Abstract: A Christian mission should focus on the way of Jesus Christ, to love people. God often teaches Christians to suffering in life, and leads them to sacrifice their health and suffer the death of martyrdom. People need the power of the Word of life.

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Part 3 of the "Reach the World" Series

The Uniqueness of Our Message

by Aramus Crane, March 18, 2005

What was it that motivated people to give their lives for the Gospel?  There are many answers, but one of the best ones was voiced by the Apostles when Jesus asked them if they would abandon Him.  "To whom would we go?  You have the words of eternal life."  Christianity is as unique as the divine human who started it.  
No other religion has documentation of their leader raising from the dead.  Few even make such a claim.  The immortality of Jesus Christ is the power of Christianity because it shows that our leader is omnipotent. 
When we lose sight of the uniqueness of our Lord, we consider it suffering when the pastor speaks about Him 15 minutes into the football game or when we have to sit on pews without any pads.  The messages of the leaders of all the world's religions begin to sound the same to us.  "They have their beliefs that are just as valid as ours," we blaspheme. The world today is dominated by relativism.  
Universalists consider all ways to God as equal and say we must be open to other people's ideas that Jesus is not THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life.  Robert McQuilkin restates what many Christians maintain, that this point of view makes a mockery of Christ's death because it would have been of no use.  If people could get to Heaven by any way they want, then God was foolish to send His Son to be mocked, tortured and killed.  Our response to Christ in our actions and words demonstrates if we have accepted the unique words of Jesus Christ.
"Is it fair and just for God to condemn those who have not had an opportunity to respond to His offer of grace? The Bible does not teach that God will judge a person for rejecting Christ if he has not heard of Christ. In fact, the Bible teaches clearly that God's judgment is based on a person's response to the truth he has received." (McQuilkin R. "Lost" Perspectives:  A Reader. p.159.)
William Carey opined about the luke-warm attitude towards missions,  "Were the children of light but as wise in their generation as the children of this world, they would stretch every nerve to gain so glorious a prize (as world evangelism)" (op cit) Yet, today, as 213 years ago, Christians lag behind their secular peers in applying the nerves of the mind to the Lord's work.

Our response to Christ in our actions and words demonstrates if we have accepted the unique words of Jesus Christ.

The brain isn't just for children any more.Use the brain to innovate

Lehigh University, where I studied engineering was founded in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania by a railroad magnate and an episcopal bishop.  Their goal was to produce excellent students with Christian character.  I often had the chance to see the old Moravian settlement that gave the city its biblical name.  It had one of the earliest and best hospitals in the colonies that became the United States.  It was so good that Revolutionary War soldiers wounded in Philadelphia were transported to Bethlehem, at that time a day's journey.  The influence of industrious Moravians produced an engineering school rated as one of the best in the country for more than 140 years.  
Although evangelicalism today is often opposed to mental development, this was not always the case.  Many view intelligence as a hindrance to faith.  I don't know how one can listen, read or have faith without being intelligent, but the way they do shows to me that it may just be possible.  Rather, my Bible says that we should honor God with our minds. (Matthew 22:37)
The intelligence that God gave us should be used to innovate new ways to win people for the Lord.  Today, people usually take a cookie-cutter approach that is largely unfruitful.  Beach evangelism using the 4 Spiritual Laws may have worked well in Florida of the 1980's, but it may not work with Sahara Muslims in the 21st Century.  We must innovate different ways to reach different people.
"The Moravian missionaries...were purposely sent to the most despised and neglected people.  [They] were to be self supporting. That emphasis led to the creation of industries and business concerns which not only supported the work but brought the missionaries into intimate contact with the people.  Such self-support could not be undertaken among the American Indians, however, and consequently communal settlements, such as Bethlehem...were founded with a wide range of crafts and industries, the profits of which supported the mission."
"French policy in Canada was the opposite of the Spanish.  Only a small colony was settled to be a base for trade and a bulwark against the English.  The French wanted the furs and other products of the forests and consequently disturbed Indian civilization as little as possible.  The missionaries had to develop a strategy consonant with this policy.  Therefore, they lived with the Indians in their villages, adapting to conditions as well as they could, preaching, teaching, baptizing individuals, performing the rites of the church, allowing the converts still to be Indians.  Some permanent towns with church and school were founded on the borders of French settlements, but most of the inhabitants were transient."
"On the other side of the globe, in what was to become French Indo-China, now Vietnam, where the region came under French rule only much later, a radical new evangelistic strategy was devised by Alexander de Rhodes.  This was necessary because the French missionaries were persecuted and expelled from the region for long periods. Evangelization could only be achieved by native agents. Rhodes created an order of native lay evangelists living under rule who wFanus at the computer.on converts by the thousands. Stimulated by this experience, Rhodes and his associates founded the Foreign Mission Society of Paris dedicated to the policy of recruiting and training a diocesan clergy, who would be the chief agents in the evangelization of the country and the pastoral care of the churches, rather than missionaries. It was a policy marked by outstanding success." (Beaver RP. "The History of Mission Strategy" Perspectives: A Reader, p. 246) 
John Eliot was among the more innovative missionaries to the native Americans.  
"Reading, writing, and simple arithmetic were taught along with Bible study and religious instruction.  Agricultural and domestic crafts were also introduce so that support in a settled and civilized way of life might be possible." (ibid, p. 244) 
Our work with the orphans has paralleled that of John Eliot, with Aurelia teaching reading, writing, and simple arithmetic.  I teach them computer skills so that they can find a decent job to support themselves when they leave the hospital.  The Bible is central to our work.  We use it in reading, writing, and we programmed typing programs where the children type from the Bible.  Sunday evenings we have church services where they sing Christian songs, learn Bible verses and hear Bible stories.  
Part 1: Reach the World
Part 2: The Results of Poor Discipling and Church Planting
Part 3: The Uniqueness of Our Message
Part 4: Self-Glorifying Churches Impede the Gospel Message


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