Mission in Reverse

The Washington Post carries an article today on what it terms ‘reverse mission’ considering the phenomenon of Christian missionaries coming from the traditional mission fields of the Two Third’s World to evangelise the traditional sending countries in Europe. It is a great story. It is great to see how these churches are establishing parity with the western church and establishing a voice in their own right. It is good news also about the evangelism of Europe. It is also good news that as churches in these countries take on the great commission have been able to go into countries which are largely closed to western missionaries.

One concern however is about the gospel that is on occasion being preached. It is sometimes a version of the prosperity gospel that has been exported into the Two Third’s World and is now being re-imported to the west. Where that is the case it is rather alarming. I don’t know much for example about the International Christian Community mentioned in the Post’s article so I looked up their website. There was a rather alarming lack of reference in their material about either sin or atonement which lie at the heart of the true gospel. It would be a tragedy if Europe is now being evangelised with a gospel that is no gospel at all but is simply seeking to meet the felt needs in the empty lives of secularists.

The whole episode is also a rather sad comment on the state of European churches, especially the established churches, which across Europe are at the heart of the decline in Christianity as they have embraced liberalism. This whole situation should awaken western Christians to the needs of the west.


2 Responses to “Mission in Reverse”

  1. manyverse Says:

    Evangelism is not a good viewpoint to have. To be so closed minded and unmoving is unhealthy. Does it not occur to you that the reason god provides us with so little actual evidence of his existence is that he wants people to find him themselves? If you push your religion on someone the way evangelism does then you deny that person part of the experience of the spiritual journey, which may weaken or falsify their faith. And how do you know it is not possible to accept Christ after death? Is the chance to accept Christ and repent denied at the gates of heaven?
    It seems to me that you waste your time trying to convert others to a religion they already follow.

  2. sibbesian Says:

    Thanks for the comment- even if I disagree with it. The first thing I would mention is that evangelism- literally the telling of good news- is not proselytism- forcing your religion upon someone else. Secondly, the biblical perspective is one is that there is ample evidence of God’s existence. The problem is that as humans we suppress that evidence. As I have noted on the blog before man can’t find God for the same reason a thief can’t find a policeman. Thirdly, evangelism provides part of the spiritual journey where people are presented with the good news of Jesus which they can then accept or reject. Fourth, it is the clear biblical teaching that we accept or reject Christ before death and not after. The book of Hebrews says that it is appointed for a man once to die and then to face judgment. It would be a rather strange scenario where someone after death was confronted with choice of heaven or hell and asked what they would like at that point in time! No-one who is found guilty is then asked if they prefer punishment or release.

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