Table of Contents
D. A. Carson
1 The Biblical Basis for Missions
Treasure in Jars of Clay (2 Corinthians 4:1–12)
D. A. Carson
2 Why the Great Commission Is Great
Reaching More and More People (2 Corinthians 4:13–18)
3 The Heart of God in the Call to Proclaim
A Joyfully Serious Courage in the Cause of World Missions (2 Corinthians 5:1–10)
4 Being Ambassadors for Christ
The Ministry of Reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11–21)
J. Mack Stiles
5 Are People without Christ Really Lost?
6 The Individual’s Suffering and the Salvation of the World
7 Jesus and Justice 115
By D.A. Carson
One of the most encouraging signs in recent years of God’s hand of blessing has been the surprising number of serious students who are coming forward for theological training. Students often come through seminaries in distinguishable waves, and many of us who have been teachers for a few decades gladly testify that the current wave is one of the most encouraging we have seen. Thousands of young men want to be church planters, and they are looking for teachers and mentors who will spend time with them. Others, both men and women, simply want to handle Scripture better, to learn how to do evangelism and Bible studies in the transcultural environments of our big cities, or to write with clarity, faithfulness, humility, and unction. Neither is this phenomenon happening in America alone: in various degrees, in many countries, serious students are coming to grips with the serious nature of the gospel, and wanting to serve.
Some of the men on the Council of The Gospel Coalition, and a few others, began to wonder if some of this grace-driven energy should be challenged with the needs beyond America’s borders. Even though world mission is no longer “from the West to the rest,” but more like “from everywhere to everywhere,” the worldwide needs are gigantic. Not only do thousands of unreached people groups remain, but there are far larger populations where knowledge of Scripture is desperately thin, where nominalism or syncretism reigns supreme, and where the gospel is poorly understood and widely disbelieved. So we decided that, ahead of the 2013 National Conference of the Coalition, we would sponsor a preconference on world mission, designed especially, though not exclusively, for students. That took place in April 2013. Before the year was out, the Cross Conference organized a further mission conference in Louisville—longer, more detailed, but with similar hopes and vision.
The chapters of this book are slightly edited print forms of the seven plenary addresses of the April 2013 mission conference. Four of them are devoted to exposition of 2 Corinthians 4–5. As usual, we encouraged a diversity of styles of exposition, provided that the Word of God was faithfully unpacked, so that people might better see the glory of God in the gospel. Also, because mission theology is today challenged by a handful of “hot topics,” we decided to devote three plenaries to address some of them: Andrew Davis spoke on “Are People without Christ Really Lost?”; Michael Oh addressed “The Individual’s Suffering and the Salvation of the World”; and Stephen Um spoke on “Jesus and Justice.” Though they are topically arranged, all of these chapters are packed with thoughtful, substantial biblical reflection.
I am grateful beyond words to the plenary speakers for being willing to provide full manuscripts; to Kathleen Nielson for her careful administrative and editorial work; and to Crossway for continuing to make so much of the audio and video ministry of TGC available in print form.
Soli Deo gloria.
Don Carson, President, TGC
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God's Love Compels Us: Taking The Gospel To The World