According to George W. Peters’ A Biblical Theology of Missions, the apostle Paul gave eight logical reasons for world-wide missionary work:
- The whole universe is the creation of God. It is manifesting God, is under His sovereign rule, and is therefore responsible to Him (Ro 1:18 ff).
- The whole human race is an organismic unit created in Adam. The organic unity of the entire human race is never questioned in the Bible Paul firmly holds to it (Ro 5:12-21).
- The whole human race fell in Adam and became sinful because of this (Ro 5:12-21).
- The whole human race followed a course of sin and therefore became guilty before God (Ro 1:18-21).
- The whole human race was represented in Christ, and in Him salvation was provided for all mankind not only by substitution but by identification and representation (Ro 5:12-21).
- God has provided only one way of salvation – the way of justification by faith in Jesus Christ. This holds true for the Jew as well as for the Gentile (Ro 3:21- 5:21).
- God’s way of salvation is not discovered by man. It comes to him by revelation, and it must be preached to him from the revealed Word of God. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Ro 10:8-17; cf. 16:25-26).
- Paul knew himself called of God and separated unto the gospel of God to bring men and nations to obedience of faith. This was his apostleship; for this he labored, always pressing onward. For this he suffered, and in this he gloried (Ro 1:1, 5, 14; 11:13, 25; 15:15-16, 18-23; 16:25-27).
Though I wouldn’t state that “salvation was provided for all mankind” in the same way that Peters does (I’m Reformed, after all!), I think this is a decent attempt at providing a biblical theology on missions from Paul’s Romans. Peters’ work was the first example of biblical theology that I’d ever read… how fitting that it was on missions.
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.