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In 1966, he became the first president of Westminster Theological Seminary and served until 1984.
This course enlightens the mind to what the Bible says about missions, how the church regards missions throughout history. and what to think about other religions of the world. God himself is the center of missions, according to Scripture. Thus, Dr. Clowney centers his series of lectures based off this idea and gives useful information for how to approach the mission today.
This lecture gives an overview of what missions is primarily about and gives insight to the idea of what it means to bless the Lord, to be a blessing, and to be blessed as seen through Abraham in the Old Testament and the coming of Jesus.
God himself. Missions according to the Bible is of God, through God, and unto God.
God with us is what constitutes all of his blessings. The blessing is never the goodies apart from God. It’s first the presence of God himself.
When we are called to bless the Lord, we are called to glorify his name. We are blessed because we have the presence of God, and we are to be a blessing to others by being faithful.
The nations were coming to Israel instead of Israel going out to the nations as God’s holy place was centered in Jerusalem. The holy place is no longer only in Jerusalem. It is for every nation, and it’s in heaven. The argument is there’s also a centripetal movement in the New Testament as Jesus is drawing everyone to himself.
This lecture emphasizes the announcement of Christ’s coming in the New Testament. Christ comes to gather his people, and the church is to reach out and gather the elect. The gospel is a message of compassion and grace. Therefore, we are to show compassion and grace to the nations through the power of the Holy Spirit.
In the OT, the nations were coming to Israel. In the NT, Jesus draws the nations to himself.
We don’t know who will respond in faith. Jesus tells us to cast our nets into the deep–where we don’t expect a catch–and we will become fishers of men (Luke 5).
It emphasizes the call to be an evangelist. Every Christian must confess Jesus Christ before men–not only at salvation but as part of their life.
They are seeking worshipers.
In this lecture, Dr. Clowney tells us Christ brings in the kingdom by the way of the cross, and the church is the resurrection assembly of Christ as well as a manifestation of the kingdom with Jesus Christ in authority. The church lives in the time between his first and second coming where God delays judgement. Thus, the mission of the church is to help bring forth the kingdom of God–not by force but by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The coming of Christ
Christ has the sword and is both Redeemer and Judge.
Ecumenism is the movement or tendency toward worldwide Christian unity or cooperation. The term emphasizes what is viewed as the universality of the Christian churches.
This lecture goes through the history of this movement by tracing the conferences that took place among churches of all denominations throughout the generations.
Churches should act together in all matters except when deep differences compel them to act separately.
In other words, be together in all things you can be together on, but not all things, such as gospel proclaiming, can be done together due to differences.
This lecture describes the problem with Liberation Theology, a movement prevalent in the 70s and 80s that relied heavily on Marxist ideology and distorted Biblical doctrine. Sin, for example, was often viewed in terms of oppressive social structures instead of an individual’s rebellion against God.
Dr. Clowney explores pros and cons of two different approaches to evangelism in mission. The direct approach gets straight to the gospel while the indirect approach seeks the understanding of the individual before presenting the gospel–if it ever gets to there.
In the latter portion of the lecture, he explains The Chinese Rites Controversy and the problems it presented in matters of approach.
With this approach, you get to the deepest need of the person first, and you do it all–getting to know the person and presenting the gospel–at once.
You may shorten the potential relationship.
You get to know the person and their needs before sharing the gospel with them. Thus, it’s possible the gospel could be presented more clearly when the time comes.
You may never actually get to the point where you share the gospel which is what serves the person’s deepest need–a need for Christ.
Contextualization began when missionaries on the field recognized the need to understand the culture to establish a church. Questions such as “Can the gospel be understood among cultural boundaries?” and “Can Western Culture communicate the gospel?” arose.
Dr. Clowney presents how culture shapes theology as well as how theology shapes culture and emphasizes Christ as the transformer of culture.
Not all cultures are demonic but instead all have a spiritual root and possess an innate rebellion to God. Therefore, they–like all individuals–have opportunity for radical transformation by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
They seek to come together in their understanding of doctrine as they each seek the mind of Christ.
There is no language or culture opaque to the gospel. We can overcome any barriers by unity in Christ.
It includes application to cultural thought horizons and appreciates the history of dogma. We must appreciate not only the context of the text but also the context of the hearer.
The fullness of revelation of Scripture uses ordinary language–not scientific language–full of ambiguity and the context determines the meaning.
Church Growth is a movement within evangelical Christianity which aims to grow churches based on research, sociology, analysis, etc. The Church Growth Movement started with a passion for the Great Commission, and seeing people come to Christ, but it also created a few problems.
Statistics will show a church is more likely to grow when it stays within one societal or cultural group. Yet to be like Christ, we know we must welcome all people and seek reconciliation.
This lecture walks through ideals of the Church Growth Movement and helps us understand how to prioritize disciple-making in the church while also overcoming barriers and moving towards reconciliation.
Growth. They believe there’s no sowing without reaping and that God is interested in results/outcomes from the mission of the church.
Winnable people. They pour more time into reaching those who are most likely to convert than those who seem resistant.
Instead of taking people out of their social context, we should encourage them to remain and therefore witness within.
There are 4 billion people in the world with approximately 1 billion of those claiming Christianity. This lecture opens up a discussion about the resurgence and common practices of world religions as well as theories that attempt to define religion.
The worship of natural objects assumed to have supernatural powers
the worship of a single god while not denying the existence or possible existence of other deities; worship of one god at a time
the worship of many gods
the worship of one god
Other religions all represent paths of escape from God. He asks, “What have you done with God?”
In the most remote and inaccessible places
This lecture gives an overview of world religions by discussing in length the ways of Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam.