Was the Church of the Old Testament “missional”?

This question came to mind because I was recently driving around Cheyenne and noticed a “New Testament Christian Church”.

Simple question, hopefully will result in some comments and conversation.

I contend that by current standards (get out there and GO Law based evangelism, “every snap of the fingers tells of another soul going to hell”,  downplay your identity in order to gain more by bait and switch)[yes, I understand I am unfairly stereotyping some things here], the Old Testament Church would not be very missional at all.   I remember in my earlier days that I often wondered about how little evangelism the Church did in those days.

What did the evangelism efforts of the Church during Old Testament times look like?  Were they based upon personal evangelism and mission programs or were they based upon vocation and identity?  Is this a both/and or either/or situation?

Some other things that come to mind about this: when the Church of those days adopted practices of the erring, it fell away from God (although He alone kept a safe remnant for the sake of the Gospel).  When ignorance of the promises became common the Church suffered dearly as well (although God alone kept a safe remnant pure, restored the teachings in time, all for the sake of the Gospel).

Food for your though and discussion hopefully:

 

About Pastor Joshua Scheer

Pastor Joshua Scheer is the Senior Pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He is also the Editor-in-chief of Brothers of John the Steadfast. He oversees all of the work done by Steadfast Lutherans. He is a regular host of Concord Matters on KFUO. Pastor Scheer and his lovely wife Holly (who writes and manages the Katie Luther Sisters) have four children and enjoy living in Wyoming.

Comments

Was the Church of the Old Testament “missional”? — 111 Comments

  1. @Pastor Joshua Scheer #100

    Funny thing…you start this entire thread not by talking about original sin right? You actually have a specific sin in mind that you want to correct….

    get out there and GO Law based evangelism, “every snap of the fingers tells of another soul going to hell”, downplay your identity in order to gain more by bait and switch

    Why the change in heart? Why didn’t you talk about original sin? Why didn’t you proclaim the Gospel alone to change the issue?

    Odd….but once again our actions confess more than our words, eh? 😉

    Matthew Mills

    Seriously: very funny. 🙂

  2. @Mark Louderback #101
    Context Mark – I am not preaching a sermon here. I am offering a chance to discuss something that is in particular affecting our congregations and Synod.
    I try in my sermons to preach the law against both actual sins (fruit) and original Sin (root).

    As far as law/gospel – you may want to reread Walther’s book on the matter, and then you could read Galatians again too. They often help me when I start getting things confused (which I confess I do at times).

    context (like my error of not understanding your context earlier).

  3. @Melancthon #86
    I thought they only wanted to get rid of the building. Didn’t MN North do a similar thing?

    It is my understanding that if the building goes there will be no other space available for LCMS campus ministry on the edge of campus, so the effect will be to shut the college students out, even if the “town” part of the congregation finds room elsewhere.
    ALL of Minnesota paid for that site & building so that there would be an LCMS campus ministry at U of M, not so the board of Minn So could turn a profit by selling it to a developer.

    [It has also been said (here, I think) that the “town” comes to ULC because of the scarcity of confessional liturgical congregations in MSP. Locals would have to verify for you.]

    Minn No has not been discussed. Please explain that remark.

  4. @Mark Louderback #96
    I do think that this is a lovely defense though: a congregation doesn’t have to be loving—it just has to be liturgical! God does the rest.

    That’s a nice theme…

    It’s your song!

    Nowhere did I say that a congregation shouldn’t also be welcoming [“loving”] and interested in visitors. Despite some complaints about little nests of extended family [Who are you cousin to, coming here?] liturgical congregations can be as welcoming as your own.
    God doesn’t “do the rest” by the way; He does it all!

  5. P.S. I’ve been “shut out” by a CG wannabe, open communion congregation, Mark.
    They can be as “clubby” as any other!

  6. Joshua Scheer,

    Yeah, you are not preaching a sermon….

    But still, it is interesting. How exactly do you get people to change behavior? Hmm? I mean, that is what you ultimately want — you are not just mentioning law-based sermons for kicks. You want pastors to stop preaching like that.

    So how do you get them to change behavior?

    You say that your own sermons contain sections on actual sin — and they need to. Because we are so sinful we rationalize our behavior and think that it is ok. A person can believe in sin, but reject that what they do is sinful.

    So, we have to point that out…and that would include a lack of love for the lost. An apathy of evangelism. Etc.

    But why is the context different? Why, if you want people to change their behavior, would you use a different method in a sermon that you would just posting on a website? It seems to me that the context would not change the way in which you would approach the problem…

    Helen

    Nowhere did I say that a congregation shouldn’t also be welcoming [“loving”] and interested in visitors.

    No. But when I made the suggestion that this is why visitors came to Matthew Mills congregation, I was told this had nothing to do with it.

    So…it lends itself to that interpretation, doesn’t it…

    P.S. I’ve been “shut out” by a CG wannabe, open communion congregation, Mark.
    They can be as “clubby” as any other!

    As long as they have good preaching and a service people like, that doesn’t matter!!! Right?! 🙂

  7. @Mark Louderback #106
    As long as they have good preaching and a service people like,
    that doesn’t matter!!! Right?!

    You are very free with “interpretations”! I don’t think I said that either.
    Maybe you should just read what’s here, instead of “interpreting”?

    Actually, if they “have good preaching and a [Lutheran] service, it may not matter to some people. I have read a whole discussion by self declared “introverts” who were thankful when they could find a church which did not subject them to a lot of questions by a “welcoming committee” or worse, a request by the Pastor to stand and tell the congregation all about themselves after the announcements!
    [If they hadn’t asked to see the Pastor, they did recognize the need for a discreet question to establish eligibility for closed communion.]

  8. In the case of Matthew Mills’ congregation, visitors were looking for liturgical worship and evidently said so. If they were also friendlier, I don’t think it was mentioned.

    If I had to choose, liturgical worship would (does, in fact) outweigh garage bands.
    Friendliness would be a secondary consideration; one does not make good friends instantly.
    (Even coffee is better when it’s brewed.)

  9. @Mark Louderback #106
    Mark-
    Wouldn’t it be better to preach against lack of love for the neighbor instead of lack of love for the lost?

    I understand your points on Gospel motivation and internet posts. Thank you for pointing out the inconsistency. I would like to see a change in behavior, and have not reflected properly Gospel motivation for that. I will throw that idea around more in my head for future posts.

  10. Joshua Scheer,

    It is like anything else. It is one thing to preach against lack of love for the neighbor. It is another thing to preach against lack of love towards blacks.

    A person is perfectly capable of thinking that he needs to love his neighbor while fostering racist attitudes. It is only when the Law comes into to that particular area and convicts him that he will bring change on his behavior.

    Generic sin reaps a generic confession.

    Make sense? That’s how I see the issue.

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