From Missions Mandate:
Extended quotation from Michael Horton’s book Christless Christianity*.
“Where the gospel is not taken for granted, it is often a means to an end, like personal or social transformation, love and service to our neighbors, and other things that in themselves are marvelous effects of the gospel. However, the Good News concerning Christ is not a stepping-stone to something greater and more relevant. Whether we realize it or not, there is nothing in the universe more relevant to us as guilty image-bearers of God than the news that he has found a way to be ‘just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus’ (Rom. 3:26). It is ‘the power of God for salvation’ (Rom. 1:16), not only for the beginning, but for the middle and end as well – the only thing that creates the kind of new world to which our new obedience corresponds as a reasonable response.”
This is a great reminder to not take the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, for granted. Churches must guard themselves from this deadly omission. A passionate zeal for missions can, without proper guidance, lead to a pragmatic mindset. What guards us from developing an anthropocentric (man-centered) view of missions is the very thing that gives us spiritual life – the gospel of Jesus Christ. As Horton so aptly states, the gospel is the “‘power of God for salvation’, not only for the beginning, but for the middle and end as well…” The gospel is the source, the sustaining element, and the eventual glorifying element of our salvation, for “from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever (Rom 11:36).
*Michael Horton, Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2008), 22.