Thursday, July 18, 2002

Foreign Missions

I am pleased to present for your consideration an interesting post on the foreign mission field by Joshua Claybourn.

Before I make a general comment, I have to make a specific one. Mr. Claybourn writes:
Aside from my Christian brethren who take predestination to an extreme, most Christians believe evangelism is extremely important.

Let’s be clear that Calvinism takes “predestination to an extreme” and holds that evangelism is extremely important. We are commanded to evangelize. It is an unspeakable privilege to be God’s instrument to reach the elect. And evangelism, successful or not, brings Glory to God.

As to the post as a whole, Mr. Claybourn discusses the advantages of native versus foreign missionaries. While there is a risk of over generalization, I agree that in many cases a native will be more effective.

My wife, who is Taiwanese, was evangelized by foreign missionaries. (Extremely foreign: Canadians-- who, to their utter dismay, were forever being called Americans. Such a big state country-- you wouldn't think they'd have an identity crisis.) Although she is forever grateful to those dedicated servants, she also acknowledges that there was some resentment (or perhaps cynicism) over the way they lived. Small but not unnoticed things, like the fact that unlike most of the native population (at that time), they enjoyed air conditioned housing.

On the other hand, I can imagine there are cases where foreigners are taken more seriously because of their obvious commitment and sacrifice. Or, in cases where there is national self esteem problem, simply because they are foreigners.

For a view of missionary work that I find just about on-the-mark, take a look at the philosophy of Heart Cry Missions.

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