Yesterday I had the opportunity to accompany a short term mission team visiting the Chicagoland area to a Hindu temple on a prayer walk. We went inside and prayed in the main sanctuary -praying against the idols there and for the people who were clearly in bondage to them. My spirit was grieved within me, as the Apostle Paul was as he looked upon the city of Athens given over to idols in Acts 17. I was reminded that we are temples of the Holy Spirit and we as believers were extending the presence of God's temple into that pagan temple. Even though we are living in the 21st century, it felt as if I was transported back to the 1st century as we watched people eat food sacrificed to idols. We had the opportunity to ask some of the people worshipping there about their beliefs, and it reminded me of the desperate need to understand their beliefs in order to contextualize the Gospel for them. I had to repent for my lack of passion to reach the lost in my own back yard, and for my dependence on Western style apologetics for sharing my faith. I was reminded of the story about Sadhu Sundar Singh,"[Sadhu Sundar Singh] recognized a basic dilemma of the Christian mission to India. A Brahmin had collapsed in the hot, crowded carriage and, at the next station, the Anglo-Indian stationmaster came rushing with a cup of water from the refreshment room. The Brahmin -- a high-caste Hindu -- thrust it away in horror. He needed water, but he could only accept it in his own drinking vessel. When that was brought he drank, and revived. In the same way, [b]Sundar Singh realized, India would not widely accept the gospel of Jesus offered in Western guise[/b]. That, he recognized, was why many listeners responded to him in his Indian Sadhu's robe."The Lord Jesus is bringing many foreigners to our lands, whether they be the United States, Canada or Europe. Many of these people are coming from the 10/40 window, an area of the world where the Gospel witness is severely limited. In Acts 17:26 to 27 it says, "From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and [b]he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live[/b]. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us."God is bringing the mission field to us, are we willing to go out into that mission field in our backyards and share the Gospel with the aliens and foreigners that he is bringing into our borders?
I am reminded of Paul's words:"For though I amfree with respect to all, I have made myselfa slave to all, so that I might win more ofthem. To the Jews I became as a Jew, inorder to win the Jews. To the weak I becameweak; so that I might win the weak, I havebecome all things to all people, that I mightby all means save some."
_________________Martin G. Smith
I obviously needed to add some controversial reference to Calvinism/Arminianism or Original Sin or the nature of the Trinity to this post in order for people to read it and respond to it... that is kind of sad.