Define "Missionary"

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Spinach, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. Spinach

    Spinach
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    Is there a clear biblical definition of "Missionary"? Please give examples today as well.

    This is a spin-off of my "member" thread.
     
  2. John of Japan

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    Being a missionary I'll take a stab at satisfying your curiosity. I believe based on Matt. 28:16-20 and other Scripture that the Biblical missionary is: one called and sent forth by God to proclaim the Gospel to the world, teaching the Word of God to those who are saved through the gospel, and baptizing them, which means establishing a local church New Testament church (church-planting).

    Note that the Great Commission in Matthew was not to believers as a whole, but specifically to the 11 disciples, or the apostles. Others of the five statements of the Great Commission were given to the church, all disciples, etc. But Matthew was to the apostles as was Acts 1:8.

    My definition is based on the belief that the apostle is the Bibllical equivalent of the modern missionary. Before rejecting this out of hand (as some do) note the following facts:

    (1) This is not a Charismatic position, though some Charistmatics hold to it. Many Christians held this position long before the Charismatic movement or even the Pentecostal movement was started, as I can prove. I don't believe in speaking in their view of tongues, divine healing, the "manifest sons of God" doctrine, etc.

    (2) There are many more called apostles in the NT than just the original 12, Matthias and Paul. This is where many people stumble--they don't realize this. True, the original apostles were special, but there was a second tier of apostles.

    (3) Most missiologists agree with me. I can give quotes.

    God bless.
     
  3. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Double post. Sorry! I couldn't get the submission to work so I tried again and it then recorded that as two. Anyway, it builds up my post count, nyuck nyuck.
     
    #3 John of Japan, Dec 22, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2008
  4. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Triple post. Sorry again.
     
  5. Spinach

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    Thank you for your response(s). I believe I agree (I'm a missionary, too).

    What about singing groups (as mentioned in the other thread)? Are they technically missionaries. I'm of the "no" opinion, but I'm not sure why. It is a ministry, after all.
     
  6. John of Japan

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    Unfortunately, in modern America the word missionary has been co-opted to mean many different things, some of them with no relation to my definition. The Apostle Paul said, "I magnify mine office" (Rom. 11:13), and so do I. I am certainly not a great missionary by any means, but I often thank God for the privilege He's given me in calling me to be a missionary, and I defend vigorously my office.

    It bothers me when I see signs or slogans like, "Every believer a missionary." Is every believer willing to leave a fiance in England forever and labor in Moslem lands like Henry Martyn, suffer in prison with his Bible translation for his pillow like Adoniram Judson, die on his knees in a mud hut in Africa like David Livingston, sacrifice everything to study a language full time for a full year or even two and then live cross-culturally in a sometimes hostile culture for decades? I think not.

    So to get back to your question about a singing group, please look back at my definition. The only way I would consider those singers to be missionaries is if they are using their music to win souls and establish those souls in a new church. And I know of no music ministries doing that. I do know of people teaching English to win souls and establish churches, and they are missionaries. I know of a Japanese doctor in a Muslim country using his medicine to win souls and establish churches. I greatly admire him--and yes he is a true missionary!

    God bless you, fellow missionary!
     
  7. Spinach

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    How would you feel for them to be called "Music Ministers"?

    Then, how would the Baptist church feel about a woman as a "Music Minister"? I suppose it would vary.
     
  8. donnA

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    Today people tend to think amissionary goes to another country, and have a hard time calling anything done in their own country(the USA in this account) as being a missionary. But when a person goes out and preaches/teaches, or even sings the gospel, then yes they are missionaries. Anyone who goes out and ministers in Jesus name is a missionary, even if it's only next door. Missionaries don't just go to foreign countries.
     
  9. Spinach

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    I agree that missionaries don't just go to foreign countries. I disagree that someone witnessing to a neighbor is a missionary.
     
  10. John of Japan

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    I agree that missionaries don't necessarily go to foreign countries. I believe there is such a thing as a home missionary, but only if they are evangelizing and church-planting according to the Great Commission, as I said in my definition.

    Do you have a Biblical basis for your definition of a missionary as "anyone who goes out and ministers in Jesus' name"? It certainly isn't based on the Great Commission.
     
  11. Salty

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    This is not necessarily a Biblical definition, but as a youngster I was taught that a missionary was
    Gods man
    doing Gods work
    in Gods way
    at God time
    in Gods place of service
     
  12. donnA

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    you don't think a missionary goes out and ministers in Jesus' name?
     
  13. John of Japan

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    I think every Christian is commanded to go out and minister in Jesus' name, though every Christian does not. A missionary certainly goes out and ministers in Jesus' name, but he should do that because he is a Christian, not because he is a missionary.

    Apostles went out and ministered in the Bible. Does that make every Christian an apostle? Pastors went out and ministered in the Bible. Does that make every Christian a pastor?

    The word "missionary" comes from the Latin word misso, "to send," and means "one sent forth." The word "apostle" comes from the Greek word apostolos and means "one sent forth." A missionary should be considered a subset of Christian, not an equal set.
     
  14. Marcia

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    And how about raising your own support and living month to month on donations from churches and individuals year after year? You never know for sure how much you will get each month because the giving is usually not consistent. How many Christians would do that?

    Most missionaries I know are doing that (including myself). It terrified me to do this at first, I can tell you that.
     
  15. John of Japan

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    Tell me about it. It terrified me too, sister! Hardest thing I ever did. Learning Japanese full time for two full years was a cakewalk. (Another thing the average Christian will never do--though not all missionaries have to learn a foreign language.)
    :tonofbricks:
     
  16. Spinach

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    JofJ and Marcia, I can sympathize!!!
     
  17. Jim1999

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    I believe a missionary serves in the extended arm of the local church. This does not exclude those who join mission boards to serve, but they should be commissioned and supported by a local church. Musical groups may "minister" but are not usually commissioned by a local church.

    In the early days some pastors lived hand-to-mouth to minister in a small congregation.

    God bless the missionaries. Most of us know little of the sacrifices made to serve at home or abroad

    Cheers.

    Jim
     

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