James Boice on The Christian Mission

John 17:18:

“As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world”

These are the words of Christ in his famous High Priestly Prayer, one of the most helpful sections of scripture in terms of the mission of the church. James Boice explains the way that American churches have misunderstood what it means to be in, but not of the world. He says:

Here is why the evangelical church in America is not as much of a missionary church as it claims to be. We are not saying that the evangelical church does not support foreign missions. In fact, it has probably picked this task up at precisely the point at which the liberal denominations have been dropping it. The problem does not lie there. Rather it lies at the point of the evangelicals’ personal withdrawal from the culture. Many seem afraid of their culture. Hence, they try to keep as far from the world as possible lest they be contaminated or polluted by it. They have developed their own subculture. As some Bible teachers have pointed out, it is possible, for example, to be born of Christian parents, grow up in that Christian family, have Christian friends, go to Christian schools and colleges, read Christian books, attend a Christian country club (known as a church), watch Christian movies, get Christian employment, be attended by a Christian doctor, and finally, one may suppose, die and be buried by a Christian undertaker on holy ground. But this is certainly not what Jesus meant when he spoke of his followers being “in the world.”

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