Are There Distinctive ‘Evangelical’ Issues for a Theology of Mission?

Wednesday is for Prayer

I am in Wisconsin training church planters and church planting leaders with Dynamic Church Planting International. These training events are always a delight and fuel my heart for Jesus and the Kingdom. I resigned from New Song Church for this very purpose, to invest in the next generation of church planters. So between events like these, the 14 men I am mentoring around the country, and helping churches like Trinity Church in Watseka, who want to expand their evangelistic impact–I am in the sweet spot of my heart’s desire.

All that is to say two things: Please keep me in prayer for the next two days and I don’t have much time to write so here is something I started some time ago when I was reading Donald McGavran’s Contemporary Evangelical Theology of Mission (Arthur Glasser and Donald McGavran).

This is an older book but a valuable read. McGavran outlines seven main doctrines or, what he calls, axioms, of an evangelical theology of mission:


  1. The absolute inspiration and authority of the Bible.
  2. The doctrine of the soul and eternal life.
  3. The doctrine of the lostness of the human race and of eternal salvation.
  4. The doctrine of Christ, the only mediator.
  5. The doctrine of the Church as Christ’s body, the household of God.
  6. Evangelization and the end time.
  7. The primary mission of the Church [to make disciples].
I think McGavran got these seven issues right, but the question is, “Are there other issues that are distinctively ‘evangelical’  that are also rightly considered part of an Evangelical Theology of Mission? I think there are but I would love to hear from the 170 or so readers who drop in on the blog each day. 

5 thoughts on “Are There Distinctive ‘Evangelical’ Issues for a Theology of Mission?

  1. Couple of thoughts:
    The doctrine of God as sender and initiator toward humanity.
    The worth of human beings made in God’s image.
    The indispensable role of the Holy Spirit awakening sinners and empowering the mission.


    1. Great start to the discussion. For those of you who don’t know Ross:

      Ross Anderson is a church planter in Utah with a special emphasis on reaching Mormons. He has published two books (Zondervan) on Mormon evangelism and speaks around the country on both Mormonism and church planting.

      What else would you add to McGavran’s seven issues or what ways would you restate them?


  2. This is a little over my head so I’m a little worried to say anything, but I personally struggle with issues like being at a place of peace in my life, feeling fulfilled, and having a purpose.

    If I was going to reach out to an overchurched, somewhat jaded person like myself, I would find it very important to explain that God has a purpose and plan for my life, and it’s more than just a quick prayer. I need to be obedient and give him all of my life – he’s my Savior, but also my Lord.

    So if I understand what you’re asking, I would add to your list, if it’s not covered already, that God creates humans with intention and purpose in his image, not out of whim, and that he desires humans to worship, love, and obey him only.

    I think eternal salvation is wonderful and amazing, but I need also to be saved right now from my evil nature. It’s vehemently banging down the door to my heart and begging me to serve it, and that need is so immediate that it clouds my ability to think clearly about longterm things like eternal life. I need Jesus today, every day, not just when I die.


  3. The doctrine of Christ’s physical resurrection from the dead. I have heard a surprising number of “Gospel” presentations that never mention the resurrection. ” If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” 1 Corinthians 15:13-14


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