Death of Biblical Missions
By David Cox (missionary pastor)
In this article I describe what I (as a missionary) see as the death of biblical missions in America. I am very critical of stuff here, so be prepared. I am going to explain things as I see them. Note: I have been a missionary since 1984, and I have both been under a mission board, and am presently an independent missionary under a local church. I have been on both sides of the board issue, and I will speak to this also. I do consider myself doing “Biblical Missions.”
First let me address the reason why this topic is important in the first place. Missions is very simply the reproduction of the entire Christianity in new places where the gospel is not named, or having been named in the place, is currently dead. America has gone from being a missionary sending country to being a missionary needing country in my lifetime. How sad.
The next element of a dying or dead church is that there is conflict over personal preferences. One of the key elements of a very alive church is that the church can discern, understand, defend, and fight and apply Bible principles in their world around them. This is the opposite of that. A dead and dying church is one which cannot do this.
Life defends itself, but in death, one has no control, and priorities seem to fade into non-issues.
Whereas a good church is a pretty focused thing, a bad or unbiblical church can take many different forms. Because of this we need to divide our study into areas. First of all, we need to separate what would be a “church” from a sects, cult, or false religion. Although really there is not much difference between them, I would consider a “church” that would identify itself with solid biblical doctrine something different from a cult. Some “Fundamental” or “Baptist” churches would officially hold to correct or biblical doctrine, but actually practice or secretly believe in unbiblical things. There may also be some groups that would do things as a biblical church would do them, but they hold tightly to some doctrine that is not biblical. Usually these groups always have some defective concept concerning salvation. So these characteristics are a composite of a whole bunch of bad and erroneous churches, sects, abusive churches, groups, etc.
The list of marks of a bad church (Marks of an Unbiblical Church) on this page therefore should be understand as a bad church can have this or that characteristic or mark, but it is defined as bad by any one, and not necessarily by all. Also let me add that some good churches are good on most things, and they may fall into one or more of these marks of a bad church. I do not pretend to know all churches, all situations, and how a person should act or the decision a person should take in such cases. I think soul searching your own heart in order to find what God wants you to do is most important in any situation, and it is essential in these cases. See my thoughts on Getting out of a Bad Church.
What is a biblical New Testament Church? There is a principle that says, you cannot hit a target if you don’t know what it is. Simply put, we as “church” cannot be “church” if we don’t have a firm concept of what “being the church” consists of. I read works by people who attack and are antagonistic to the traditional church (mostly negativism), and those who would transform it into something else.