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Missions 101

Posts By: Rusty Osborne

If You Love It, They Will Too

Apr. 19, 2012By: Rusty OsborneAuthor Bio

As anyone with kids can tell you, children imitate more than obey (or at least mine do). On the one hand it is incredibly frustrating to see them ignore simple commands, while at the same time it is hard not to smile when I see my two-year old son mimicking my hand motions. My children know what I love, and most of the time they love it too! And they delight in loving what their father loves. As a parent this level of accountability can lead to a real gut check, but I believe the same introspection and seriousness is needed for those who teach the Bible.

Whenever we stand up to preach, gather the kids for family worship, or lead a workshop in a palm-leaf cabana (go on the Kenya trip!), we not only disseminate valuable information from the Bible, we exemplify a love for God’s Word (cf. 1 Pet 5:3). For all of us in the seminary community, it is important to remember our knowledge about the Bible can never be sufficient enough to overcome a lack of love for the Bible. I have found in my own life it is far easier to acquire facts about the first-century church than it is to cultivate a regular passion for its Scriptures. And the scary part is facts make for easier lesson plans and Powerpoint presentations! If we do not cherish the Scriptures in our lives, but go to others to teach it like we do, we run the incredible risk of duplicating such hypocrisy on a global level—an idea that gives me great pause and concern.

The only solution to such a deplorable outcome is for Bible teachers (and parents) to love the Bible they teach, and that does not start when you arrive at your teaching location. By then it’s too late, you’re a fraud. Instead, we must cherish the Gospel-centered Scriptures today, and tomorrow, and the next day, and should God in his grace allow us the opportunity to open the Bible to others, then with sincerity and fervor we teach that Word which has sustained us up until that moment.

Rusty Osborne serves as Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri and is pursuing his Ph. D. from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He formerly taught at Cameroon Baptist Theological Seminary and has served in Kenya with TLI.

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An Interview with Dr. Martin Pohlmann

Jun. 21, 2011By: Rusty OsborneAuthor Bio

Here is an interview I did with Dr. Martin Pohlmann, president of the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa. He answers two questions about what American pastors and PhD's need to know about theological education in Southern Africa. 

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Reaching and Teaching—A Book I’ve been Waiting For

Apr. 8, 2011By: Rusty OsborneAuthor Bio

reaching_and_teaching.jpgOver two years ago I read a paper by David Sills entitled “Teaching Them: The Great Omission of the Great Omission,” and things changed for me. Dr. Sills’ paper did not present a radical new missions strategy but called evangelical missions back to the Bible. The issue he addressed was not one of heresy, but overemphasis. In the well-intentioned rush to reach all the nations with the gospel, un-discipled and anemic churches were left to fend for themselves. His desire was not to slow down gospel movement around the globe, but neither was it to neglect existing churches in need of help. The result for my life was a clarified call to move my family to Cameroon to teach and disciple future African pastors. 

This paper has grown into the recent book Reaching and Teaching: A Call To Great Commission Obedience. I have been waiting for a book to say what this book says for a while. Sills writes: “The Great Commission is not just about evangelism or church planting. Jesus said to make disciples of all the ethnic groups of the world and to do that by teaching them to observe all that He commanded us” (p. 13, italic original). Certainly, the Great Commission includes evangelism, church planting, and frontier missions to the unreached. In fact, one might say these three applications are at the forefront of Great Commission obedience. However, just as the apostle Paul circled back to encourage and train the churches he had already planted, we must not neglect teaching and training future leaders of indigenous churches. If you are a pastor, Bible teacher, or seminary student, read Sills’ book. You will see the problem of the global leadership gap facing the church and be forced to wrestle with finding your place in addressing it.

Rusty Osborne is a PhD student at Mid-America Seminary.  Before that he taught at Cameroon Baptist Theological Seminary.

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