”.

    No, I don’t think everyone in Christ’s body is Called by God to make disciples. And yet they are part of one and the same body who God uses to make disciples, because they are one with the Head, who is Christ. Personal evangelism happens by the Spirit in people Baptized and fed by Word and Sacrament. It is not a call of duty. It just happens. I’m overjoyed when lay people have a desire to share their faith out of the fullness of the forgiveness they have received. I’m a little non-plussed when the only reason they are fervent to do missions is because someone has beaten them over their heads with the new Laws of Personal Evangelization and they mistakenly think that only “missional” Christians are truly spiritual. Yuck!

  • Dan Kempin

    Bryan, #24,

    I took your advice and read again the words of Jesus. I saw the institution of the means of Holy Baptism. I also saw the command to teach all nations to “observe” everything that He “commanded.” Hmmm.

    You say: “I don’t think everyone . . . is called by God to make disciples . . . they are part of . . . the body . . . God uses to make disciples.”

    What kind of a hair are you splitting here? They are not called to make disciples, but God uses them to make disciples? I’m not following you. If you mean to remind us that disciple-making is a work of God and not to the credit of man, then fine. I’ll give that a hearty “Amen.” If you don’t want to reduce the great commission to a formulaic righteousness of “head hunting” and technique, then I’m right with you.

    If you mean to say that the great commission is not also a command from the Lord, then you must confront the words of Jesus. Personal evangelism does indeed happen by the Spirit in those who are claimed and nourished in Word and Sacrament out of the fullness of the forgiveness they have received. It is nevertheless still a call of duty. How dare we remove or contradict a command that is directly from The Lord Himself?

  • Dan Kempin

    Bryan, #24,

    I took your advice and read again the words of Jesus. I saw the institution of the means of Holy Baptism. I also saw the command to teach all nations to “observe” everything that He “commanded.” Hmmm.

    You say: “I don’t think everyone . . . is called by God to make disciples . . . they are part of . . . the body . . . God uses to make disciples.”

    What kind of a hair are you splitting here? They are not called to make disciples, but God uses them to make disciples? I’m not following you. If you mean to remind us that disciple-making is a work of God and not to the credit of man, then fine. I’ll give that a hearty “Amen.” If you don’t want to reduce the great commission to a formulaic righteousness of “head hunting” and technique, then I’m right with you.

    If you mean to say that the great commission is not also a command from the Lord, then you must confront the words of Jesus. Personal evangelism does indeed happen by the Spirit in those who are claimed and nourished in Word and Sacrament out of the fullness of the forgiveness they have received. It is nevertheless still a call of duty. How dare we remove or contradict a command that is directly from The Lord Himself?

  • Dan Kempin

    Btw, Orianna, #6,

    I meant to mention earlier that yours was a good and insightful post.

  • Dan Kempin

    Btw, Orianna, #6,

    I meant to mention earlier that yours was a good and insightful post.

  • Ian Macruadh

    Essentially the problem is that he has obviously completely missed the doctrine of vocation.

    However I would disagree with Bror above, that he hasn’t gotten anything right. He is responding to a real problem with a completely whacked solution.

    He has the diagnosis right–so many Christians are working in a way that does not make Jesus look great, but that elevates their own comfort or their hobbies or their family or their cars above their own valuing of Christ. That’s wrong. As mentioned above we are supposed to do ‘all things to the glory of God’.

    However, what’s needed is not for everyone to quit their job and go on the mission field. (Heck, some places you can’t go unless you have a job). What’s needed is for every Christian to ‘be the gospel’ right where they are whatever they are doing. Of course Christians should care about the global cause of Christ. Of course Christians should care about the great commission, but God calls each Christian to different specific tasks in different seasons of one’s life. It’s not necessarily the task, but it’s how you are living your life for the glory of God.

  • Ian Macruadh

    Essentially the problem is that he has obviously completely missed the doctrine of vocation.

    However I would disagree with Bror above, that he hasn’t gotten anything right. He is responding to a real problem with a completely whacked solution.

    He has the diagnosis right–so many Christians are working in a way that does not make Jesus look great, but that elevates their own comfort or their hobbies or their family or their cars above their own valuing of Christ. That’s wrong. As mentioned above we are supposed to do ‘all things to the glory of God’.

    However, what’s needed is not for everyone to quit their job and go on the mission field. (Heck, some places you can’t go unless you have a job). What’s needed is for every Christian to ‘be the gospel’ right where they are whatever they are doing. Of course Christians should care about the global cause of Christ. Of course Christians should care about the great commission, but God calls each Christian to different specific tasks in different seasons of one’s life. It’s not necessarily the task, but it’s how you are living your life for the glory of God.

  • Tom Hering

    “… would you care to answer my previous question? Is the great commission law or gospel?” – Dan Kempin @ 22.

    Well, according to Luther and Walther, the Law tells us what we are to do.

    “Does the command extend to all members of the body?” – Dan Kempin @ 22.

    To baptize (properly administer the Sacrament) and make disciples (properly preach and teach the Word of God)? No.

  • Tom Hering

    “… would you care to answer my previous question? Is the great commission law or gospel?” – Dan Kempin @ 22.

    Well, according to Luther and Walther, the Law tells us what we are to do.

    “Does the command extend to all members of the body?” – Dan Kempin @ 22.

    To baptize (properly administer the Sacrament) and make disciples (properly preach and teach the Word of God)? No.

  • Dan Kempin

    Tom, #28,

    “No.”

    You would conclude, then, that anyone who has baptized in an emergency or instructed in the faith without being properly called has sinned?

    It is certainly true that the church is bound to the institution of the holy ministry in the exercise of the keys, but the keys are given first and directly (principaliter and immediate) (TPPP,24) to the church. To interpret the command of Matthew 28 as directly to the preaching office, that is, circumventing the whole church, is to contradict this understanding of the office of the keys. Can you offer some confessional/doctrinal support for your position?

  • Dan Kempin

    Tom, #28,

    “No.”

    You would conclude, then, that anyone who has baptized in an emergency or instructed in the faith without being properly called has sinned?

    It is certainly true that the church is bound to the institution of the holy ministry in the exercise of the keys, but the keys are given first and directly (principaliter and immediate) (TPPP,24) to the church. To interpret the command of Matthew 28 as directly to the preaching office, that is, circumventing the whole church, is to contradict this understanding of the office of the keys. Can you offer some confessional/doctrinal support for your position?

  • Tom Hering

    Dan @ 29,

    “You would conclude, then, that anyone who has baptized in an emergency or instructed in the faith without being properly called has sinned?”

    No. An emergency is an emergency. The Sacrament is never invalid because of the person administering it. But when we speak of “proper” administration we mean more than “validity” alone.

    “Christ gave the Office of the Keys to the Church on earth; the Church delegates and transfers the public exercise of the Office of the Keys to called servants of the Word” (Lutheran Cyclopedia). “… the Holy Spirit has made you overseers …” (Acts 20:28). “… stewards of the mysteries of God …” (1st Corinthians 4:1).

    As for instruction in Christianity, who does this who hasn’t been appointed a teacher (called) by a body? (Even a body of just two people?) Qualifications are another matter. (I wouldn’t want anyone instructing me in the Lutheran faith who hadn’t been soundly instructed himself.) And Orthodoxy is another matter still. Sin is very possible here.

  • Tom Hering

    Dan @ 29,

    “You would conclude, then, that anyone who has baptized in an emergency or instructed in the faith without being properly called has sinned?”

    No. An emergency is an emergency. The Sacrament is never invalid because of the person administering it. But when we speak of “proper” administration we mean more than “validity” alone.

    “Christ gave the Office of the Keys to the Church on earth; the Church delegates and transfers the public exercise of the Office of the Keys to called servants of the Word” (Lutheran Cyclopedia). “… the Holy Spirit has made you overseers …” (Acts 20:28). “… stewards of the mysteries of God …” (1st Corinthians 4:1).

    As for instruction in Christianity, who does this who hasn’t been appointed a teacher (called) by a body? (Even a body of just two people?) Qualifications are another matter. (I wouldn’t want anyone instructing me in the Lutheran faith who hadn’t been soundly instructed himself.) And Orthodoxy is another matter still. Sin is very possible here.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Dan, I think the hair I’m trying to split (not very well, I admit) is one of vocation. I don’t think people are served well when “Missionary” is lifted up as everybody’s calling in the church to the detriment of other very important vocations. Some do have the vocation of Missionary, and that calling should be taken more seriously than it is now, I would posit. Now, sure – God can and does do His own missionary work through our other vocations very well as others have done a good job pointing out in this post. But I personally don’t think mission agencies do a very good job of encouraging career missionaries, who are very skilled in this line a work, when they are so busy promoting all these little vacation mission trips for rich western laity all over the world. Children need mothers and fathers (and grandparents!). The streets need good law enforcement. And the restaurants need good cooks and dishwashers. Etc… In my experience, “everyone a missionary” thinking tends to hurt or limit long-term mission and church planting and open the door to “every wind of doctrine” in places where a strong (I mean principled and faithful) long term mission presence is needed instead. I think those are some of the split hairs I would encourage people and especially church leaders to consider.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Dan, I think the hair I’m trying to split (not very well, I admit) is one of vocation. I don’t think people are served well when “Missionary” is lifted up as everybody’s calling in the church to the detriment of other very important vocations. Some do have the vocation of Missionary, and that calling should be taken more seriously than it is now, I would posit. Now, sure – God can and does do His own missionary work through our other vocations very well as others have done a good job pointing out in this post. But I personally don’t think mission agencies do a very good job of encouraging career missionaries, who are very skilled in this line a work, when they are so busy promoting all these little vacation mission trips for rich western laity all over the world. Children need mothers and fathers (and grandparents!). The streets need good law enforcement. And the restaurants need good cooks and dishwashers. Etc… In my experience, “everyone a missionary” thinking tends to hurt or limit long-term mission and church planting and open the door to “every wind of doctrine” in places where a strong (I mean principled and faithful) long term mission presence is needed instead. I think those are some of the split hairs I would encourage people and especially church leaders to consider.

  • Tom Hering

    Bryan Lindemood, may I help split that hair? Some are called to be missionaries. But not all missionaries evangelize, because the host country doesn’t allow them to. So they teach English or provide medical services, and by their service to neighbor, witness to the love of Christ for the whole world. Just as non-evangelist/missionaries back home witness by their service to neighbor – by their ordinary “secular” jobs. Nothing more need be done by them, unless their neighbor asks them questions. “… but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, with all gentleness and reverence” (1st Peter 3:15). See? In evangelism, it’s enough to stay home, and do your job well, and wait until someone asks. Isn’t God’s way of getting things done just amazing?

  • Tom Hering

    Bryan Lindemood, may I help split that hair? Some are called to be missionaries. But not all missionaries evangelize, because the host country doesn’t allow them to. So they teach English or provide medical services, and by their service to neighbor, witness to the love of Christ for the whole world. Just as non-evangelist/missionaries back home witness by their service to neighbor – by their ordinary “secular” jobs. Nothing more need be done by them, unless their neighbor asks them questions. “… but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, with all gentleness and reverence” (1st Peter 3:15). See? In evangelism, it’s enough to stay home, and do your job well, and wait until someone asks. Isn’t God’s way of getting things done just amazing?

  • Bryan Lindemood

    The job of a missionary is to evangelize. The job of a teacher is to teach. Why do we keep calling missionaries to be school teachers? Missionary agency seem to have a pretty low view of the educational task as well as the importance of preaching the Gospel and administering the sacrament in missions. They end up doing both poorly. I don’t get that. Its a mixing of vocations. If you want a missionary / teacher, then call it that and require professional training in both education and theology.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    The job of a missionary is to evangelize. The job of a teacher is to teach. Why do we keep calling missionaries to be school teachers? Missionary agency seem to have a pretty low view of the educational task as well as the importance of preaching the Gospel and administering the sacrament in missions. They end up doing both poorly. I don’t get that. Its a mixing of vocations. If you want a missionary / teacher, then call it that and require professional training in both education and theology.


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