If you were an aspiring christian missionary, would you take your wife and three young children deep into the jungles of West Papua to a headhunting, cannibalistic tribe who valued treachery as a virtue? Nope, I don’t think I’d have the guts either.
But Don Richardson did. And God blessed his sacrificial ministry.
Another emphasis and core conviction of the Anabaptists that I believe we can all learn from ….
LLM posted an interesting quote from Tim Keller in her blog, Enough Light. Here is a part of it:
“in general, religiously observant people were offended by Jesus, but those estranged from religious and moral observance were intrigued and attracted to him. We see this throughout the New Testament accounts of Jesus’s life. In every case where Jesus meets a religious person and a sexual outcast (as in Luke 7) or a religious person and a racial outcast (as in John 3-4) or a religious person and a political outcast (as in Luke 19), the outcast is the one who connects with Jesus and the elder-brother type does not. Jesus says to the respectable religious leaders ‘the tax collectors and the prostitutes enter the kingdom before you’ (Matthew 21:31).
Evangelical christianity has historically had a strong emphasis on personal salvation, which it sees as coming from repentance and faith in Jesus’ atoning work on the cross. This is generally seen as the main purpose of Jesus’ life and death.
This basic evangelical teaching can be drawn from the letters of Paul (although some theologians question this), but it isn’t so easily seen in the life and teachings of Jesus. Perhaps we need to re-think?
I have been looking at the problem of christians losing faith and turning away from following Jesus (see Making disciples is a new game these days, Why do some christians give up belief?, and Do christians believe for irrational reasons?).
So what should we do about it?
How do we help young christians to be prepared for attacks on their faith, to be able to grow through doubt and questioning, and after all, to stand (Ephesians 6:13)?
We’re taking a look, over a few posts, in why it is getting harder to make disciples in the western world, and why more christians are dropping out.
This post looks at the many different reasons why christians stop believing, and is based my discussions with atheists on forums and blogs over the past six years, and on accounts people give of their own ‘deconversion’ on mainly atheist websites. (These are not too hard to find.)
Jesus told his followers to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20), and for two millennia they did just that, and now about a third of the world follows Jesus, nominally at least. But it’s getting much harder to make disciples in western societies these days, and it is becoming more common for apparently strong disciples to turn away from following Jesus.
I think this is a crucial matter, and I want to devote a number of posts to it. Today, I just want to scope the problem.