The Christian religion has been developed mainly from scriptural sources—the writings that form the Bible. Secondary sources have included such works as the Nicene Creed, the Chalcedonian Formula, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the Westminster Confession of Faith.
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Not everything in our Bibles is inspired. The words certainly are, but the chapters, verses, footnotes, references, and maps are not. This is particularly true when it comes to Paul’s missionary journeys.
A few years ago the founder of our training program said, “We have a lot of people who come to us with a desire to serve God internationally, but not all end up overseas. How can we help people get to the mission field? What things are helpful? What things hinder? How can we help address these issues?” These simple questions led to a search for how to appropriately steward the gifts and resources of people God has called and support them all the way into long-term missions. Out of these simple questions, the LAUNCH Survey was born.
All theology is based on autobiography. All theology has its unique color and context, and so does my missiology. My missional focus for this article is transnational adoption in the larger context of the ministry of compassion.
A 2015 published Pew study on America’s changing religious landscape spanning from 2007 to 2013 indicates that the Christian population in the U.S. is shrinking from 78.4% to 70.6%, a 7.8% decline. This is in contrast with the world religions category, which saw an increase from 4.7% to 5.9%, a growth of 1.2%.
Whatever else one may say about Paul’s logic, he makes it clear that all the credit and glory for his work belongs to God. Every person in ministry would humbly acknowledge the same truth. And yet, how often do we seek to position ourselves so that when the report, article, or book is written, we will receive significant credit for the breakthrough? We can’t seem to help wanting to take some of what should be God’s glory alone.
by Sam Metcalf
by M. David Sills
by Harold A. Netland
by Juliana Barbassa Touchstone, 2015.