The 3 Great Missionary Confusions

Mack Stiles | May 31, 2017


If you lived in a reasonably sized city in the United States, and you gathered 100 Protestant pastors in one room, what would they be like?

There would be significant differences. Some would see their ministerial work anchored in the gospel, others would be out of biblical orbit, and, sadly, some would be unregenerate.

The same breakdown would be true for modern-day missionaries. Vast differences would exist among them—about what they do and why they do it. Sadly, some would be unregenerate.

Confusion over modern missions is why churches must ensure their missionaries have rock-solid missiological underpinnings before they ever set foot on the field.

I’ve been involved in missions work for three decades, and I’ve found three consistent and critical missionary confusions.

Confusion #1: Gospel in Context

Questions asked by missionaries often reveal the confusion:

Don’t we adjust the gospel to fit the context, removing offensive things that would prevent someone from a different background from coming to Jesus? Didn’t Paul say he became all things to all men so that some might be won to Christ?

Those of us who come from a forensic cultural background don’t understand a shame/honor culture. Shouldn’t we emphasize principles of shame rather than


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