St. Francis’ famous saying, “Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words,” can be misused. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal has some interesting insights.
In “How Missionaries Lost Their Chariots of Fire,” Brad Greenberg addresses some trends in global missions today, several which I detailed in The Meeting of the Waters.
- Mercy – “Christians today typically travel abroad to serve others, but not necessarily spread the gospel.” “Missions experts note rising interest in strictly social justice and humanitarian work, even on short-term visits.”
- Migration – “The overwhelming majority of American missionaries today are “vacationaries.”
- Memory – “The term “missions” itself now carries with it a negative connotation, even in politically and theologically conservative circles.”
In reference to the Mercy trend, the author strongly encourages Christians, not just to do good works around the world, but also to share the gospel.
Unless foreigners explain that they are motivated to help by their religious beliefs, locals may be grateful for the new home but they should not be expected to connect dots that they may not even know exist. The reality is the Church should be doing both: serving the needy and spreading the gospel. This is what makes the humanitarian work of Christians different than that of the American Red Cross. Both are motivated by the desire to help others, but Christians are spurred by that Jesus thing.
To read the article discussed above click here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704895204575321101671590716.html#