I read this on the 9Marks blog this morning:
I came across an interesting point by Wayne Grudem that it bears on the conversation that Doug Coleman started a while ago. Doug asked:
What is the ultimate goal and motivation for cross-cultural missions, the salvation of as many humans as possible or the glory of God?
You can read the whole post and comments here.
Grudem, discussing the debate between Calvinists and Arminians in his Bible Doctrine, points out that both sides believe that God values something more than the salvation of everyone. God surely could save everyone, but chooses not to.
The Arminian explains that God is primarily concerned not to violate man’s free will. That’s what prevents all people from being saved.
But I thought that observation was helpful for your question, Doug. Both Reformed folks and Arminians can agree that the salvation of people cannot be God’s highest priority. Otherwise, he would save everyone. So it would seem that it can’t be our highest motive for missions, either.
Missions for the glory of God is extremely freeing, because we can glorify God even when our work isn’t “successful”. This perspective allows us to work in difficult places even if there’s little evident fruit. It strengthens the resolve of those who go and lay down their lives on the mission field. It makes us bold to preach the whole gospel without compromising it to please men and gain their favor.
I had not considered this. It makes you think!