Without a Vision the People Perish

28 May 2024

Don Carson ascribed to his father, a Canadian minister, an idiom widely used in Bible college classrooms even today: A text without a context is a pretext for a proof text. Pithy. Punchy. Precise. It’s imperative to set the scene when communicating the Word of God. Where does a particular verse sit within the context of the chapter? And where does the chapter sit within the context of its surrounding chapters, and within the book of the Bible in which it is written, and, indeed, within the entire biblical narrative?

“Judas went out and hanged himself” is drawn from Scripture. So is “go and do likewise” and “what you have to do, do quickly.” But you can’t string those verses together! That would be disastrous! Each verse has its own context! Here’s a classic from the book of Proverbs:Without a vision, the people perish… (29:18). People use this verse to justify all sorts of ideas and plans, some of which leave you scratching your head in confusion. But when you see this text in its contexts, everything becomes clear…

Without a vision, the people perish, but he who keeps the Law is happy.

The verse in its fulness emphasises the extraordinary value of God’s Word. The Law of the Lord is good, and our vision for ministry is to be drawn from Scripture, leading to fulfilment and contentment. Pioneers is unequivocally committed to gospel ministry, disciple-making, and church planting among peoples of the world who are yet to grapple with the claims of Christ. Our vision is drawn from the Word of God. God is God. Humankind is sinful. God is seeking to redeem to Himself all those who will come to Him. God loves lost people. The Lord Jesus is the only One through whom a person can be saved.  Our message is a biblical one that leads to eternal life as the gospel is shared, understood and received.

If God has spoken, the most important thing we can do is to listen to what He has said.

The Word of God is not ambiguous about the role of God’s people in the world. God has spoken. Those of us who know Christ live to make Him known. Are we listening? On the back of our celebration of 25 years as Pioneers Australia – and decades of mission work that preceded that milestone – we are looking ahead to greater impact to the glory of God. What will the next 25 years look like if God allows us to continue to serve? What if we can partner with other organisations and churches across the world to double the number of people groups we serve over, say, the next decade?

Our vision to link more unreached peoples with the message of Jesus is unchanged.⁠ We are passionate to find novel ways to win people to Him, to point people heavenward, the share unparalleled good news, to spread the love of God in many languages. God has spoken. We are listening. The gospel is key. This is our vision.

Simon Longden | National Director

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