Friday, May 13, 2011

The "Essentially Supernatural Nature" of Mission Work

Pope Benedict XVI is forever saying the most relevant and basic things that other Christian leaders often forget to say. He defends the Bible, the supernatural, the need for conversion and the Lordship of Christ as head of a Church that contains many theological liberals who would like nothing better than to turn the Roman Catholic Church into just another dying liberal Protestant denomination.

The Catholic News Agency reports:
"The Pope has reminded Catholic missionaries of the essentially supernatural nature of their work.

“Only deeply rooted in Christ and his Word are we able to resist the temptation to reduce evangelization to a purely human or social project, hiding or silencing the transcendent dimension of salvation offered by God in Christ,” he said.

The pontiff spoke in an address to participants at the Pontifical Missions Society General Assembly to the Vatican on May 14.

“It’s a Word that should be explicitly witnessed and proclaimed, because without a consistent witness it is less understandable and believable. Although we often feel inadequate, poor, incapable, we must always retain confidence in the power of God, who puts his treasure in ‘jars of clay,’ so that it is He who acts through us.”

The Pontifical Missions Society is the name given to a group of Catholic missionary societies which are under the direct guidance of the Pope. These include the Holy Childhood Association, the Society of St. Peter the Apostle, and the Society for the Propagation of the Faith."

Read the rest here. The emphasis on the "essentially supernatural nature" of the work of missions is something of which many contemporary Evangelicals need reminding. It is not just Catholic mission agencies that need to bear in mind that failing to bear witness to the "transcendent dimension of salvation offered by God in Christ." We Evangelicals need to be challenged by that word as well.

A good test for whether our mission efforts are faithful is to ask whether they are dependent on a supernatural empowerment of the Holy Spirit or whether they are essentially human efforts that require only human means and could be carried out by non-Christian humanitarians.

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