To the Ends of the Earth

“I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6

In the first verse of the book of Acts, Dr. Luke reminded Theophilus that he had written his previous book—his Gospel— to record “that which Jesus began to do and to teach.” Though unstated, his purpose for this second book was to record that which Jesus continued to do and teach through his apostles. Their job was not to speculate about when Jesus might restore the kingdom to Israel, but to wait for the Spirit to empower them so that “you will be my witnesses, not only in Jerusalem, but also in all of Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

But Luke’s second account does not conclude with the work Jesus began to do and teach being completed; “the ends of the earth” was not reached when Paul arrived in Rome. Each generation of Christians must receive power from the Spirit and bear witness of Jesus. The desire to see the story of Jesus proclaimed throughout the world lies behind this issue of Mission Round Table. All but the opening article were originally produced for the June 2019 OMF Mission Research Consultation that focused on sharing the gospel.

How Indigenous Are the OMF Asian Home Councils? Tracing the History of their Establishment

This paper recounts the birth and development of OMF’s Asian Home Councils, points out the key issues faced by these councils, identifies changes that have emerged over the years, and considers whether Asian Home Councils can be legitimately considered indigenous. Koyuki Sami joined OMF in 1992. She worked among the urban and rural poor in [...]

One Kingdom Theology as a Paradigm for Gospel Ministry: A Commendation of the Thoughts of J. H. Bavinck

This paper examines the mission theology of the Dutch missionary, Johan Herman Bavinck. Special focus is given to Bavinck’s conception of missions in light of the theme of the kingdom of God, the interplay between general and special revelation, and the relationship between missions, church, and the world. Song Tsai is an MA Student at [...]

God’s Mission, the Messianic Kingdom, and the Calling of the Church

Responding to Song Tsai’s reflections on Bavinck in "One Kingdom Theology as a Paradigm for Gospel Ministry", Michael Widmer examines some of the writings of Bavinck and presents a wider investigation into the nature and purposes of God’s mission and how this relates to his kingdom and the commissioning of the church. Michael Widmer is [...]

The Gospel and the Cross-Cultural Gospel Messengers: Issues of Identity and Platform in Bringing the Good News

This paper addresses key questions related to platforms and distinguishes between missionary calling and the professional vocation which many have found helpful. It includes a scale that attempts to capture some of the issues in how these two callings intersect for different people and discusses the key question of effectiveness. Dr. Ian Prescott has served [...]

The Gospel Expressed Through Ritual Materiality for Discipleship in the Context of Thai Folk Buddhism

This paper begins with a brief presentation on the basic religious outlook of Thai folk Buddhists followed by a discussion of how ritual materiality reflects vital expressions of spirituality that reveal the way Thai folk Buddhists see the world. The paper looks at possible redemptive expressions in the realm of ritual materiality through which the [...]

Let the Gospel Enter the Heart Underneath the Kimono

Responding to Samuel Lim’s article "The Gospel Expressed Through Ritual Materiality for Discipleship in the Context of Thai Folk Buddhism" from a Japanese perspective, Ricky and Winny Leung underline similarities and differences between Japanese and Thai Buddhism. Their discussion considers how Japanese churches have rituals similar to those in the society at large, the influence [...]

Extract from China’s Millions (1877): Plan of the Operations of the China Inland Mission

This article from China's Millions (April 1877) describes the CIM's plan to move into the nine inland provinces lacking missionary witness. The journeys made by these young men covered thousands of miles. Traveling by foot, horseback, and boat, they faced danger from the terrain, bandits, and illness. More details of these amazing journeys can be [...]

Book review – A Foot Wide on the Edge of Nowhere: Olive and Theo Simpkin—Sharing Good News in China

Reviewed by Claire McConnell Archivist at OMF International This is a book I had been anticipating for quite some time. My own personal story with the people on its pages began in 1981 when I was a student in Belfast. The Ireland OMF Secretary at that time was David Strachan, who served with his wife [...]

Book review – Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory

Reviewed by Eunice Au What do you do when you realize the objective you were aiming for is completely unattainable and actually totally inappropriate? This is the exact challenge the Lewis and Clark expedition team faced when they reached the Rocky Mountains and discovered that, not only was there no easily navigable waterway from the [...]

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