Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Authority of Scripture in Missions

By Tiana Murray; adapted from Global City Missions

A major flaw in missions today is a lack of importance placed on Scripture. Of course, we say that we put the authority of Scripture above all else and quote it eloquently when evangelizing, but whether or not Scripture has come to a true place of authority in our personal lives is debatable. Too often we rely on our own efforts and plans instead of learning to discern the whisper of the Holy Spirit. Without the Word in its rightful place in our lives, we miss out on hearing from God in ways that not only transform our lives, but the lives of those we minister to.

Without Scripture driving and fueling ministry, our efforts to further the Kingdom lack the vitality and life that show that our work is from God. We hold Bible studies and preach from the Word, but all of that simply covers up the fact that we fail to make time for it in our own lives. Our intentions are good, but we are weaker than we realize. We need Scripture just as much as the people we are discipling, and we need to pass the discipline of interacting with the Scriptures in a truly transforming way onto them.

Too often, missionaries keep new believers dependent on them when it comes to hearing from the Word. We train new believers to be far too reliant on missionaries and pastors when they should be given the opportunity to read the Word themselves and learn to discern the voice of the Spirit. Global City Mission says, "When there is no longer dependency on the missionary or similar figure, it increases the reproducibility of the church. New believers learn that they too can share the Word of God. Making new disciples simply requires faithfulness to the Word of God, wisdom to discern, and sensitivity to His Spirit."

Missions starts with being transformed by the Spirit of God, which we learn to hear through the Word. Our work must be founded on the primacy of Scripture in our own lives, which will then naturally pour out upon those we are discipling. We must teach believers to rely on the Spirit, not primarily on authority figures in the church. We must not hinder the depth of which a person can connect with God through the Word as a new believer.

As Global City Missions says, "When the authority of Scripture is the foundation for a process of discovering obedience to Christ, committed discipleship is the goal and the potential for reproducing disciples increases." Access to the Word of God spreads the Kingdom. And that is what missions is all about.

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