Anabaptist Mission Work Under the Fire of God
Peter Hoover, Tasmania, 2008
Nothing says more about the state of Christianity in our time than how Christians do, or refuse to do, “mission work.” All the way from presenting the Gospel through entertainment (Christian movies and festivals) to preaching such a narrow, sectarian Gospel, based on such wobbly “fundamentals” that no one gets convinced (at least not for long), Christians have tried desperately through the last century to make themselves relevant, effective, or at least heard.
Some have stooped to using the appeal of money, or glamour—“Christian celebrities.” While eager active churches, particularly new churches with a need to prove themselves, pursue mission work as an end in itself. To motivate their members and give young people exciting assignments overseas. Good self-image. Publicity. All this, while conservative Christians, for lack of results, have stopped doing mission work altogether. Convinced the world no longer understands the Gospel, they stay at home and content themselves with being a city on a hill. “If anyone wants to find us,” they reason, “they can come and look us up.”
Who, in the midst of this confusion, remembers Jesus’ mission? The mission he gave to the church he bought with his blood?
Does your church remember? Do you?
In this story of two Anabaptist missions, one in 20’th Century Africa, and the other in 16’th Century Europe, you may find a seed of truth that will help you decide.
Real missionaries are prophets, we learn from the Scriptures. Jesus calls them to carry his prophetic witness into the times and places in which they live. But would you know a prophet (a real missionary or “mission station”) if you saw one?
Look for the mark of Christ—or the mark of the beast—on their lives.