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The Crisis of Missions: An Exclusive Interview With Documentary Filmmaker

by | Mar 25, 2019

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If you haven’t already heard, there is a new documentary film on the horizon that details, as the filmmaker, Dave Griffin puts it, the crisis of missions. Griffin says that when we survey the state of evangelical churches in the west and global missions as a whole it has become clear that things are not well.

There has never been another time in history with more missionaries, evangelistic activity, conferences, campaigns & programs, yet there is an undeniable awareness of the lack of power in our day. Behind the facade of glowing statistics, growing mega-churches and the plethora of new missionary programs there is little actually being done to reach the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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The command to go into all the world and preach the gospel has in many cases been redefined, or abandoned for pragmatic approaches, social causes, and humanitarian work. The biblically prescribed means of reaching the lost is no longer palatable to the modern church member. New methods and strategies have been developed in place of the old “outdated” methods of scripture. But how did it get to this point? What has gone wrong? This film will seek to uncover the heart of this crisis and to offer the solution.

Reformation Charlotte reached out to Dave Griffin for an exclusive interview. You can see his responses below.

Reformation Charlotte: What is the documentary about?

Griffin: “The Crisis of Missions” is a film about the Great Commission. It’s a film about how evangelicalism in the west has abandoned or redefined the Great Commission. I believe Walter Chantry summed up the crisis best in his little book entitled “Today’s Gospel”. Regarding modern evangelism and missions, he said, “Evangelicals cherish their reformation heritage. We stand in the line of Luther and others who have broken the back of Papal superstitions. The Bible, God’s Holy Word, is our guide in all things. We bow to no human authority. Such a claim flows from a right spirit of supreme allegiance to God. Yet the cry ‘Sola Scriptura’ is more often an indication of good intention than it is fact.

The evangelical wing of the Protestant church is saturated with doctrine and practices which have no Biblical foundation. Many teachings and habits touching the Gospel are as much the products of human invention and tradition as were the indulgences of Tetzel. And certain doctrines in our midst are quite as dangerous. In the central issue of the way of salvation, large segments of Protestantism are engrossed in Neo-traditionalism. We have inherited a stem of evangelistic preaching which is unbiblical.

Our message and manner of preaching the Gospel cannot be traced back to the reformers and their creeds. They are much more recent innovations. Worse, they cannot be traced to the scriptures. They have clearly arisen from superficial exegesis and a careless mixture of twentieth-century reason with God’s revelation. The resulting product is a dangerous conglomerate – just the sort that Satan uses to delude the souls of sinners.”

Reformation Charlotte: What prompted you to make this film?

Griffin: This project was born out of a great desire to see the name of Christ exalted and proclaimed among the nations once again. A great burden to cast off the traditions and philosophies of men which have crept into our churches, rendering many in the west (even with great theology) impotent and man-centered when it comes to evangelistic methodology. A desire to get back to the simple preaching and teaching of God’s word and the Gospel.

Reformation Charlotte: Why is there such a need for this?

Griffin: Every generation is called to not only believe and follow Christ but to defend the Gospel and the scriptures from men who would pervert them. But we are also called to examine ourselves and our own practices in light of scripture lest we also drift into error. Theology and Methodology go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. A gun without bullets is useless, and bullets without a gun to fire them are void of power, and if set off without the proper tool are harmful. Likewise, great theology without biblical methodology leads to impotence (salt without flavor), and great methodology without proper theology is void of the power to save and is harmful.

Reformation Charlotte: Why do you think the church has become so complacent in evangelism?

Griffin: When speaking of the Church I want to be careful as not to speak against Christ’s Bride. But in general, evangelicals in the west have become complacent in the Great Commission for a number of reasons. Many just simply do not know the Gospel. Others have tried to repackage the Gospel in a less offensive way out of a fear of man. Others are living lives of hidden sin, and being overcome with guilt they water down the gospel to remove its offense. Others are more interested in gaining a secure paycheck from their congregation and are unwilling to rock the boat so to speak. I’m sure there are other reasons but these tend to be the most common.

Reformation Charlotte: Why do you think the church has redefined biblical evangelism to these various social things we see today?

Griffin: Luther wrote about a theology of the cross vs a theology of glory. The way of the cross (truly following Christ) leads to self-denial, humiliation, and suffering, while the way of (self) glory leads to the applause and accolades of men. The broad road is always more appealing and comfortable to the flesh than the narrow road.

Reformation Charlotte: What are you hoping this documentary will accomplish?

Griffin: The purpose of this documentary is to challenge, encourage, and equip sincere Christians to return back to the simplicity of the Great Commission, and to cast off the human inventions and unbiblical methods that have sidetracked the church.

We at Reformation Charlotte support the efforts of Dave Griffin at Truth and Grace, Jeremiah Cry, and the others associated with the making of this film. We believe that this documentary will be edifying and beneficial to the Church as a whole, and to individuals questioning the various unbiblical methods of evangelism that so plague the Church. If you would like to support this documentary, you can visit their website here. Below is a trailer of the upcoming documentary that we invite you to watch.

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