I’m thankful for the way the PCA began. We committed ourselves to be “True to the Scriptures, the Reformed Faith, and obedient to the Great Commission.” Our denomination has sent missionaries around the world and engaged itself in establishing local indigenous churches to the glory of our Savior. May we continue to hear the call of the lost, the call from the ends of the earth, the call for the Word to be preached, and the call for churches to be established. The need is great and our Lord is greater still. Let’s pray and endeavor to commit ourselves and our churches to this missionary call and continue to build upon the legacy of Reformed mission for the glory of God and the salvation of our fellow-man.
A Long Legacy
I am thankful for the long tradition of mission in Reformed churches. We could journey back to Calvin’s Geneva, which was a birthplace for missionary activity. Calvin himself set the tone for future Reformed churches, no matter their infancy, to embrace foreign mission endeavors. Commenting upon Micah 4:3, Calvin stated, “The Kingdom of Christ was only begun in the world, when God commanded the gospel to be everywhere proclaimed, and…at this day its course is not as yet completed.” He blamed ministers of the gospel for the truth not going as far as it should: “Nothing retards so much the progress of Christ’s kingdom as the paucity of ministers.” However, he made it clear in his commentary upon Hebrews 10:25 that all have the calling to reach the lost with the truth of Christ, when he says that Paul,
…intimates that all the godly ought by all means possible to exert themselves in the work of gathering together the Church on every side; for we are called by the Lord on this condition, that everyone should afterwards strive to lead others to the truth, to restore the wandering to the right way, to extend a helping hand to the fallen, to win over those that are without.
In fact, Calvin taught that establishing Christ’s kingly reign on earth “ought not only to occupy the chief place among our cares, but even absorb all our thoughts.”
We could look at the emphasis Calvin and the church in Geneva placed upon publishing to send out the Word or its mission to Brazil. We could consider the Acadmie de Geneva, which trained nearly 1,500 students for ministry and public administration influencing all of Europe. In part, Calvin’s education of young people, especially young men for the ministry, was with an eye to encourage them to return to their homelands with the gospel. As Stanford Reid states, “In this way he sought to make Geneva a veritable missionary centre to spread the Reformation and its teachings throughout Europe and beyond.” Scott Manetsch echoes this truth when he writes, “Students were often in residence for only several months or a year, acquiring basic instruction in reformed theology and scriptural exegesis, before returning to their home countries to undertake gospel labors.”