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Jan

24

2011

God-centeredness Is an Ultimate End

Sometimes we can be unwittingly pragmatic. We are often so focused on what happens that we forget the most important "thing" in the world is not something that "happens", per se

I've been reading a lot these days about the church, particularly books published by 9 Marks. One of those was Mark  Dever's book, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. Great, excellent book. In this book he reminds us on more than one occasion that the display of God's character in the world through us is indeed an ultimate end! This is good in and of itself, even it is has no other effects.

Reflecting God's character through faithful parenting is an ultimate end. Reflecting God's character through longsuffering with believers is an ultimate end. Sharing the gospel of God's grace in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection is a good thing; it is obedience to Christ, it is proclaiming God's name. Even if nothing else happens, even if nobody notices and believes, we have represented God, we have imaged him in the world. This is a success.

I think here is where our man-centeredness rears its ugly head the most, and also the contemporary "missional" emphasis falls apart. We should not be missional churches.  The church does not exist solely to be "on mission". Missions is only a means to a greater end--albeit a great means. 

They are right on that much of church is existing for itself and that we are to be serious about the mission the Lord left with us. But before getting caught up in the missional world, one must take care to not end up a pragmatist who cares about results and evangelistic effects (mission or non-missional), forgetting that faithfulness in worshiping and obeying God does indeed reflect his glory, and that the very goal of mission is that more people do this, more and more!

John Piper got it better when began his book Let the Nations Be Glad with these words:

Mission is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn't. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. (17)

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Matt Hauck (郝柏昇)

A once enemy now son, forgiven and freed by Jesus' blood, adopted and called by grace for glory.   (more...)

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