Better Than Blasphemies



When I was twelve years old, I heard an Indian-American couple share their story at a Calvary Chapel in the States. My family was new to the Protestant circuit, having just begun to step away from the Catholic community (which is to say nothing against the Catholic community; this was just my journey), and these folks were the first “missionaries” I’d encountered. I may not have even heard the term before—and my first impression was bleak. You sold your house to do what? Move back to India? Isn’t it hot there? You did what with your red sports car?! …I wish I had a red sports car….

At press time, only 0.005% of Christians are missionaries to unreached peoples, and only .1% of the global evangelical income is given to missions—with just 1% of that presently given to efforts on the frontier.[1] I have a hunch I’m not the only one with a bleak first impression of global missions. We love our square footage and red sports cars. But if statistics reveal anything, most Christians meet their Maker with that bleak impression.

And if Scripture tells us anything, the Day of the LORD will fact-check us all.[2]

At the risk of a cliché, the world looks a bit different than it did a few years ago. The Syrian Civil War was, at the time, just another conflict emerging out of the Arab Spring—nothing to be said for genocide, chemical warfare, or the splintered bodies of children in the rubble of ancient cities. Osama bin Laden had been tossed in frigid waters, and a bunch of drunk college kids who were learning how to read when 9/11 happened danced in the streets of D.C.. The American Church squabbled a bit over Chick-Fil-A and Duck Dynasty controversies—and had the audacity to call the backlash “persecution.”

Even then, the term “10/40 Window” was a buzzword in the evangelical subculture. Even then, there were gaping holes in the Great Commission. Even then, millions bookended their lives with breaths devoid the name of Jesus. Even then, minarets summoned the 1.6 billion Muslims alive today to bow their knee to a god who can neither see nor hear their prayers—five. times. a. day.

We in the West weren’t confronted then with street bombs, cafe sieges, or YouTube terrorism. We weren’t confronted with black-clad jihadis launching a production company to showcase their slaughters to the world. In our bubble, brutal scourges were in history books, and the post-modern world had evolved to democratic “coexistence.”[3] We’re a few generations removed from the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, and no one taught us the term “caliphate”[4] in grade school. Westerners professing the name of Jesus weren’t confronted with faces of men, women and children who have never heard His Name. We weren’t confronted with angry nations who’ve heard a distortion of the Gospel at best, or with our self-preserving reluctance to bear them a witness worthy of the Name we claim.

We are now.

Generations are “justified” by what they give birth to.[5] Our children will bear testimony on that Day—did it bother us that He was blasphemed? Did it bother us that lives were born and buried without ever being given witness of the Kingdom? Did it bother us that two thousand years after His ascension, we avoided unreached households because we feared their hostility? Will they inherit apathy, or will they meet our King with expectations of His majesty and worth because we taught them every sacrifice is insignificant compared to His glory, His Name? When we were uniquely confronted with a Christless world, how did we respond—were we willing to gamble the Great Commission against our volatile 401(k)?

It’s been several years since I scorned the testimony of those Christ-exalting labourers, and but a few since I first stepped foot on Muslim-majority soil. Western churches are still full of twelve year olds wondering if Jesus is better than all their other options, all their other desires. I pray someone will tell them with their lives that He is. Western nations are still full of believers grappling with the implications of the fact that He is—better than legitimate pleasures, better than sins, better than blasphemies.

If that is the case, it is fundamentally unjust that He is scorned across the earth.

If that is the case, it changes everything.

 

Let goods, kindred and red sports cars go.[6] 


[1]  “General Statistics.” The Traveling Team. http://thetravelingteam.org/stats. Accessed 16 February 2015.

[2]  Isaiah 2:12-22; 4:2; Romans 2:5-8; 3:19; I Corinthians 3:10-15; 4:4b-5; II Timothy 4:1; I Peter 4:5; Revelation 22:12

[3]  Better yet, it is a bumper sticker.

[4]  This refers to an Islamic geopolitical entity ruled by a caliph, a believed successor of Muhammed. The sword of Islam spread its rule across the Middle East, with the established Caliphate ending with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

[5]  Matthew 11:19

[6]  A play on Martin Luther's "A Mighty Fortress" hymn:
Let goods and kindred go
This mortal life also
The body they may kill

God's truth abideth still