…a Hindu, a Muslim, or in an atheistic family or if you were born in India, Saudi Arabia, or Indonesia it is most likely you would not be a Christian or think that the Bible was true.
This was an argument presented to me a little while ago as I posted comments on another website by a person who had deconverted from Christianity. She wanted me to see that if I was not born in the family I was I would have a different view of the gospel and the Bible. It is a ‘what if’ scenario that means nothing because it did not happen and even if it were probable, she still did not see the bigger picture of God and what he can do with people’s lives.
Here is another quote from Richard Stearns book, The Hole In The Gospel, found on pages 70-71:
After a while I asked him, ‘pastor, living in a country that is more than 90 percent Buddhist, how did you come to be a Christian?’ The story he told me was a confirmation of the power of the whole gospel in action.
‘Five years ago,’ he said, ‘ World Vision came to our community and began to work. i was suspicious of those outsiders to our community and was convinced that they had their own hidden agenda. You see, in Cambodia, since the genocide by the Khmer Rouge, we are always distrustful of strangers. But these from World Vision (also Cambodians) set up a TB clinic to care for those suffering from TB. They improved the schools our children attended, and they taught better agricultural methods to the farmers to improve our yields. But I was still suspicious and even angry , convinced that they were up to no good. Why would these strangers help us? I thought.
‘One day I confronted them, and I went to the World Vision leader and demanded to know why they were here. His answer took me by surprise. He said, We are followers of Jesus Christ and we are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are here to show you that God loves you.”
What the person I was discussing with missed was two things. First, she was under the assumption that just because someone was born into a Christian family, or ‘nation’ and was raised in the church, that they were automatically Christian. She did not realize that no one is born a believer and that every child born into a Christian family must make that decision to accept Christ as their savior and be born again.
She thought that being taught the Bible by parents or Sunday school teachers, made one accept the Bible as inerrant, God’s word, and that the Christian church was the only church that held the truth. The reality of this is that is just not so. Again,l having such instruction does not make the child accept such truths about God, the Bible and the truth. Again they must realize these teachings are right and accept them as such.
Being born in a Christian environment doe snot remove the necessity of needing a savior like those who live in those countries whose national religion is vastly different from Christianity.
The second thing she missed was the work of missionaries, the HS and the power of God’s word. Being born into a non-Christian environment doe snot mean that God cannot reach a person and save them from their sins. Being born into a different family does not negate the reality of that person becoming a believer in Christ and accept the Bible as the truth.
For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.(Ps 139:13 NASB)
You see God already knew whom he wanted to save even before they were born thus where one is born does not play a real part in their coming to salvation. God will send someone to them, while preparing their hearts to accept the gospel message and repent of their sins. Even though I am not a fan of World Vision right now, God uses different organizations and gets them to go where he wants them to be thus even if a believing westerner was born into a different culture, God would still ensure their salvation.
The argument presented to me become merely an excuse to for the presenter to not believe. They try to convince themselves that God cannot work in people’s lives and that our beliefs are due to our human situation and NOT the power of the gospel and the working of the Jesus and the HS. It is an erroneous argument because it holds no validity and denies God sovereignty over the world. It tries to make situations greater than God.
Then to change topics a bit here, as I was writing that quote, it struck as odd how so many westerners move into 3rd world and other less fortunate countries and set up hospitals, clinics, work to improve schools and farming, plus feel that that is normal and not odd yet refuse to do the same thing in their own countries for their own less fortunate people.
We do not hear of many organizations, if there are any, moving into ghettos and working to improve the health situation there or the scholastic environment. Most of the time I hear of people complaining about how bad things are and demand that the government do something. But such people are naive as the government is secular and not working with God thus any ‘reform’ they might bring will be more of the same instead of truly life changing.
I remember seeing in the streets of LA where churches go in once a week, serve some food, preach a message then disappear and leave those people in their dire straits thinking they will find their own way out again. We do not do that on the international mission field so why are we doing it at home? Why are we abandoning our own country man while doing everything we can to ‘save’ those who do not have the amenities found in western society?
I am not knocking or criticizing those who do the international work and really roll up their sleeves remaining to help those people overcome their troubles, I am questioning why we do not apply the same attitude and work ethic to our poor and oppressed. A quick search tells me that approx. ‘40% of Americans are functionally illiterate’ and ‘1 in 6 people struggle with hunger’ I hate to see what those figures are for the rest of the western world.
We have a serious problem and the governments have proven that they cannot fix them. Time for the church to put God’s word into action and start following ‘love they neighbor’ at home first before heading overseas. The church does not need the government to work in solving problems, they need to remove sin from their lives and partner with God., just like they do for the international mission field. There is nothing stopping a believer from signing up to fill educational voids and actually teach their subjects so the students get the best material to learn from.
We do not need teachers preaching the gospel to their classrooms, we need them living it by following God’s lead to educate them correctly and live their lives in a manner that reflects Christ. Too many school shave problems with secular teachers who are ‘off’ in some way. We do not need to add to those problems but help relieve them.
There are ways to make a difference.