Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Mission’ Category

a-man-praying

 

Note: This is part 1 of 2 posts that will address the issue of Hindus that have been on Twitter attacking evangelistic minded Christian as being self-centered.

Christians who are praying and helping with evangelistic Relief effort with the Earthquake in Nepal have been accused of being arrogant for wanting to share the Gospel.  For example one of the Hindus who have been constantly harassing us and many prayerful Christians just tweeted this an hour or so ago against the Bible League in Australia:

#SoulVultures should shed their ego that their self certified poisonous&venomous abhrahamik religions are the best ones

On our blog an interlocutor has also charged that we

have arrogance to think that “pagans” are backward and need redeeming.”

What do we say to that charge?

First off, followers of Christ can be arrogant. That’s because Christians still have a sinful nature.  Just like everybody else.  This confirms the Bible in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  To deny that Christians cannot possibly be arrogant at all is arrogance–better to acknowledge it.  This observation however does not excuse the sin.  Instead a Christian who is arrogant needs to repent from their sins.  Lower yourself and be humbled before God.

Secondly, the need for redemption isn’t only for what our interlocutor called “pagans” (using his own words).  Non-“pagans” need redemption too.

Thirdly, I myself a sinner am also in need of God’s saving grace because of my sins.   I hope that every Hindu who have been harassing Christians would know that I don’t think of myself as any better in my own merit than what someone (in this case the interlocutor) might call “backwards.”

Fourthly, I don’t think believing people need to be redeemed by Christ on the cross is arrogant.  Instead the message of the Cross kills arrogance and instead makes us foster humility.  The Gospel says that we ALL are sinners (Romans 3:10, 3:23) who are ALL spiritually dead if it’s up to ourselves (Ephesians 2:1-3). “For ALL of us have become like one who is unclean, And ALL our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment” (Isaiah 64:6a).  Even when we do outwardly what others might identify as our good deeds, still we can do it with ulterior motive, or it is fueled or done to promote our self-righteousness.  “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).  The believer of the Gospel knows he’s a begger in need of grace.  He knows that because of his lack of righteousness, God has to provide His Son to die on the Cross for his legal righteousness before God.  And any practical righteousness afterwards in a Christian life, if it is true righteousness is the work of God in his life and an outworking of the truth of God’s saving love is the motivation for his obedience.

Fifthly, a Christian that truly understands the Gospel will share this to others as another dying sinner to another dying sinner.  Ironically, if a Christian who understands and believes in the Gospel will not share this to others, he would be committing a high-handed sin of selfishness to genuinely believe the truth that there is a way of salvation and yet not share that to others.  Such a fool is arrogant, only caring for his own life and not think of others but only himself.  #HindusandcitizensofNepalslivesmatter.

Sixtly, if you have been misrepresenting praying Christians and Christian missionaries and relief workers as being arrogant and have read this explanation and still want to accuse Christians of being arrogant in their internal motivation even though you now know better, then God help you.  Continual misrepresentation even when one knows better is arrogance: You want to still keep on saying this, and you have made your desire to slander Christians as being more important than the truth.  Whenever an agenda is advanced with half-truths and lying sound bites, it is wickedness.  Repent to God for mercy for your sins.

Lastly, from some of our interaction this past week some of you have said you are without sin.  That’s ironic that you can still keep a straight face and charge Christians for arrogance don’t you think?  The most arrogant thing you can ever say or think is to think you are without sin.  It means you are perfect.  It means you can do no wrong; it means you have become a functional god.  Oh the arrogance of presuming you are a perfect god!  But your deeds reveal otherwise.  Now if you confess your sins to God, repent of it and turn to the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, He is faithful to forgive you, to change you, to cleanse you.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

world map missions

I thought I post an update of our posts dealing with Missions, Culture and being Biblical.  Many of the posts dealt with the Insider Movement although we also touch on different things.  The reason I posted this update is because I wrote a significant amount of more posts after our series was completed.

Enjoy!

Essays by SlimJim

Quick Thoughts on Question of those who never Heard

A Bad Theology of False Religions in Contemporary Evangelical Missionary Thought?

Missionary Contextualization understood in light of the relationship between Culture and the Bible

Messianic Mosques and Messianic Muslims? Taking on Shah Ali’s South Asia Report  NEW

Faulty Ecclesiology in two Insider Movement Case Studies NEW

Insider Movement’s John Travis view of Apologetics and Islam  NEW

Concerns for C. Peter Wagner on the Cutting Edge of Missions Strategy  NEW

  NEW

Is it True Anyone Can be a Missionary if they Speak English?

Missions: Distinguishing between Relief and Transformational Development

Reviews

Book Review: The Road to Reality

Review: Conquer Your Fear, Share Your Faith by Kirk Cameron, Ray Comfort

  NEW

Other Online Resources

Reformed Forum Critique of the Insider Movement and resources recommended

PCA General Assembly Report on the Insider Movement

David B.

Garner’s 5 Part Series on Insider Movement over at Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals

Video: Piper Responds to the Insider Movement | The Domain for Truth

Read Full Post »

Keep Calm you speak english

In terms of missions today there are many opportunities to reach people through the ministry of teaching English overseas.  Not to take away from this great opportunity, I think we must also be cautious to jump the gun and assume that “Any English speaker can teach English to speakers of other languages.”

First off, language is one of those things that we think we know it until we have to teach it–and then we discover that we might not really know it as we think we do.

Secondly, the state of our education today is that many English classes in our younger years and also in College do not emphasize much on Grammar anymore and I think this is a reason in of itself to be cautious in assuming that just being a mere English speaker means we can teach the English language.  I know this is a bit anecdotal, but I remember in Seminary many of those who grew up in the US and spoke English all the time might struggle more than those who were coming in from overseas concerning grammar, even things such as identifying the basics such as what is a preposition and participle, etc.

Thirdly, even those who teach English in the field already can further improve their skill of teaching English.

Fourthly, as in any area, I think teaching a skill require more than just being good in that skill; one must also be a good communicator in order to be an effective teacher.

Fifthly, related to the above, is the phenomenon that sometimes those who excel in something might not necessarily always be a good teacher of the very thing they are good at; personally, I feel this is especially true with those who are good at management but they are so good at it that they think it must be intuitive and struggle in passing on the skill to someone else.

Sixth, apparently the skill to teach English well is important enough that a major organization such as the Billy Graham Center has dedicated part of their mission to better equip those involved with teaching English as a mission.

Seventh, we must not forget that a missionary must not only be adept in language; he or she must also know the Gospel and know how to communicate it well.  This might be a good time to say that we must not forget the priority that the missionary or evangelist themselves must focus more on actually knowing the Gospel really well.

Given the above, I think we should be at a minimum be cautious with the thesis “Any English speaker can teach English to speakers of other languages.”

Read Full Post »

identity

Can genuine followers of Christ (those Born Again) retain their previous “socio-religious identity”?  What are we to make of those who argue that a Born Again follower of Christ can retain their “socio-religious identity”?

The following is an interaction with an essay that was printed in Perspective on the World Christian Movement by Rebecca Lewis titled “Insider Movements: Retaining Identity and Preserving Community:”

My Thoughts

I can appreciate Lewis’ spirit of trying not to set our own obstacles against people coming to a salvific knowledge of Jesus Christ.  One thing I think that we can learn from her article is the fact that our church plant effort should take advantage of natural relations and association that already exist before our Gospel effort, rather than ignore them or worst, unnecessarily undermine them.

But I do have more problems with Lewis’ article and the Insider movement that overshadow what is helpful.

First is with Lewis’ talks about the difference between planting churches and implanting churches; the former she describe as bringing strangers together to become a new family of God in the church while the latter instead incorporates believers within their pre-existing family or community network that provide the spiritual fellowship for each other (Lewis, 674).  I have a hard time seeing that strong of a distinction between the two and don’t find as strong of a distinction between planting and implanting a church: I think Lewis here would be naïve to think that church plants are not trying to utilize pre-existing relationship for building a community of faith with those that are already part of one’s network such as family members, co-workers, friends, etc.  Moreover I believe she fail to take into account Jesus’ own teaching that the reality is that sometime those within one’s own family would reject the Gospel for Jesus Himself said “They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law” (Luke 12:53, NIV). It seems that when rubber meets the road even implanting a church would face the same difficulty as planting a church.

 

Secondly, she leaves the term “socio-religious identity” vague; and more importantly she does not define “religion.”  It is important for her to define her term especially when she says things such as the “insider movements affirm that people do not have to go through the religion of Christianity” while also saying “they only need to go through Jesus Christ to enter God’s family” (Lewis, 675).  Another example is her statement that “Paul warned that to add religious conversion to following Christ would nullify the Gospel” (Lewis, 675).  She believes “religion” is pit against the Gospel when she cited Ephesians 3:6 but the verse does not contrast Gospel with “religion.” (And remember since she didn’t define it, it’s kind of hard to pinpoint how exactly this verse is against “religion.”).

 

Thirdly, while she does try to give a theological argument to justify that we do not need to make people accept the “Christian religion,” I think her argument fail to account for unique instances of redemptive history.  Lewis raised the question “Does one have to go through Christianity to enter God’s family?  The New Testament addresses a nearly identifical question: ‘Do all believers in Jesus Christ have to go through Judaism in order to enter God’s family?’” (Lewis, 674).  But I think the parallel with whether one has to be a “Christian” and that of going through “Judaism” breaks down because biblically the Gospel message that we often describe with the term “Christianity” is God’s way of allowing people (specifically non-Jews, the Gentiles) to enter God’s family.  I also believe there is a leap in logic when she merely assumed that Christianity parallel Judaism as a religion that one can ignore as a passing relic of the pass because God is doing a new thing; I think it is question-begging.

 

Read Full Post »

world map missions

Beginning next week on Tuesday September 16th we will have a series of posts on the topic of Missions, Culture and being Biblical.  There seems to be a lot of bad theology today that is driving a lot of the discussion on missionary method and we want to tackle this head on.

We hope that in the week long series or so to have some original pieces written and also point to other resources that are available.

Stay tune!

 

Read Full Post »

Randy Alcorn wrote of this missionary family that truly deserves to be read by all. Graham Staines and his two sons were burned alive by Hindu terrorists. What is amazing is that of Mrs Staines and her daughter’s respond and action.

 

In April 2000 I had the privilege of speaking at a JESUS Film Conference in San Diego, California. There are many things I could say about the conference, many reports that gave me goosebumps, but let me just tell you about Gladys and Esther Staines. Nanci and I and our daughters had dinner with them one night and got to know them through various conversations.

In January 1999 Gladys’s husband and sons, Esther’s father and two brothers, were martyred for Christ in India. (Graham Staines, a missionary from Australia who specialized in work with lepers, had showed the JESUS film to many, thus the connection with the JESUS Film Conference.)

On January 23rd of 1999, Graham and his two sons, Phillip (11 yrs.) and Timothy (6 yrs.) were murdered by a large mob of militant Hindus. They had gone to a Christian camp in the jungle, where Graham was ministering. At midnight the mob attacked, setting fire to the jeep in which Graham and his sons were sleeping. They were burned alive. When the fire finally cooled, they found the charred body of Graham Staines with his arms around the bodies of his sons.

Graham served the Lord in the jungles of Orissa for over 34 years. He was described as “a wonderful, gracious, self-effacing man of God, full of faith, confidence and humility; warm-hearted, and a wonderful father.” At his funeral, the streets were thronged with masses of people—Hindus, Muslims and Christians. They were there to show respect for Graham and his family and to show their solidarity against the actions of the killers. Despite the fact that persecution of Christians has increased in recent years, the president of India came forward and said, “that someone who spent years caring for patients of leprosy, instead of being thanked and appreciated as a role model should be done to death in this manner is… a crime that belongs to the world’s inventory of black deeds.”

The response of Gladys and Esther was on the front page of every newspaper in India (with one billion people, soon to pass China as the most populous nation on earth). Gladys said, “I have only one message for the people of India. I’m not bitter. Neither am I angry. But I have one great desire: that each citizen of this country should establish a personal relationship with Jesus Christ who gave his life for their sins…let us burn hatred and spread the flame of Christ’s love.”

Gladys shocked nearly everyone, because people assumed she and Esther would move back to Australia or somewhere else in the west. She said no, God had called them to India, and she would not leave. (In fact, she’d been very hesitant to even come to San Diego, as she didn’t want to leave the work even for a brief trip.) She said, “My husband and our children have sacrificed their lives for this nation; India is my home. I hope to be here and continue to serve the needy.” When asked how she felt about the murder of her dad, Esther, as a thirteen year old, said (in words that sound straight off the pages of the book of Acts), “I praise the Lord that He found my father worthy to die for Him.”

After Gladys spoke at the conference, an Indian national leader stood up and said that the impact made by the response of Gladys and Esther has been amazingly powerful, with many Hindus coming to Christ because of their witness. The people of India have looked at this situation and asked, “Why would a man leave his wealthy country and serve lepers in India for 34 years? Why would his wife and daughter completely forgive the killers of their family? Why would they choose to stay and serve the poor? Who is this God they believe in? Could it be that all we’ve been told about Christians has been lies? Could it be that Jesus really is the truth?” The people of India are seeing embodied in the Stains an otherworldly perspective and strength in Christ that stands in stark contrast to the dark, fatalistic and impersonal gods of Hinduism.

I look forward to meeting Graham, Timothy and Philip in the world for which we were made, the one made for us. And if I get there first, I’m putting in a request to be there for their reunion with Gladys and Esther.

The words of Hebrews 11:35-38 are appropriate not only of Graham and the boys but of Gladys and Esther. The passage speaks of the sufferings of God’s people: “Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them.”

The world was not worthy of them….

Read Full Post »

Pray for this un-reached people group.

Identity
Although the Lop Nur people have been officially included as part of the Uygur nationality, “they differ from the Uygur people in both language and appearance – looking more like Mongolians.”

History
The Lop Nur Uygurs are “believed to be descended from the ancient Loulan people. Their ancestors all lived at Lop Nur and were engaged in fishing and hunting. When Lop Nur dried up several decades ago, they were forced to move and settle down in Miran.” When Marco Polo visited the ancient city of Lop, now buried deep beneath the sand, he noted, “There are many springs of bad and bitter water, though in some places the water is good and sweet. When it happens that an army passes through the country, if it is a hostile one, the people take flight with their wives and children and their beasts two or three days’ journey into the sandy wastes to places where they know there is water and they can live with their beasts.”

Customs
Seven centuries ago, Marco Polo described the effect the Taklimakan Desert had on stray travelers. “When a man is riding by night through the desert and something happens to make him loiter and lose touch with his companions he hears spirits talking in such a way that they seem to be his companions. Sometimes, indeed, they even hail him by name. Often these voices make him stray from the path, so that he never finds it again. And in this way many travelers have been lost and have perished.”

Religion
The Lop Nur Uygurs converted to Islam several centuries ago. They retain many features of their pre-Islamic spirit-appeasement rituals, including the worship of the sun, moon, stars, and wind.

Christianity
There is no apparent Christian presence among the people living in the desolate wastes of the Lop Nur region. Nestorian missionaries from the eighth to thirteenth centuries established churches along the Silk Road townships, but all memory of them and their message has long since been obliterated by the all encompassing sands of the Taklimakan Desert.

More of the Uygur.

Read Full Post »