What I’m Reading: The Bible Basis of Missions

Bible Basis of MissionsMost pastors have some old books that they’ve picked up second-hand, often from older pastors or friends, and have carried around from college to home to church office. You know the kind: the books with other people’s names in the front that sit on your shelves year after year, but which you’ve never read or even cracked. Robert Hall Glover’s The Bible Basis of Missions is one such book for me. After carting it around for the better part of two decades, I’m finally reading it. Why? Well, I’ve been bit by the missions bug during my study of Matthew 28, and it looked like it would provide some help both for preaching and for focusing TCBC’s attention more directly on world evangelism. It hasn’t disappointed.

This book, now out of print, is a warm-hearted and devotional treatment of missions written in 1946. Glover was a missionary, a missionary administrator with China Inland Mission and educator at Moody Bible Institute. It’s probably not as “strategically focused” as many current missions books, but I think that may be a good thing. Thus far, I’ve enjoyed it—at least the first two chapters.

Glover’s book is especially focused on motivating missions involvement, and he writes persuasively to that end:

  • He calls missions “the very object of [the church’s] existence.” (p. 5) It’s what we’re here for.
  • He says that “The New Testament is uniquely and preeminently missionary—the greatest missionary volume ever produced. Every section of it was written by a missionary, with the primary object of meeting a missionary need and promoting missionary work.” (p. 22)
  • He asks, “Can any thoughtful Christian fail to see that the one thing uppermost in the mind of our blessed Lord, the one great burden upon His heart during His last days and even His very latest moments upon earth, was that the message of redemption wrought out by His death and resurrection should be carried to the whole world?” (p. 32-33)
  • He insists that “to be nonmissionary is to be unorthodox.” (p. 30)
  • He demonstrates that God Himself is the first and best missionary, as evidenced by His going after Adam and Eve after their sin, in Christ’s seeking and saving the lost, or in the Spirit’s drawing sinners to Christ.
  • He argues that every church’s success must be determined not by numbers or income or activities, but by faithfulness to the Great Commission. (p. 37)
  • He demonstrates that in the NT church, the Great Commission was the work of every believer, not a few elite “commandos.” (p. 39)
  • He speaks out boldly against mere social projects. (p. 40)

Those are some highlights from the first 2 chapters, which I enjoyed. The third? I didn’t enjoy it a bit, though I needed it. It’s about the role of the pastor in emphasizing the Great Commission in the local church, and it’s simultaneously devastating and motivating. I hope to post some of the highlights from that chapter in a separate post over the next few days, allowing my pastor-friends who read MTC to be as battered as I am. No need to thank me.

Used copies can be obtained here or on ebay here (if you act fast).

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