The doctrIne of heII as a motIve for mIssIon: Is thIs more
bIbIIcaIIy sound and hIstorIcaIIy attested to than the motIve
of the gIory of Cod and the motIve of obedIence!
1he impetus íor this chapter came írom question asked bv an OMl regional council member. \hen iníormed oí mv ía·ouring
the doctrine oí annihilationism rather than the doctrine oí eternal conscious torment in hell. thev asked me how this aííected mv
moti·ation íor mission. A common ·iew is that ií one does not belie·e in the traditional doctrine oí hell. then one's missionarv
moti·ation PXVW be ad·erselv aííected. John Piper savs that a negati·e answer to the question oí eternal conscious torment
would seem to cut a ner·e oí urgencv in the missionarv cause
I replied that I was moti·ated bv the doctrine oí annihilationism because it still meant eternal separation írom God and that
there were other moti·ations íor mission. 1he question did make me wonder what moti·ations íor mission people had whether
some were more ·alid than others. 1his is important because
an inadequate íoundation íor mission and ambiguous missionarv moti·es and aims are bound to lead to an unsatis-
íactorv missionarv practice.
Da·id Bosch distinguishes between the impure moti·es oí political. cultural and ecclesiastical imperialism and romantic desire
to ·isit íoreign shores. and the more theologicallv robust. but potentiallv ílawed. moti·es oí con·ersion oí lost souls. hastening the
return oí (hrist. planting churches and impro·ing li·ing standards.
Bosch's list is not exhausti·e. and he seems to be coníusing
aims with moti·es. but it reminds us that our moti·ations are not onlv complex but also ine·itablv tainted.
Gi·en the space constraints. choices must be made about what moti·es I would in·estigate. lrom the íour more theological
aims Bosch identiíied. I chose the one that is closest to mv own. the con·ersion oí lost souls. I am aware that I am selecting a narrow
deíinition oí mission. and that the scope oí mission is wider than this. I am also aware that mv choice oí moti·es to in·estigate
sa·ing people írom hell. the glorv oí God and obedience to (hrist's command, is not comprehensi·e: I ha·e considered including
a íourth. that oí lo·e. but in a sense. the moti·e oí the lo·e oí God both írom and íor, is WKH moti·e. which is PDQLIHVWHG in ·arious
wavs: lo·e íor our neighbours leads us to want to sa·e them írom punishment in hell. in whate·er íorm it mav take: lo·e íor God
gi·es us a concern íor the glorv and honour oí lis name: lo·e íor (hrist gi·es us a desire to ser·e and to íulíil his commands Jn.
14:15,. Gi·en the all embracing reach oí the moti·e oí lo·e. it would be hard to íind a missionarv who was not moti·ated bv it and
so. reluctantlv. I was íorced to omit it írom this studv.
In trving to identiív signiíicant íactors. care must be taken to a·oid being o·erlv reductionist. People are moti·ated bv se·eral
íactors. some more poweríullv than others. and these can change throughout their liíetimes. 1here is also the diííicultv oí whether
a missionarv was genuinelv moti·ated bv something. or whether it is merelv a reílection oí the person describing them and their
theological agenda.
1his paper will look at the biblical soundness and historic attestation oí these moti·es. I ha·e chosen to use as the structural
base oí this paper the historical epochs identiíied bv lans Kung.
although I ha·e modiíied it slightlv. 1hroughout its historv. the
church has struggled to deíine its mission in relation to the world. and the answers reached ha·e not alwavs been the same.
Piper. J. /HWWKH1DWLRQVEH*ODG. 2003: 115
Ibid.. 181
140 ´ Alex Mc(ann
J3.J 1he Old 1estament
Opinions diííer as to the extent to which Israel considered itselí to be a missionarv people.
Arthur Glasser comments on the manv prophets who talk oí the blessing oí God being extended bevond Israel's borders to
co·er the whole earth lab. 2:14: Zeph. 3:8-9: Jer. 16:14-21, but the context is the eschatological Dav oí the Lord in which God
would be the agent and not lis people. Israel.
le adds:
.what particularlv mo·ed God's people was the desire that the whole world recognise that Israel's God alone is
the true God.the Israelites maniíested ·irtuallv no concern o·er the world's spiritual darkness. but were greatlv
concerned íor God's ·indication beíore the nations.
A consideration in the apparent lack oí compassion. which Glasser omits to mention. is the absence oí a de·eloped doctrine
oí liíe aíter death in the Old 1estament.
It is unlikelv thereíore that compassion could ha·e been a moti·e when Israelites were
dealing with people írom other nations. Glasser argues that the Israelites had a cultural mandate írom God to seek the prosperitv
and unitv oí the citv Jer. 29:¯,
e·ident in the ministries oí people such as Joseph and Daniel. lowe·er. more than that. we see a
desire that God be recognised and gloriíied íor who le is because le is greater than anv oí the pagan gods. L·en ií their intention
was not to con·ert. thev were moti·ated bv a concern íor lis honour and glorv to speak out on lis behalí.
(hris \right savs
the call narrati·es.ha·e alwavs pro·ided íertile soil íor (hristian reílection on the challenge oí the missionarv ·oca-
lere the pattern is not oí indi·iduals pushing themsel·es íorward. but oí reluctant obedience to the command and initiati·e oí
God. an e·ent that was oíten o·erwhelming. ií not terriíving Jer. 4-10: Isa. 6:1-13: Lzek. 2:1-3:15,. Oíten the prophet would ha·e
no choice but to speak Jer. 20:9,.
So in the Old 1estament we íind that although there was no mandate to go amongst the nations. and no de·eloped doctrine oí
liíe aíter death. the glorv oí God was a signiíicant moti·e íor speaking about lim. as was the personal command oí God. 1here
were isolated cases oí con·ersion such as Rahab Joshua 2, and Naaman 2 Kg. 5,. e·en brieí instances oí rulers commanding their
subjects to worship the God oí Israel Dan. 6:26-2¯,. but there was no concerted eííort to make con·erts.
J3.2 1he New 1estament Church
J. lerbert Kane savs oí this earlv period:
.there was no organised missionarv endea·our.the Gospel was preached bv lavmen.with no weapon but truth.
no banner but lo·e these single minded. warm hearted íollowers oí Jesus.gladlv shared their new íound íaith with
their íriends. neighbours and strangers.
larold (ook savs.
primiti·e (hristianitv was intenselv missionarv.simplv because witnessing was part oí its ·erv nature and liíe.
Michael Green concludes that
concern íor the state oí the une·angelised was one oí the great dri·ing íorces behind (hristian preaching oí the Gospel
in the earlv (hurch
and looking at the New 1estament there appear numerous ·erses to corroborate this concern.
Bosch comments that
the missionaries witness as people who know that liíe and death depend on their testimonv.much is at stake and the
witnesses cannot possiblv be indiííerent about the destinv oí others.
see Bosch 1991:1¯ íor a negati·e assessment: see \right. (. ``(hristian Mission and the Old 1estament: Matrix or Mismatch'' on ?iiT,ffrrrX
K`ivMKBbbBQMX+KX+XmFfPH/h2biX?iKH íor a more positi·e assessment. I think \right is optimistic about Israel's understanding oí its calling---thev
íocused on the íact oí their election and not the reason behind it.
Glasser. A.l. .vvovvcivg tbe Kivgaov. 2003:151
Ibid.. 151: also \oung. J. )be Motire ava .iv ot Mi..iov Part.]: )be íovvaatiov. cbapter ] )be ba.i. ot vi..iov. 1964:8
Acute. )be ^atvre ot íett. 2000:36-40
Glasser 2003:130
\right. (. ``(hristian Mission and the Old 1estament: Matrix or Mismatch'' |website|
Kane. J.l. . Covci.e íi.tory ot Cbri.tiav !orta Mi..iov. 19¯8:20
(ook. l. íigbtigbt. ot Cbri.tiav Mi..iov. 196¯:15
Green. M. íravgeti.v iv tbe íarty Cbvrcb. 19¯0:302
e.g. Acts 2:40. 20:26-2¯. 26:29: Rom. 1:14-15. 2:8-12. 10:13-15: 1 (or. 9:22-23: Phil. 3:18-19: 2 1im. 2:10: Ja. 5:20: Jude 22.
Bosch 1991:11¯
1he doctrine oí hell as a moti·e íor mission ´ 141
lowe·er. in other instances it seems that the condition oí unbelie·ers is not being used to moti·ate. but to warn belie·ers oí
their potential danger and show that unbelie·ers deser·e their íate.
1he role oí the Great (ommission is debated. Green argues that it was not one oí the main dri·ing íorces.

larrv Boer argues
the Great (ommission. so íar as can be determined írom the New 1estament record. was not a conscious ingredient
in the missionarv thinking oí the earlv (hurch.
Johannes ·an den Berg. on the other hand contends that it was.
as does Max \arren.
1he diííicultv lies in that there is
little explicit reíerence to the command outside oí the Gospels. It has been argued that this was because the earlv church did not
question the missionarv command and. since the New 1estament was written in response to issues that were in question. there was
no need to mention it since it was not in doubt.
Boer counters this bv arguing that the beha·iour oí the disciples in the opening
chapters oí Acts show their ignorance oí the ramiíications oí the commission and it was onlv aíter the con·ersion oí (ornelius in
Acts 10 that thev realised that Gentiles could be sa·ed.
I am not con·inced bv Boer's argument. le contends that Philip's ministrv amongst the Samaritans and his encounter with the
Lthiopian eunuch wouldn't ha·e been an issue. 1he Samaritans were not regarded as Gentiles and the eunuch was a God íearer.
albeit uncircumcised.
But. as íar as the Samaritans were concerned.
some Jews regarded the Samaritans with contempt. considering them íools .and idolaters.. as apostate. whollv
unclean and destined íor Gehenna
and the descriptions oí (ornelius in Acts 10:2. 22 state that he was also a god-íearer oí good standing in the Jewish communitv. no
diííerent írom the Lthiopian eunuch. 1he contro·ersv o·er the e·ents surrounding (ornelius' con·ersion was not that he could
be con·erted. as Boer argues. but that Peter went into the house oí a Gentile and ate with him. In addition Boer himselí argues
that the Great (ommission became ``íunctionallv acti·e'' in the (hurch aíter Pentecost and its íulíillment is the central task oí the
church empowered bv the lolv Spirit.
As íor the slothíulness oí the disciples in obeving (hrist's command. Glasser suggests
that God wanted the earlv church to make the most oí the short period oí openness oí the Jews.
I think that Jesus was instilling in his íollowers an expectation that thev would be `sent' into the world throughout their training.

1he meaning oí the word `apostle' is `the one who is sent' and the inclusion oí the Great (ommission in all íour Gospels
that it was oí importance to the Gospel writers. In the conírontations between the disciples and the authorities the disciples
declare thev need to obev God. not human beings.
One oí the most striking aspects oí Paul's letters is his constant identiíication
oí himselí as the one called to be the `apostle to the Gentiles'. I would argue that although Paul does not make explicit reíerence
to the commission recorded in the Gospels. he saw the commission to go the Gentiles that moti·ated him as part oí the greater
commission recorded in the Gospels.
1he glorv and honour oí Jesus was another signiíicant moti·e in the earlv church. Piper highlights se·eral New 1estament
passages including Rom1:5 in which Paul savs he stri·es to bring about íaith tor tbe .a/e ot bi. i.e. Jesus', vave: 3 Jn. 1:¯ in which the
reader is told to welcome ·isiting brothers because thev ha·e gone out tor tbe .a/e ot bi. vave. and Mt. 19:2¯ where Jesus takes íor
granted that people will lea·e home íor his name's sake. At times this can take the íorm oí declaring Jesus innocent oí the charges
that resulted in his death Acts 3:11-26, and at others that the gospel recei·e due honour 2 1hess. 3:1: Phil. 1:20,. lowe·er. Piper
goes too íar when he states that
the moti·e oí mercv and the moti·e oí God's glorv are not two diííerent moti·es. because the glorv we wanted to see
exalted among the nations is supremelv the glorv oí God's mercv
e.g. 2 1hess. 1:8-10. 2:10: Mt. 22. Lk. 13:22-29. 14:15-23. 16:19-31.

Green 19¯0:290-291
Boer. l.R. Pevteco.t ava Mi..iov.. 1961:15
·an den Berg. J. ``Moti·es. Missionarv'' in Covci.e Dictiovary ot Cbri.tiav !orta Mi..iov. 19¯0:425
\arren. M. í betiere iv tbe Creat Covvi..iov.19¯6:28
\arneck. quoted in Boer 1961:29-30
Boer 1961:32-42
Ibid.. 30-31
\illiamson. l.G.M. & L·ans. (.A. ``Samaritans'' in Dictiovary ot ^er )e.tavevt ßac/grovva. 2000 í..evtiat í1P Reterevce Cottectiov. 2000, |(D-ROM|
Boer 1961:146-14¯
Glasser 2003:292

e.g. Mt. 4:19. 9:35-38. 10:1. 24:14: Mk. 1:1¯. 6:¯-12. 13:9-11. 14:9: Lk. 9:1-6. 10:1-16. 12:8-12: Jn. 4:35. 15:2¯.
Glasser 2003:232, argues that the suspicions o·er the longer ending oí Mark's Gospel are not because it contains a Great (ommission. but because oí the
statement that signs and miracles will be normati·e in mission.
e.g. Acts 4:19. 5:29
Piper 2003: 34
142 ´ Alex Mc(ann
God's merciíul acts are an outworking oí lis character and although le is gloriíied íor what le does. God should primarilv
be gloriíied íor who le is. God would still be worthv oí glorv e·en ií le had not redeemed us.
Bosch savs that although Paul wanted to bring people to sal·ation. his ultimate objecti·e aim was
preparing the wav íor God's coming glorv and íor the dav when all the uni·erse would praise lim
and it is likelv that Paul expected that e·ent in his liíetime 1 1hess. 1:9-10. 4:15,. 1here was a sense oí urgencv in the mission
oí the earlv church because oí the earlv expectation oí (hrist's return
but space does not permit examination oí the impact oí
eschatologv on mission moti·ation.
In the New 1estament we can see a ·arietv oí moti·es in the liíe oí the earlv church. no doubt gi·en added power bv the
evewitness accounts oí those still li·ing who had met Jesus. It is diííicult to determine whether anv was dominant and expectation
oí the parousia aííected e·ervthing. and no doubt there were other. less noble moti·es not mentioned Phil. 1:15-18,.
la·ing examined the biblical roots oí missionarv moti·ation. it is time to examine how these changed o·er time.
J3.3 1he Patristic era
Jean (ombv notes that as the expectation oí the parousia íaded in the second centurv. the pattern was more one oí ordinarv
(hristians witnessing where thev were. although Bosch argues that itinerant ministrv still had an important place.
was íocused within the Lmpire and there was little concern íor the con·ersion oí the pagans who were on the outside.
As the persecution eased. the primarv concern was no longer sur·i·al. but ha·ing correct doctrine. Bosch discusses how Greek
philosophv and its íocus on abstract knowledge impacted on the church so that its message shiíted írom the imminence oí God's
reign to proclaiming itselí as the one true religion.
1he church began to see itselí as the true bearer oí culture and ci·ilization.
and so superior to the oííensi·e. pagan religions surrounding it.
(vprian oí (arthage made the statement H[WUDHFFOHVLDPQXOODVDOXV.
``there is no sal·ation outside the church.''

Onlv through the ministrations oí the sacraments through the church were people
sa·ed. As the church became entwined with the state. concern íor the glorv oí God was subsumed into the glorv oí lis church
and correct (hristian doctrine.
(ombv attributes the absence oí `íoreign' missions to the belieí that the Gospel had alreadv been proclaimed throughout the
world bv the apostles: Justin Martvr said that twel·e men. sent out írom Jerusalem had co·ered the whole world: Lusebius stated
that the world had been di·ided among the apostles: Irenaeus claimed that the church was throughout the whole earth. and Origen
that the word had been proclaimed throughout the earth.
1hese could be exaggerations but it suggests that the command oí
(hrist was thought to ha·e been íulíilled and thereíore ceased to be a moti·e.
(oncern íor the lost ZLWKLQ the Lmpire remained strong to the extent that Green comments that ``the stress on judgement in
the sub-apostolic writers is so great that it was the subject oí ridicule among some pagans
1ertullian pleaded.
Do not íorget the íuture! \e who are without íear oursel·es are not seeking to írighten vou. but we would sa·e all
men ií possible bv warning them not to íight with God
As Polvcarp was being martvred bv íire he warned his persecutors oí the eternal íire reser·ed íor the ungodlv.
So during the Patristic period we see a change in the pattern oí mission. 1he ·iew that the Great (ommission had been íulíilled
and the identiíication oí the church with the Lmpire meant that there was little impetus íor mission outside the Lmpire's borders.
(oncern íor the íate oí the lost meant that there was still e·angelism inside those borders. lowe·er (ook notes that:
.when church membership became the accepted thing.there was no longer the same compulsion íor a (hristian
to share his íaith with his neighbour.proclaiming the íaith became the responsibilitv oí the proíessional clergv. who
generallv more concerned about their position and prerogati·es than extending the íaith.
Bosch 1991:135
(ombv 1996:5: also Bosch 1991:191
(ombv 1996:6. 14
Bosch 1991:194--196

quoted in Bosch 1991:218
quoted in (ombv 1996 10-11
Green 19¯0:304
quoted in 1ucker. R. A. )URP-HUXVDOHPWR,ULDQ-D\D 1983:33
(ook 196¯:29-30
1he doctrine oí hell as a moti·e íor mission ´ 143
J3.4 1he medieval Roman Catholic era
1he concept oí (hristendom. that the kingdom oí God was territorv ruled bv (hristians. dominated this period and the expansion
oí the church oíten occurred as a result oí political and militarv conquest and moti·es íor mission were complex and somewhat
murkv! (harlemagne ga·e the Saxons a choice: be baptised or die.
Baptism was seen as a pledge oí allegiance to the new ruler.
Although (harlemagne was concerned with conquest. his aide. Alarin. was concerned íor the souls oí those conquered. claiming
the people need to baptised in their souls as well as bodies in order to assure their souls.
During the 6th--¯th centuries it was the monks who where the most acti·e agents in mission. Kane calls the Irish church
oí this period ``one oí the greatest missionarv churches oí all time.''
At times it seems thev were moti·ated bv more personal
moti·es. \hen (olumba started his mission. he was moti·ated bv the desire to con·ert as manv souls as had died in a battle he had
Sometimes these monks seem to ha·e been moti·ated bv ensuring their own sal·ation through the practice oí asceticism
and meritorious actions. such as e·angelism.

and the greatest. martvrdom.
Bosch comments:
.to, the (eltic monks preaching and mission were unplanned appendages to their penitential roaming íar írom
home: íor the Anglo Saxons. howe·er. SHUHJULQDWLR pilgrimage, was undertaken íor the sake oí mission.thev were
concei·ed solelv as attempts to spread the gospel and bring pagans within the bosom oí the church.
1he combination oí wanting to see people sa·ed and the desire íor personal sal·ation through meritorious acts. including
martvrdom. is seen íurther in the ministries oí St. lrancis oí Assisi and Ravmond Lull during the (rusades. Both worked amongst
Muslims in the hope oí attaining martvrdom.
1he disco·erv oí the Americas opened up new ·istas íor expansion. As well as political moti·es íor the expansion to the \est
such as compensation íor losses to the Reíormation. and seeking out the legendarv (hristian king Prester John.
there were also
religious ones. 1he Papal Bull that di·ided the New \orld between Spain and Portugal ga·e an injunction ``to bring to (hristian
íaith the peoples who inhabit these islands and the mainland.''
(ombv comments:
.there was quite clearlv a simple desire to make (hrist known to pagans and bring them sal·ation.the ·iew oí
sal·ation according to which pagans and e·en heretics were damned was the one most commonlv held at the time.
1hat is whv it was so urgent to baptise the greatest possible numbers oí pagans in the shortest possible time.
lowe·er. the expansion was íull oí contradictions. (olumbus wanted both to sa·e the nati·es and to make them sla·es. Beíore
strangling the Indian emperors the conquistadors baptised them to ensure their eternal sal·ation.
1he colonization was marked
bv the widespread slaughter oí those that thev had come to sa·e.
(hurch expansion in the Medie·al period was characterised bv political. militarv and territorial expansion. Lxpansion oí the
iníluence oí the church. and therebv the glorv oí the church. was seen as impossible without expanding its borders. Apart írom
these socio-political moti·es. the moti·ation íor mission during this period appears to ha·e been the sal·ation oí souls. the souls oí
the hearers and the ones doing the preaching. 1he command oí (hrist moti·e is absent. presumablv because the ·iew that it had
been completed was still pre·alent and the glorv oí God moti·e was still entwined with moti·e to increase the glorv oí lis church.
J3.5 1he Reformation
1he Roman (atholic (ounter-Reíormation led to an increase in mission acti·itv. mainlv through the Jesuits like lrances Xa·ier
and Robert Nobili who were moti·ated bv a desire to regain territorv íor (atholicism and to sa·es souls írom hell.
there was an almost complete lack oí mission írom the íledgling Protestant church. Reasons suggested íor this include a lack oí
sea power and the ongoing íight íor sur·i·al with Rome. lowe·er ·an den Berg argues that there was not e·en a latent missionarv
Others ha·e said that the Reíormers are being íound guiltv oí not subscribing to a deíinition oí mission that didn't exist

(ombv 1996:2¯-28
Kane 19¯8:3¯
1ucker 1983:41

Green 19¯0:300
(ombv 1996:118
Ibid.. 235
(ombv 1996:38-39: 1ucker 1983:5¯
Ibid.. 121
(ombv 1996:5¯
(ombv 1996:59
Ibid.. 89
·an den Berg. J. &RQVWUDLQHGE\-HVXV/RYH 1956:4

Bosch 1991:244
144 ´ Alex Mc(ann
1he Reíormers were reacting against Papal missionarv tactics with its emphasis on human in·ol·ement. Mission was seen as
the acti·itv oí God who was not dependent on human beings íor the spread oí the Gospel.
Bosch adds that
no preacher. no missionarv should e·er dare to attribute to his or her own zeal what is in íact God's own work
(oncern íor the so·ereigntv and glorv oí God acted to dampen missionarv íer·our. not inspire it. 1hat is not to sav that the
earlv Protestants did not belie·e in human acti·itv. but thev belie·ed that it was restricted to a íuture time when the Antichrist had
1he ·iew that the Great (ommission had been gi·en to the apostles alone and had been completed was pre·alent.
a reaction
against the (atholic emphasis on apostolic succession. Luther knew that the gospel had not reached the ends oí the earth. but
belie·ed that it had been heard bv what he considered to be the most important part and thereíore in principle had been made
known throughout the world.
It was considered that the oííice oí apostle had been temporarv. but the oííice oí pastor was
permanent and that e·erv pastor had been gi·en responsibilitv íor a particular parish.
Outside oí the orthodox Protestant circles. the Anabaptists appealed to the Great (ommission in their tracts and coníessions
more than anv other biblical text.
1here were others. such as Bucer. who argued that people should seek the lost e·en though
the apostolic command was lacking.
Van den Berg notes that (al·in was mo·ed bv compassion to sa·e the poor souls oí people
perishing in hell
and Luther said that ií a (hristian íound himselí in a place where there were no (hristians then
he would be under the obligation to preach and teach the gospel to the erring pagans and non (hristians because oí
the dutv oí brotherlv lo·e. e·en ií no human being had called him to do this.

So there was possible concern íor the íate oí the lost amongst the Reíormers. but a strong íocus on the so·ereigntv and glorv
oí God as the missionarv as opposed to human eííorts and a con·iction that the Great (ommission had been completed combined
with other political and social íactors to remo·e mission as a prioritv. 1his would change in the íollowing centurv with the Pietist
Awakening in Lurope and the Lnglish Puritan expansion in the Americas.
Bosch savs that the Pietists were characterised bv the jov oí their personal experience oí sal·ation. an eagerness to proclaim
the gospel oí redemption to all and an ``unbearable impatience to go to the ends oí the earth.''
Although lo·e íor their íellow
human beings was the moti·e íor the Pietists. the idea that the command oí (hrist was not longer ·alid had lost swav in some
Lutheran circles and was used to justiív their acti·ities. In 1664 Justinian ·on \eltz published a number oí tracts that appealed to
the Great (ommission beíore going to Surinam as a missionarv where he later died.
In 1651 (ount ·on \elzhausen challenge
the theological íacultv at \ittenberg Uni·ersitv about how
Last and South and \est will be con·erted to the onlv .arivg taitb since I see no one oí the Ausberg (oníession go
íorth thither.so reasonable must it surelv be to obev tbe covvava ot Cbri.t.
1he Puritans Richard Baxter and 1homas Mavhew Jnr. argued íor the continuing ·aliditv oí the command oí (hrist.
lowe·er. the command oí (hrist was not the main moti·e íor the Puritans.
Bosch suggests that since its ·aliditv was not
disputed in Puritan circles. thev did not need to appeal to it.
argues that most important moti·e in the Puritan mission
were the glorv oí God. lowe·er. the sal·ation oí lost souls was a close second. (otton Mather savs that it was ``pittv íor the poor
souls oí these nati·es'' that mo·ed John Lliot
and that 1homas Mavhew was
ordained an e·angelist íor the con·ersion oí these Gentiles.and, soon íound occasion to let them know oí their
deplorable condition under Satan.
·an den Berg 1956:5
Bosch 1991:244-245
Da·ies. R.L. Prote.tavt |vaer.tavaivg ot tbe Creat Covvi..iov vp to ]¨·2 1995:2 íootnote,
Ibid.. 2
·an den Berg 1956:6
Da·ies 1995:3--4
Bosch 1991:246
Da·ies 1995:3
·an den Berg 1956:10--11

quoted in Bosch 1991:245
Ibid.. 252
Da·ies 1995::5-6
quoted in Da·ies 1995:4
Ibid.. 8-9. 11
·an den Berg 1956:29
Bosch 1991:260
Bea·er. R.P. ``Mission Moti·ation through 1hree (enturies'' in Brauer. J.(. ed, Reivterpretatiov. iv .vericav Cbvrcb íi.tory 1968:121: also Bosch 1991:258
Mather. (. Magvatia Cbri.ti .vericava rot. ] 19¯9:55¯
Mather. (.. Magvatia Cbri.ti .vericava rot. 219¯9:42¯
1he doctrine oí hell as a moti·e íor mission ´ 145
Bea·er savs:
.lo·e and compassion íor the perishing souls oí the Indians. barbarous creatures enthralled and mired bv the de·il.
vet human beings with immortal souls íor whom (hrist had died determined the strong soteriological direction oí
American missions íor Lliot. Mavhew and Mather
1he beginnings oí Protestant mission. then. were moti·ated bv the glorv oí God and compassion íor lost souls. Although the
continued ·aliditv oí the command oí (hrist was increasinglv acknowledged. it was not vet a major moti·e.
J3.6 1he Lnlightenment and the Great Awakening
1he spiritual renewal known as the Great Awakening shook North America in the mid 18th centurv. Although the Great (om-
mission íeatured hea·ilv in ordination sermons at the time.
it was not a moti·e íor iníluential people like Jonathan Ldwards or
Da·id Brainerd. Ldwards is oíten thought as being moti·ated bv hell because oí his íamous sermon. ``Sinners in the hands oí an
angrv God''. le hoped that ``the use oí this awíul subject mav be íor awakening uncon·erted persons in the congregation''
argued against the increasing iníluence oí other ·iews oí hell.
1his concern íor the souls oí the lost was shared bv his íriend.
Da·id Brainerd who said.
I cared not how or where I li·ed. or what hardships I went through so that I could gain some souls íor (hrist.all mv
desire was the con·ersion oí the heathen.
lowe·er. their dri·ing passion was íor the glorv oí God which was in Ldward's ·iew the reason whv God had made creation.
Brainerd's last entrv in his diarv was.
Oh I long to be with lim that I might behold lis glorv.Oh that lis kingdom might come in the world that thev
might all lo·e and gloriív lim íor what le is in limselí.
(harles (hanev agrees that the glorv oí God was the primarv missionarv moti·e oí the latter halí oí the 18th centurv in America
and quotes a preacher speaking to the Piscataqua Missionarv Societv:
the glorv oí God. a regard íor his honour and praise in the spread oí the Gospel. ought to be the go·erning moti·e
in all missionarv exertions
lowe·er as the centurv wore on. the impact oí the Lnlightenment and its anthropological íocus made itselí íelt. Bosch
.in the wake oí the Great Awakening.the motií oí the glorv oí God became wedded to other motiís. in particular
that oí compassion. Still e·en where the glorv oí God was not explicitlv mentioned. it continued to constitute the
silent background motií during ·irtuallv all the eighteenth centurv.
In Lngland there was a similar spiritual renewal with the rise oí Methodism. Van den Berg comments that
it was the great passion oí the Methodists and other re·i·alists to sa·e souls. to liberate men írom the bondage oí
and he quotes John \eslev as saving that ``his onlv end was sa·e sinners.''
Similarlv \hiteíield said ``it grie·es me to see people
e·ervwhere perish íor lack oí knowledge.''

\eslev was iníluenced bv his contacts with the Mora·ians who were keeping the ílame oí mission ali·e in Lurope. (oming írom
the Pietist tradition their o·erriding passion was lo·e íor (hrist and íor those íor whom he died. 1heir íounder. ·on Zinzendorí
said. ``I ha·e but one passion. It is le. it is le alone. 1he world is the íield and the íield is the world. and henceíorth that countrv
shall be home where I can be most used in winning souls íor (hrist.''
Bea·er. ``Mission Moti·ation through 1hree (enturies'' 1968:122
Da·ies 1995:14-15
quoted in ·an den Berg 1956:80
See Morgan. (. -RQDWKDQ(GZDUGV+HOO 2004
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Piper 2003:40
(hanev. (.K.. 7KH%LUWKRI 0LVVLRQVLQ$PHULFD 19¯6:255
Bosch 1991:285-286
·an den Berg 1956:100

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146 ´ Alex Mc(ann
lowe·er the command oí (hrist had some iníluence. In August 1¯2¯ the Mora·ian communitv experienced a spiritual renewal
where thev all íelt under the command to ``go ve into all the world.''
Ron Da·ies quotes írom a ·on Zinzendorí sermon:
.``Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation. whoe·er will belie·e vou.he shall be sa·ed:
he shall be deli·ered írom this present e·il and írom the wrath to come and shall enter mv rest.'' 1his then is the
ground and purpose oí the preaching oí the Gospel.
So the 1¯th and 18th centuries saw the real beginnings oí Protestant mission. Initiallv the most prominent moti·e was the
glorv oí God. but as the Lnlightenment made itselí íelt. the íocus became more oí the human need íor sal·ation. 1he command
oí (hrist gi·en to humans also began to become more important.
J3.7 1he Modern Lra
1he nineteenth centurv saw an explosion in missionarv acti·itv. Although it has oíten been attributed to the publication in 1¯92 oí
\illiam (arev's ``Lnquirv''. as has been seen the íoundations were being laid in the pre·ious centuries. Boer argues that although
(arev was speaking into a particular context. the Particular Baptists who were the hvper-(al·inists oí their dav. the context was
soon íorgotten. but the emphasis remained. working poweríullv to stir people to mission.
lenrv Venn writes oí the moti·es oí
the íounders oí the LMS:
.what could ha·e been the mo·ing cause which led such men to attempt so great a work· It mav be replied that
thev were men oí strong íaith. that thev were constrained be lo·e oí (hrist. that thev were men oí praver. 1he true
manner we concei·e is this. thev were men who íelt their indi·idual responsibilitv to obev the command oí (hrist.
A íew examples illustrate this: Adoniram Judson. when asked whether he was mo·ed bv íaith or lo·e. replied. ``Neither. but
bv the command oí (hrist.''
Ruíus Anderson said that obedience to (hrist was his íoremost moti·e with the sal·ation oí souls
James Gilmour said. ``mv going íorth is a matter oí obedience to a plain command.''
A joint statement bv US and (anadian mission boards in 1895 said that.
emphasis is to be placed íirst oí all on our loval obedience to the command oí the Master as the highest moti·e in
íoreign missions.

Boer concludes that obedience to the Great (ommission was WKH dominant moti·e during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Van den
Berg argues that the obedience moti·e ne·er íunctioned as a separate stimulus. that it was alwavs connected with other moti·es.
It is likelv that Boer is o·erstating his case whereas ·an den Berg is downplaving the impact oí the obedience moti·e because oí his
own íocus on lo·e as the moti·e.
Despite its prominence in the 19th and 20th centuries. obedience was not the onlv moti·e. (oncern íor the íate oí the lost was
still a poweríul moti·e. Van den Berg quotes laweis.
mv dear íriends. because we belie·e the wrath re·ealed írom hea·en against all ungodliness and unrighteousness.we
are thus earnest to pluck some brands írom the burning.
(.1. Studd stated.
some wish to li·e within the sound oí a chapel bell. I wish to run a rescue mission within a vard oí hell.
(harles Spurgeon preached this message:
.ií sinners be damned. at least let them leap to hell o·er our bodies. And ií thev perish. let them perish with our
arms about their knees. imploring them to stav. Ií hell must be íilled in the íace oí our exertions. let not one go there
unwarned and unpraved íor!
loster. J.. 7R$OO1DWLRQV 1960:19: 1ucker 1983:¯0
Da·ies 1995:18
Boer 1961:25
quoted in Boer 1968:25
quoted in Boer 19¯1:26
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Boer 1961:2¯
·an den Berg 1956:166
Ibid.. 15¯
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1he doctrine oí hell as a moti·e íor mission ´ 14¯
ludson 1avlor said.
there is a great Niagara oí souls passing into the dark oí (hina.a million a month in (hina thev are dving without
During this time. although it had declined in prominence. the moti·e oí the glorv oí God was still a íactor. Llizabeth lreeman
who was martvred in India in 1858 wrote.
I hope vou will be a missionarv where·er vour lot is cast.it makes little diííerence aíter all where we spend these íew
íleeting vears. ií thev are onlv spent íor the glorv oí God. Be assured there is nothing else worth li·ing íor.
ludson 1avlor also said.
Let us see that we keep God beíore our eves. that we walk in his wavs and seek to please and gloriív him in e·ervthing
great and small
So we can see that during the last two centuries. a period oí great acti·itv. it would appear that. although the moti·e oí obedience
has been prominent. the moti·es oí sa·ing people írom hell and the glorv oí God still had some iníluence.
J3.8 1he current climate
As mv introduction stated. this paper has been written because oí a question I was asked regarding how mv moti·ation was aííected
bv mv ·iew on hell. Bea·er notes. although the sal·ation oí perishing souls became less prominent írom the start oí the 20th centurv.
as there was increasing uncertaintv about the damnation oí unbelie·ers. it has remained a poweríul moti·e in e·angelical circles.
1he 1966 \heaton coníerence stated ``the repudiation oí uni·ersalism obliges all e·angelicals to preach the Gospel to all men
beíore thev die in their sins.''
Pocock quotes Petersen. ``e·angelicals historicallv ha·e understood hell as a spur to misson.''
1he Great (ommission remains a poweríul moti·e íor mission. Recent book titles such as ``1he Great (ommission Liíestvle''
198¯,. ``(hurches that Obev: 1aking the Great (ommission Seriouslv'' 1995,. and ``1he linal lrontier---(an \e lulíil the Great
(ommission in our 1ime·'' 198¯, illustrate how much some circles ·iew its importance in the liíe oí the church and the prominence
oí its eschatological aspects. lutchinson argues that manv ha·e
sought to reinstate the Great (ommission as a leading. or e·en as an entirelv suííicient justiíication íor missions.
lowe·er. the iníluence oí postmodernitv is growing. Pocock's íindings are that
moti·ation íor missions is írequentlv deíined bv postmodern (hristians as `gi·ing glorv to God' or an `o·erílowing
oí thankíulness.
1here has been a reaction. like that oí the Reíormers. against the emphasis on human eííort and need in mission which resulted
írom the Lnlightenment. and the legalism that can arise írom the emphasis on obedience to the missionarv command. \oung
concludes that the aim oí mission is the glorv oí God and the moti·e his lo·e.
Piper quotes John Stott on Rom. 1:5. ``the highest
moti·e is not obedience or lo·e íor sinners. but zeal íor the glorv oí Jesus (hrist.''
Pocock concludes that ``the glorv oí God is
the essence oí the Kingdom oí God and thereíore can stimulate missions like no other moti·ation.''
J3.9 Conclusion
It is clear that a concern íor people going to lell. that people are under judgement and are destined íor eternal punishment has
been consistentlv present as a moti·e íor mission throughout the ages. It has not alwavs been the most prominent. especiallv
when the glorv oí God is being emphasised. but it has alwavs been an iníluence. It is possible that this could be because oí its
close association with the moti·e oí lo·e. As I stated in mv introduction I think that the moti·e oí lo·e
is the primarv moti·e
írom which all other moti·es maniíest. A lo·e and concern íor others is a natural consequence oí our lo·e íor God and the lo·e
emanating írom lim. 1his was certainlv the case with the Pietists. the Mora·ians and the Methodists.
quoted in Pocock. M. et al.. 7KH&KDQJLQJ)DFHRI :RUOG0LVVLRQV 2005:16¯
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Ibid.. 131
Pocock et al 2005:1¯0
quoted in Bosch 1991:341
Pocock et al 2005:161
\oung 1964:11
Piper 2003:9
Pocock et al 2005:1¯8
See ·an den Berg 1956 íor a íull discussion
148 ´ Alex Mc(ann
In comparison. the moti·e oí obedience to (hrist's command was probablv a signiíicant moti·e to the earlv witnesses and those
thev knew. but once thev died. it ceased to be a íactor until the 19th centurv. Similarlv the glorv oí Jesus. and thereíore God. was
an earlv moti·e. but quicklv became linked with the glorv oí the lis church. Occasionallv it regains prominence when the íocus on
human eííort and attainment becomes too much. but there is danger that aíter a while. we will start to think again that the glorv oí
God is dependent on what we achie·e in his name. lowe·er. a concern íor God's glorv does not alwavs result in mission. as can
be seen with the nation oí Israel and. to some extent. the Reíormers.
1he title asks whether these moti·es are biblicallv sound. 1he glorv oí God is a theme that resonates throughout the Bible.
and is considered bv manv to ha·e been lis purpose íor creation and our purpose within creation. and so as a moti·e. it is true to
the character oí the Bible.
1he Great (ommission is mentioned in all íour Gospels. and. although it is diííicult to judge how much the earlv church was
moti·ated bv it. obedience to the commands oí God is also a theme that echoes throughout the Bible and so is consistent with the
character oí Scripture. although care needs to be taken to a·oid legalism.
(oncern íor the íate oí the lost is more diííicult. 1here are passages that indicate that it was a moti·ation. whereas in manv
other places it seems more oí a warning. lowe·er. the storv oí Jesus is essentiallv the storv oí God's redemption oí mankind. 1
1im. 2:3--¯ savs that God wants all men to be sa·ed which indicates that concern íor the lost and their ultimate íate is a moti·e íor
God and so. although the New 1estament is not speciíic about it as a moti·e. I íeel it is consistent with God's character.
Moti·ation íor mission is linked to spiritual renewal. 1he explosion oí missionarv acti·itv in the 19th centurv is linked to the
spiritual renewals oí the 18th. centurv and the expansion oí the earlv church was initiated. empowered and guided bv the lolv
Spirit. Both Boer and Da·ies make this connection between the Spirit and mission. that outward action is the result oí an inward
spiritual stimulus.
1his eííect is not just limited to widespread renewal. Ruth Rouse links the indi·idual's call to mission to their
own con·ersion and spiritual renewal.
Missionarv moti·es ha·e not operated in isolation. but ha·e interacted with one another and with the pre·ailing ideologv oí the
time. (hanges in the world ha·e resulted in changes in the moti·ation íor mission. 1his is seen in the impact oí the transíormation
oí the church írom a persecuted minoritv to a poweríul political bodv. 1he Reíormation with its íocus on the so·ereigntv oí God.
the Lnlightenment with its íocus on humanitv and the onset oí `postmodernitv' with its íocus on humilitv ha·e all had proíound
eííects oí mission theologv and moti·ation.
Roland Allen savs.
the impulse is one. the moti·e is one: the íorms in which the moti·e. the impulse is expressed in men mav ·arv. 1he
impulse. the power is (hrist. (hrist who embraces the world and gi·es the worldwide command and dwells in us to
íulíil the command.
Indeed without the Spirit in us. the moti·es we ha·e looked at could easilv degenerate into sentimentalism or legalistic obedience.
In conclusion. the doctrine oí hell is historicallv attested to as a moti·e íor mission. whereas the moti·e oí glorv and the moti·e
oí obedience. equallv Biblicallv sound. ha·e waxed and waned as moti·es. lowe·er. the moti·e oí lo·e. or rather. the source oí
lo·e. God. is our ultimate source oí moti·ation. Ultimatelv. our moti·ation must be come írom lim. As lenrv Martvn put it.
1he Spirit oí (hrist is the Spirit oí missions. 1he nearer we get to lim. the more intenselv missionarv we become.
See Piper 2003:22-28 íor a sur·ev
Da·ies 1995:22
Rouse. R. ``1he Missionarv Moti·e'' in ,QWHUQDWLRQDO5HYLHZRI 0LVVLRQ YRO 25 1936 p.25¯
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