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On the Mission of the Church

"Some day when we go into the archives of heaven to find a book which expounds the meaning of human history as God sees it, we will not draw out a book depicting "The History of the West" or "The Progress of Civilization" or "The Glory of the British Empire" or "The Growth and Expansion of America." That book will be entitled, The Preparation for and the Extension of the Gospel among the Nations. For only here is God's redemptive purpose carried forward.

"This is a staggering fact. God has entrusted to people like us, redeemed sinners, the responsibility of carrying out the divine purpose in history. Why has God done it this way? Is He not taking a great risk that His purpose will fail of accomplishment? It is now over nineteen hundred years, and the goal is not yet achieved. Why did God not do it Himself? Why did He not send hosts of angels whom He could trust to complete the task at once? Why has He committed it to us? We do not try to answer the question, except to say that it is God's will. Here are the facts: God has entrusted to us this mission; and unless we do it, it will not get done.

"This is also a thrilling fact…From the perspective of eternity, the mission of the Church is more important than the march of armies or the actions of the world's capitals, because it is in the accomplishment of this mission that the divine purpose for human history is accomplished. No less than this is our mission…

"…My concern is not with closed doors; my concern is with the doors that are open which we do not enter…

"…The Church must always in its essential character be a martyr church. As we carry the Gospel into all the world, we are not to expect unqualified success. We are to be prepared for opposition, resistance, even persecution and martyrdom…

"…We are…Biblical realists, who recognize the terrible power of evil and yet who go forth in a mission of world-wide evangelism to win victories for God's Kingdom until Christ returns in glory to accomplish the last and greatest victory…

"…To us it is given to not only wait for but also to hasten the coming of the day of God…"

— George Eldon Ladd (late great Professor of Biblical Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary), as quoted from the ninth and final chapter of The Gospel of the Kingdom, 1959

[EDITOR'S NOTE: I promise, this will be my last Ladd excerpt! But you really ought to read it if you haven't already. Get it HERE.]

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