I just found this quote from Phillip Jensen back in 2000 about his situation in the Anglican Church. I think it is pertinent for our own situation. He is talking about Church planting but I want us to use it to think about gospel recruitment. The bottom line is that we need to focus on preaching the gospel and raising up the next generation of gospel workers, within or outside the denomination of which we are a part. So to this end I think we need to start a deliberate gospel recruiting movement of Presbyterian Ministers who can work together to encourage gospel training and the raising up and training of gospel workers…
Prophets do not wait for permission to speak. They do not wait till people want to hear what they have to say. They do not wait to be authorized by any apart from the God who commissions them. Our task is to call the nation to repent. If the heretics and false teachers of denominational churches will not listen, we should not spend too much time before dusting off our shoes and moving on to preach to those who have had less opportunity to hear the great message of salvation. If that means being like Paul and setting up church next door to the synagogue or in the hall of Tyrannus, so be it.
Am I saying that we should leave the denominations? No, of course not. Why should we leave because in some places unbelievers have taken temporary possession of the property that was left by our forefathers for the preaching of the gospel? No, let them leave — but I have never yet seen a good reason to leave…
I am suggesting that the future of evangelicalism in relation to the denominational churches lies in direct evangelistic church planting. It may happen inside or outside the denominations. We need just to get on with it, wherever the gospel is welcome.
The future of evangelicalism lies in brave hearts who will take action and not be constrained by the traditions of men—the lines that men have drawn on the ground, the rules that men have made about who conducts church how, when, where, and by whose authority.
Am I suggesting that we should be ecclesiastical law-breakers? Certainly not—no more than the Lord Jesus was in his day. We have to get his perspective of seeing the difference between gnats and camels. He was constantly being attacked by religious people on the high moral ground of their keeping the law, while he was supposedly breaking it. But he was concerned for the salvation of people, not the preservation of man-made laws which, in the name of God, undermined the very work of God.
I think we can see that God has blessed the ministry surrounding MYC in many ways. There have been an extraordinary number of effects, and great progress in many areas—witness the growth and effectiveness of Matthias Media, the Ministry Training Strategy, the missionaries and ministers (both lay and professional) who have gone out, and so on. There are lots of great things happening, and not only in our network. Evangelical organizations like AFES are going from strength to strength. In ethnic ministry, in church planting, in new initiatives in evangelism—there are good signs everywhere. In that sense, the future of evangelical Christianity in Australia looks strong.
However, our future in the most important sense is to keep doing what God has called us to do—to pray, to be holy, to preach faithfully. In unity with all those who love our Lord for his death for us, and want to proclaim him as the risen Lord, let us get on with the task. Let us proclaim him, the One before whom all Australia should bow.