Just when the early American Puritans were settling in to their “chosen” status as the New Israel in the New World, Jesus said to John Eliot, “I have other sheep that are not of this Puritan fold—among the Algonquin Indians.” And 100 years later to David Brainerd, “I have other sheep that are not of this Congregational fold—among the Susquehanna.”
Just when the Particular Baptists of England were being frozen in the unbiblical ice of hyper-Calvinism, Jesus spoke to William Carey: “I have other sheep that are not of this English fold—in India.”
Just when the mission agencies and churches were growing content with the coastland successes around the world, Jesus stirred up Hudson Taylor, “I have other sheep that are not of this coastal fold—inland, in the middle of China.” And to David Livingston—“inland, in the middle of Africa.”
And when all of western Christendom began to feel content that every country of the world had been penetrated with the gospel, Jesus came to Cameron Townsend and said, “I have other sheep that are not of this visible worldwide fold—among the hidden tribal peoples, thousands of them with not even a Scripture portion in their language.”
John 10:16 is THE GREAT missionary text in the gospel of John. Every time we start to get comfortable with just us, it is like a thorn in the cushion on the pew. But it is far more than a goad. It is full of hope and power.