Heavenly Consolation

Paul and his companions followed one solid rule during those missionary journeys: Go only where the Lord opens a door. It didn’t matter what made the most sense, or where he was yearning and burning to go.

You have to read between the lines, but a couple of times Paul avoided jurisdictions where he already knew he would face prosecution for preaching the gospel. There were times he took a circuitous route to avoid those places. Otherwise, his only threat was any number of Jewish activists who wanted him dead. Without them, he would have seldom faced trouble with authorities. He chose his battles carefully based on his calling, not his fears nor his reason.

I’ve had preachers literally yell at me for espousing that attitude. They took the management approach. If they could imagine a way to do it, I was wrong for not being willing to face it their way. They did not permit a sense of mission; If I had any calling at all, I had to go where missions management needed me. And the Holy Spirit was not in charge. To them, talk of the Holy Spirit was just an excuse to dodge responsibilities at which they arrived purely by reason.

So I was accused of lacking commitment, but that meant commitment to their convenience. I was accused of being lazy because I didn’t want to perform their work for them. I was accused of being unprofessional because I wasn’t willing to follow their exact path through life.

To this day a very wide swath of evangelical ministry insists that the only proper guide is management and efficiency studies, as if the gospel were a product being marketed. It is all about the sales pitch and numerical growth. Anything else is simply not taking your calling seriously, if you listen to them.

Missionaries who travel to countries where things go against them should have known this was possible. Shoot, it’s altogether possible here in the US. Claiming justice and human rights is not a part of the gospel message, so trying to call home and have the US government bully the local government about persecuting an American missionary is simply not right.

Paul did use the protections of Roman Law, and was careful to avoid leaving the Roman Empire. That was his calling. Other apostles went outside the Roman Empire because that was their calling. That has nothing to do with American missionaries who travel under the presumption of the US government projecting its power, as if the American way of life was the gospel itself.

Real missionaries called of God will rejoice in persecution and sorrow (2 Corinthians 1). Suffering in that sense is a blessing, a mark of divine favor.

About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
This entry was posted in sanity and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Heavenly Consolation

  1. Jay DiNitto says:

    But Brother Ed, didn’t you know “with God all things are possible”? If you had enough faith you’d be able to move mountains, and…

    Sorry, I can’t go further. The salesman attitude of ministry numbnuts really gets to me. I can only fake it for a bit before I get nauseated.


  2. Ed Hurst says:

    Yeah, the Devil’s lies leave a lot of heartburn.


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