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Go Therefore
Townhall.com ^ | March 21, 2014 | Erick Erickson

Posted on 03/21/2014 4:38:56 AM PDT by Kaslin

As the Northern Hemisphere begins its slow tilt toward the sun, American Protestants will start giving their churches money to send their children away. These spring break and summer excursions will most often be to tropical places or a few remaining snowy places for skiing.

The teenagers can work on their tans on the beach in Central America while sharing the gospel and hammering nails. Somewhere, however, in their own hometown, there are people or families starving, unable to read, struggling to make ends meet or who just need to hear the encouraging words of their Savior.

Christ gave the Great Commission in Matthew: 28, in which he instructed his disciples to "go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." In the last 100 years in the United States, many evangelical churches have grown in wealth and membership, and felt such a need to keep kids entertained, that the churches have turned mission trips into spring break and summer extravaganzas.

Trading backyard and hometown missions for islands of sand and sun, many churches have just assumed charities and the government can take care of the locals -- or maybe the Catholics and the liberal social justice Protestants. The Catholics cannot do it all and the liberal social justice Protestants may feed a body, but will not nourish a soul.

Evangelicals are failing at the great commission in the United States. Many of them consist of traditionalists with conservative political leanings who wish the government would shrink. But it is their churches whose roles have shrunk. The government is more likely to take care of a homeless person or a poor family than a church. But the government cannot feed their souls, nor should it. No Republican wants Barack Obama's government teaching a person morality any more than a Democrat wants George W. Bush's government doing the same.

This is a vital mission for American churches that they have largely abandoned on the domestic front outside their own congregations. Back in the seventies, the Catholic Church in the United States remained focused on life. After Roe v. Wade, many American Protestants decided abortion was not a moral issue, but a medical one. Catholic leaders, from the pulpits rarely visited by Protestants, insisted on moral clarity in the fight wooing their Protestant brothers to their side. Now it is taken for granted that both Catholic and Protestant Churches tend to be pro-life.

In the same way, the Catholic Church has been feeding the souls and minds of America's youth through Catholic education programs. After Hurricane Katrina blew through New Orleans in 2005, if not for the Catholic Church, many children in South Louisiana would have been without schooling. But Catholics cannot do it all themselves. There are plenty of private Christian schools in the United States set up by Protestants. But many, if not most, of them were created for Christians to escape government-run secular schools.

Christians should not seek their escape, but should seek to draw others to them -- even drawing the poor to their Christian schools. A growing number of Christians have withdrawn their families from American society and culture. It is understandable, but regrettable. Through their schools and missions, Christians should be drawing their communities to them and Christ.

In the coming weeks, Christian teenagers will be headed to Haiti, Mexico and possibly rural Appalachia to share the gospel, ski or swim and maybe work on a pickup line or tan line.

In doing so, they will drive by a poor person, a homeless person, a family's home in need of repair or a family itself collapsing. Their response should not be that our government will take care of the situation. The church should take care of its community.

Christ commanded Christians to go forth. There is a mission field in our own back yards just waiting for us to show up.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: church; religion

1 posted on 03/21/2014 4:38:56 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin; metmom; boatbums; caww; presently no screen name; redleghunter; CynicalBear; mitch5501; ...
The Catholics cannot do it all and the liberal social justice Protestants may feed a body, but will not nourish a soul.

The two are closer than separate as regards their member overall liberal. And while we evangelicals continues our own decline overall, it remains the most conservative religious bloc, and outside cults, the more evangelistic.

By denomination, 61% of the those associated with an Assemblies of God church said they had shared their faith at least once during the past year, as did 61% of those who attend a Pentecostal/Foursquare church, and ending 14% among Episcopalians and just 10% among Roman Catholics. http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/5-barna-update/54

52% of Evangelical Christians have had a meaningful discussion about their faith with a non-Christian during the past month. 28% of other Protestants and 18% of Catholics also have held such a discussion. ^


2 posted on 03/21/2014 4:56:32 AM PDT by daniel1212 (Come to the Lord Jesus as a contrite damned+destitute sinner, trust Him to save you, then live 4 Him)
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To: Kaslin

More: http://www.peacebyjesus.com/RC-Stats_vs._Evang.html


3 posted on 03/21/2014 4:57:10 AM PDT by daniel1212 (Come to the Lord Jesus as a contrite damned+destitute sinner, trust Him to save you, then live 4 Him)
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To: Kaslin

Sounds like an indictment, a trial and a verdict that declares everyone guilty.

All that’s missing is the sentence.

IMHO


4 posted on 03/21/2014 5:00:49 AM PDT by ripley
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To: Kaslin

....Yet still there are those who are Protestants that still come this upcoming Easter Sunday Eve will be fully received into the Church.


5 posted on 03/21/2014 5:05:02 AM PDT by Biggirl (“Go, do not be afraid, and serve”-Pope Francis)
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To: Kaslin

A stinging indictment against the “prosperity gospel.”


6 posted on 03/21/2014 5:08:59 AM PDT by Biggirl (“Go, do not be afraid, and serve”-Pope Francis)
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To: Kaslin

“There are plenty of private Christian schools in the United States set up by Protestants. But many, if not most, of them were created for Christians to escape government-run secular schools.”

The Christian school my children attended is like the public school I attended, and that my parents attended. It honors God first, then country and founding fathers and attempts to teach children basic learning and skills. That is a much better model than run away government schools that allow ‘anything goes’. Thank God for those who stood firm 40 and 50 years ago for God first. The Romeike family of Germany is an example of love for God and their children. They are accused by Germany of promoting a ‘parallel society’. How are 8,10,and 12 year old children going to stand against the worldly onslaught by curriculums, administrators, and teachers when studies show that many Christian adults 18-22 lose their faith in their college years. It is love for children and their developing faith that propels Christian schools.

I do agree though, some of the ‘mission trips’ are less than evangelical.


7 posted on 03/21/2014 5:19:24 AM PDT by taterjay
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To: ripley
Sounds like an indictment, a trial and a verdict that declares everyone guilty. All that’s missing is the sentence.

It is.

While I do take exception to some of these *missions trips* that people fund raise for, there are some that I know that DO go to places like Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.

And these people are not engaged in tanning, but building Schools, churches, health clinics, in out lying areas that are beyond destitute.

There's not a poor person in this country who doesn't have access to all kinds of government sponsored social services, free food, free healthcare, free education, free cell phones, free transportation to said services, etc....

What is *poor* in this country, is wealth beyond the means of most of the world.

The article is starting with the false premise that these people who do short term missions trips are in it just for the vacation.

It's a dishonest portrayal and a slap in the face of those who go there and work hard to help others.

8 posted on 03/21/2014 5:20:58 AM PDT by metmom (...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith....)
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To: ripley

Agreed.


9 posted on 03/21/2014 5:21:02 AM PDT by taterjay
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To: Biggirl
....Yet still there are those who are Protestants that still come this upcoming Easter Sunday Eve will be fully received into the Church.

First off, your sentence doesn't even make sense....

Easter Sunday Eve?

And then.... Your point is what exactly?

10 posted on 03/21/2014 5:22:38 AM PDT by metmom (...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith....)
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To: metmom; Ellendra

Well stated. Thank you. I go with a team almost every year to the Dominican Republic. My daughter has been to Guatemala and Mexico when she was a teen. In addition to what you’ve listed, some teams take down needed items in their luggage - where it is not subject to exorbitant tariffs. Her first team took down 35 pieces of luggage filled with common medical supplies - aspirin, cold medicine, as well as supplies for diabetics. After they returned, the team had a “debriefing”, which my husband and I attended. To a person, every one of them had a new perspective on their own lives. For some of them, it had a lasting impact.


11 posted on 03/21/2014 5:42:35 AM PDT by knittnmom (Save the earth! It's the only planet with chocolate!)
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To: Kaslin

Wow! What a blatant, self aggrandizing attempt discredit what anyone other than the Catholic Church does. The only sentence in that piece that is missing is Pharisaical “thank God we are not like them”


12 posted on 03/21/2014 6:15:10 AM PDT by CynicalBear (For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ)
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To: knittnmom

I went to Colombia once myself to visit some friends.

It wasn’t a missions trip and I paid for it myself, but I also took down lots of stuff to give away.

There is NOTHING like living in a country like that for a couple weeks to really change your perspective and make you truly appreciate what we have here.

Those people going on the short term missions trips are not spending the time on the beaches.


13 posted on 03/21/2014 6:24:20 AM PDT by metmom (...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith....)
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To: CynicalBear
Wow! What a blatant, self aggrandizing attempt discredit what anyone other than the Catholic Church does. The only sentence in that piece that is missing is Pharisaical “thank God we are not like them”

And look at all the nuns and priests living in convents and rectories in those countries on the churches dime while *ministering* to those who live there.

How is that any different from what is being condemned in the article?

14 posted on 03/21/2014 6:25:52 AM PDT by metmom (...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith....)
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To: metmom

The night before Easter, better known as Holy Saturday in the Church.


15 posted on 03/21/2014 6:35:38 AM PDT by Biggirl (“Go, do not be afraid, and serve”-Pope Francis)
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To: Biggirl

that part I figured out.

What’s the issue with Prots who come to church then?


16 posted on 03/21/2014 6:59:08 AM PDT by metmom (...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith....)
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To: metmom
Trading backyard and hometown missions for islands of sand and sun, many churches have just assumed charities and the government can take care of the locals --

I think this is the point of the editorial that you seem to be missing. It's not saying Evangelicals aren't doing missionary work "per se", rather that there is a need for missionary work still here in the US, while many Evangelicals are sending their kids and young adults off to foreign countries.

There's not a poor person in this country who doesn't have access to all kinds of government sponsored social services, free food, free healthcare, free education, free cell phones, free transportation to said services, etc....

By your own words you're demonstrating the claim of the editorial true. You're just surrendering all the people here, in the US, to government "help" (ie control). Just as the editorial said, you apparently think the government can, or should, not only meet the physical needs of the "poor" but their spiritual needs.

This isn't a comfortable article to read but I think it's an important one. Recently I discovered in myself a desire to do some kind of charitable (or as you might call it "missionary") work. I went to my friends with the proposal that we start doing something, maybe visiting a nursing home or helping out at a soup kitchen. But my friends told me of a more pressing need, not more urgent because of its severity but more urgent because it was more local. It turns out that a friend I had lost touch with has a need for charity. For Christ really.

The point is as Christians, really as imperfect human beings we tend to compartmentalize all aspects of our lives even our Faith. So we like to even think of evangelization or mission as something we do on weekends, with strangers at another location.

This is, I believe exactly what the editorial is criticizing. This notion that we can compartmentalize the great commission like we do other things in our life like mowing the lawn or cleaning out the garage. Also, this tendancy (that I too like everyone has) to, when we do want to do charitable work, we seek such opportunity elsewhere, by going to different places either across town or across the globe, instead of reaching out to say our neighbor, or even our friends. It's more comfortable ultimately to do missionary work that way because when our "shift" is over we can go back home and maybe say a prayer for the ones we "helped". But we eventually forget them.

This isn't true charitable work, I'd say. We do charitable work ultimately to encounter Christ either in the situation or in the people we help. But we can't do that if we compartmentalize it. Put it in a box only to be done on weekends or when we have free time, and then check it off the list when done. True charity is meeting people in their lives and being a part of it, this is really tough but it's what Christ calls us to do. To be truly human. To encounter Him.

17 posted on 03/21/2014 7:14:05 AM PDT by FourtySeven (47)
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To: taterjay

Just one more step toward completely discrediting Christianity.

(One suspiciously never hears any condemnation of atheism, ever, yet atheists have have associated with mass murder in every part of the world.)

IMHO


18 posted on 03/21/2014 7:20:12 AM PDT by ripley
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To: metmom

“It’s a dishonest portrayal and a slap in the face of those who go there and work hard to help others.”

Seems that the Christian-haters go to great lengths to smear the reputation of Christianity and its adherents.

(Not a peep, ever, about the shenanigans of atheists and their propensity to murder lots of people.”)

IMHO


19 posted on 03/21/2014 7:24:15 AM PDT by ripley
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To: FourtySeven

Agreed this is uncomfortable, but it’s especially uncomfortable for those of us who believe in small government. The government has gradually assumed more and more of the church’s charitable work (along with a boatload of depravity thrown in) that it has no constitutional authority to do. If and when we DO achieve the smaller government envisioned by the Founders, we’ll have to dramatically step up charitable works.

But the way things stand now, the government is robbing all of us for these charitable works (and depraved works) making it difficult in the Obama economy to do much more.


20 posted on 03/21/2014 8:49:10 AM PDT by afsnco
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To: ripley

I agree.


21 posted on 03/21/2014 9:02:44 AM PDT by metmom (...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith....)
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To: Biggirl
the liberal social justice

And those protestants will fit right into the Catholic church.

22 posted on 03/21/2014 9:16:46 AM PDT by xone
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To: Kaslin

** “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”**

BTTT — Straight from the Bible for all of us.


23 posted on 03/21/2014 9:18:55 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: metmom

Easter Vigil.

You have heard of it, haven’t you?


24 posted on 03/21/2014 9:20:52 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: metmom

The swim the Tiber — they are baptized, receive their First Communion and are confirmed that evening.

It’s a wonderful Mass to attend. I invite you to attend the one closest to you out there in the east.


25 posted on 03/21/2014 9:23:20 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Oops,

They swim the Tiber


26 posted on 03/21/2014 9:25:01 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Yeah, I’ve heard of Easter Vigil.

Never heard of it called Easter Sunday Eve.


27 posted on 03/21/2014 10:31:57 AM PDT by metmom (...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith....)
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To: metmom
>>How is that any different from what is being condemned in the article?<<

It’s very different really. As an example my daughter works two full time jobs so that once a year she can spend a couple of weeks somewhere helping to build houses or do some sort of missionary work. She works those jobs to make sure that all the bills are paid and has to pay for vaccinations, prepare for the trip, buy supplies for the trip etc. Right now she is in Haiti for two weeks. They will be building homes, giving out cloths, teaching etc. She is the type of person the writer of the article would accuse of “getting her tan on the beach”.

Now on the other hand we have those the writer applauds for all the good they do. Those “nuns and priests” you mentioned don’t ever have to worry about the rent, insurance, food, clothes, health costs, transportation, or all the other costs that folks like my daughter do. They have all of their life’s expenses taken care of with not a thought of “will all the bills be paid” before I leave for a couple of weeks. Those “nuns and priests” have probably never had to struggle to “make ends meet” or eaten macaroni and cheese till the next pay check or just to save money so they can make the missionary trip. They have lived off of others work and sweat all their lives with little care for how the bills get paid.

So you see, there really is a big difference between the two groups.

28 posted on 03/21/2014 2:03:29 PM PDT by CynicalBear (For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ)
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To: Kaslin

That might be the broadest brush with which Erick Erickson has ever painted.

I’d love to hear Mr. Erickson’s testimony before he mouths off about evangelicals, either individually or as a group.


29 posted on 03/21/2014 2:07:29 PM PDT by Colonel_Flagg (Some people meet their heroes. I raised mine. Go Army.)
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To: Salvation; metmom
>>It’s a wonderful Mass to attend. I invite you to attend the one closest to you out there in the east.<<

Proselytizing again!! Hmmmmm.

30 posted on 03/21/2014 2:12:32 PM PDT by CynicalBear (For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ)
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To: Kaslin
There is a mission field in our own back yards just waiting for us to show up.

So true.

And Gov't intervention has screwed even THAT up!

31 posted on 03/21/2014 3:02:30 PM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: Biggirl
....Yet still there are those who are Protestants that still come this upcoming Easter Sunday Eve will be fully received into the Church.

Surely you are not comparing them to the C&E catholics; are you?

32 posted on 03/21/2014 3:03:35 PM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: All

Only an invitation.


33 posted on 03/21/2014 6:31:06 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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