A Chronicle of Renewal and Revival

Archive for July, 2011

Reviews (10) Evangelism

Renewal Journal 10: Evangelism

Book Review

Flashpoints of Revival
1st edition, 1998; 2nd expanded edition, 2009
Renewal Journal eStore – $9

Korean edition:
Revivals Awaken Generations
Koorong Bookstore
– $12.95



Revival Fires (2011) is a further expanded, updated version now available through Randy Clark’s Global Awakening website.
Global Awakening Bookstore – $21.99


 Review from the Foreword by Dr C. Peter Wagner (1998)

Geoff Waugh and I agree that our generation is likely to be an eye witness to the greatest outpouring of the Holy Spirit that history has ever known.  Many others join us in this expectation, some of them sensing that it will come in the next few years.

I have heard more reports of revival‑like activity in the past three years than in the previous thirty.  This has caused revival to be a more frequent topic of Christian conversation than I have ever seen.  There is an extraordinary hunger for learning more about how the hand of God works in revival.

That is a major reason why Flashpoints of Revival is such a timely book.  Christian libraries are well stocked with detailed accounts of certain revivals as well as scholarly analytical histories of revival.  But I know of no other book like this one that provides rapid‑fire, easy‑to‑read, factual literary snapshots of virtually every well‑known revival since Pentecost.

As I read this book, I was thrilled to see how God has been so mightily at work in so many different times and places.  I felt like I had grasped the overall picture of revival for the first time, and I was moved to pray that God, indeed, would allow me not to be just an observer, but rather a literal participant in the worldwide outpouring that will soon come.  As you read the book, I am sure you will be saying the same thing.

**********

Comments on Flashpoints of Revival

Geoff Waugh’s comprehensive and up-to-date book provides a global perspective of the unexpected and transforming work of the Holy Spirit. Read, be inspired and encouraged.      Rev Dr John Olley

The first time I read this book, I couldn’t put it down.  Not only were the stories researched with clear and concise data, but they provide an account of revivals that blew my mind away.  An inspirational read.        Romulo Nayacalevu, Fiji

This work is of great significance.  It is a comprehensive overview of the major revivals during the last three centuries. Churches and Christians around the world will benefit greatly from this timely contribution.    Rev Prof Dr James Haire

It will be a compendium for historians and others interested in the subject for a long time to come. I doubt if there is a resource quite like it for logical progression and comprehensive treatment.     Rev Tony Cupit

It is very informative and up to date concerning revivals both past and present. I am confident that this book will be well received by many scholars and historians.      Rev Dr Naomi Dowdy

This is a great reference book providing information of when, where and how God has touched regions and people groups with his manifest presence over history. Many of these events are included and reported on providing the reader with an overview and insight into when revival has broken out and its impact on people, church and society.      Martin Mitchell (Amazon)

© Renewal Journal 10: Evangelism, 1997, 2nd edition 2011.
Reproduction is allowed with the copyright intact with the text.

Now available in updated book form (2nd edition 2011)
Renewal Journal 10: Evangelism – Discounted in eStore – $7

Renewal Journal eStore – all publications

Contents of all Renewal Journals

Amazon – Renewal Journal 10: Evangelism – $8

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Characteristics of Revivals, by Richard Riss

Historian Dr Richard Riss (left with wife Kathryn) has written books on revival including A Survey of 20th-Century Revival Movements in North America (1988) and Images of Revival (1997).  His doctoral research at Drew University included study of the current revival awakening. 
 

Revivals and Misrepresentations

During the course of my study of revivals over the past twenty‑three years, one of the things that has fascinated me is the extent to which they are misrepresented.  These misrepresentations are usually widely believed, creating stumbling blocks which prevent many people from partaking in the forgiveness, love, joy, refreshing, healing, reconciliation, character development, and other benefits which are freely available through a move of God of this kind.

Jonathan Edwards wrote of this phenomenon in connection with the outset of the Great Awakening, which began at his church in Northampton, Massachusetts in December of 1734.  In the introductory portion of his Narrative of the Surprising Work of God, he said that the Great Awakening was being “exceedingly misrepresented by reports that were spread . . . [to] distant parts of the land.”  These reports were spread by other Christians, many of whom were in positions of leadership in the churches.  Edwards wrote that, “When this work of God first appeared, and was so extraordinarily carried on among us in the winter, others round about us seemed not to know what to make of it, and there were many that scoffed at and ridiculed it; and some compared what we called conversion to certain distempers. “Because people really didn’t understand what was happening, they began to say negative things about it.

These bad reports spread throughout the entire country, and this had a lasting effect on peoples’ willingness to accept that what was happening was a work of God.  He wrote, “A great part of the country have not received the most favorable thoughts of this affair, and to this day many retain a jealousy concerning it, and prejudice against it.”  Unfortunately, when people begin to become predisposed against something, it is no longer an easy matter for them to benefit from it, and they will sometimes attempt to put a stop to it.

In the concluding remarks of the same work, Edwards referred again to “the innumerable misrepresentations which have gone abroad” concerning the revival that began in his church.  He stated that because of this, it had been necessary for him to go into great detail about what God was actually doing within the context of the beginning of what we now know as the Great Awakening.

One of the reasons that people misunderstand revival is that it tends to create a great deal of chaos and disorder.  Normal church programs are usually suspended.  People are caught up in the things of God.  They often fall to the ground or make unusual noises; they weep or laugh or act as though drunk.  This was as true for the Great Awakening as it was for any other revival (for details, see Images of Revivals).

During the Second Awakening in America, Charles Finney said some of the same things about misrepresentation of what God was doing.  He lamented in his Memoirs that “it has been common for good men, in referring to those revivals, to assume that although they were upon the whole, revivals of religion, yet . . . they were so conducted that great disorders were manifest in them, and that there was much to deplore in their results.  Now all this is an entire mistake.”

This is a very common phenomenon during revivals.  People will assume, based upon misleading reports, that there is a great deal of mixture in them and that there is “much to deplore in their results.”  Yet, one could be a perfect leader and still encounter storms of criticism; this is exactly what happened to Jesus Christ.

A little bit later, Finney wrote, “Until I arrived at Auburn, I was not fully aware of the amount of opposition I was destined to meet from the ministry; not the ministry in the region where I had laboured, but from ministers where I had not labored, and who knew personally nothing of me, but were influenced by the false reports which they heard.”  Finney found it amazing that his critics would believe so many of the reports that they had heard.

However, there is a sense in which this phenomenon is not surprising at all.  The spread of false reports and negative attitudes with respect to a work of God is a sure sign that it is genuine, because it indicates that the enemy is at work, attempting to discredit it.

The temptation to belittle the work of God is greatest among those who might have a tendency to feel that they would have something to lose if people were allowed to partake in it.  There are strong temptations to jealously even among Christian leaders.  Those who yield to such temptations are in danger of undermining the work of God by belittling the very thing that is bringing life and blessing to those who love Him.

God, in His wisdom, has His own reasons for allowing false reports to arise concerning His work.  The stumbling blocks will therefore inevitably come, but woe to those through whom the stumbling blocks come.

The following summary indicates characteristics common to revivals and awakenings.

Characteristics of Revivals and Awakenings

1.   How Awakenings Arise

a.   They always emerge against a backdrop of very serious spiritual decline or intense spiritual dryness.

b.   They are the product of intense prayer.

c.   When people pray for reawakening, God seems to give the answer to their prayers in places that they least expect it.

d.   At the beginning of an awakening, there is often an exhilarating sense of expectancy.

e.   Revivals are often brought about by telling people about the revivals of the past.

f.   There is often a specific point in time at the outset of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit at which God’s presence is suddenly recognized by the people.  The power of God falls spontaneously.

g.   Revivals of this kind seem to emerge at the same time in many different places.

2.   Who becomes involved?

a.   The Lord breathes new life into the Church.

b.   He brings multitudes of new believers into His body.

c.   Those who are already Christian enter more deeply into the fullness of salvation.

d.   People recognize a similarity of the revival to any previous revivals they have experienced.

e.   Backsliders are reclaimed.

f.   People often come out of curiosity or skepticism and become believers.

g.   There are conversions of ministers.

3.   The Spread of the News

a.   At the outset of revival, there is very little organization.

b.   Advertizing is largely by word of mouth.

c.  People are sometimes drawn to the scene of revival by an irresistible power.

d.   People come from miles away.

e. People flock from everywhere.

f.   There are crowds.

g.   It is contagious.

h.   There are often secular newspaper accounts of an awakening.

4.   Conviction of Sin, Righteousness, and Judgment

a.   Revival is characterized by widespread repentance and brokenness.

b.   There is a great deal of meditation upon God’s character.

c.   There is an awakening of conscience.

d.   There is conviction of sin.

e.   People are given an immediate revelation of God’s glory and of their own sinfulness and inadequacy before him.

f.   In some cases, people for blocks around are confronted with their own sin and God’s majesty.

g.   People suddenly become deeply convinced of their lostness.

h.   An awesome fear of God and His judgment comes upon everyone.

i.   Revivals bring the individual face to face with the eternal questions of one’s nature and destiny.

j.   People suddenly become aware of the terrors of hell.

k.   This is accompanied by deep distress over one’s wickedness.

l.   The urge to pray, especially for salvation, is irresistible.

m.   There are sometimes manifestations of shaking or trembling.

n.   There are often strange manifestations of emotion in people in response to these experiences, including laughter, weeping, barking or yelping, and roaring.

o.   People therefore seek forgiveness from God through Christ’s shed blood.

p.   They then find redemption in His blood; they are given assurance of forgiveness of sin and of salvation.

q.   This is accompanied with joy and peace.

r.   Even the skeptical and stubborn will also grieve over their sins until they find assurance.

5.   Freedom & Reconciliation

a.   God frees people from bondage to sinful habits, bad attitudes, and emotional disturbances, breaking the power of ‘cancelled sin,’ as Charles Wesley put it.

b.   Old prejudices are changed radically.

c.   Broken homes are reunited.

d.   There is widespread reconciliation.

e.   There comes a depth of love for one’s brothers and sisters in Christ beyond measure.

f.   People receive a fresh sense of the unity of believers in all times and places.

g.   It puts an end to cursing, blasphemy, drunkenness and uncleanness in a town.  There is a cessation of fighting, clamor, bitterness, and so forth.

h.   Rather, joy and peace become predominant in a place that has experienced an awakening.

6.   Heaven Upon Earth

a.   People become so preoccupied with the things of God that they don’t want to talk about anything else.

b.   There is an unusually vivid sense of God’s presence, and of joy, love and peace.

c.   There are sometimes manifestations of laughter and speechlessness.

d.   There is a completely different, refreshing atmosphere where God is present.

e.   People experience heaven upon earth.

f.   Meetings are often of protracted length.  Time passes very quickly.

g.   There is a feeling of release, or freedom in the Spirit.

h.   People feel refreshed.  There is a new lilt to everyone’s steps.

i.   People suddenly have an intense enthusiasm about the things of God.

j.   There is considerable praise to God.

k.   There is singing in the Spirit of such harmonies as are almost never heard on earth.

l.   There is dancing in the Spirit.

m.  There are manifestations of spiritual gifts.

n.   Children prophesy.

7.   Ministry During Divine Visitations

a.   God often raises up people as instruments for bringing about revival who have few natural talents and abilities.

b.   Women and lay people find a greater place for leadership in revival.

c.   His Word goes forth in power.

d.   The Lord anoints with the Spirit the preaching, teaching, counselling, and music such that it has an ability to penetrate the hearts of the people.

e.   There is always considerable revelation upon God’s Word, which takes on a new freshness.

f.   People in a revival are almost invariably orthodox theologically on the great basics of the Christian faith.  There is a great emphasis upon the Bible and its teachings.

g.   There is a great stress usually laid upon the suffering, cross, blood and death of Jesus Christ.

h.   People fall under God’s power.

i.   People begin to laugh or cry, or develop characteristics similar to drunkenness.

j.   Physical ailments are sometimes healed.

k.   These phenomena are accompanied by the healing of shattered lives.

8.   Enthusiasm for God’ Precious Word

a.   The Bible comes alive for people

b.   There is always a deep thirst for the Word of God.

c.   People hang upon every word that is preached.

d.   There are phenomenal increases in the sales of New Testaments and Bibles.

e.   Those who are used of God in bringing about revival receive far more calls to preach than they can ever answer, and are harried mercilessly.

9.   Beyond Superficialities

a.   A spirit of sacrifice is often prevalent in a revival.

b.   People spend whole nights in prayer.

c.   Revival usually produces a zeal for the saving of the lost and, there, for missions.

d.   God brings revelation.

e.   People gather together to share in the faith for mutual upbuilding.

f.   Superficial profession, baptism and church membership pale in significance, with an emphasis being placed upon spiritual life, of which the former things are merely tokens.

g.   Old institutional forms often begin to seem inadequate to people who are experiencing an awakening.

10.  The Rise of Impurities

a.   Human frailty is inevitably an ingredient in any revival.

b.   It is case for amazement even to seasoned preachers and evangelists to see what happens during seasons of awakening.

c.   Belief in the imminent coming of Christ has characterized every movement of awakening since the first century.  This has often led to the setting of dates for Christ’s return.

d.   Those who try to mold a revival to their own tastes or control it are usually swept aside.

e.   Because so many young, inexperienced converts are involved, there will be many extravagances.

f.   There is a temptation to spiritual pride, and to take ones own imagination for impressions from God.

g.   In a revival, there will always be some who violate Biblical truth.

h.   Belief that they alone are instrumental in the accomplishment of God’s purposes often characterizes both individuals and groups experiencing revival.

11.  Controversy During Outpourings of God’s Spirit

a.   There are always bad reports about what goes on in a revival, both true and false.

b.   Many people remain aloof for this reason.

c.   A revival is always accompanied with a great deal of controversy.

d.   There is always intense opposition and persecution.

e.   There is reproach upon every revival.

f.   Revival always involves an advance of God’s kingdom in spiritual warfare against the strongholds of Satan.

g.   The enemy will attempt to hinder the work of God at all costs.

h.   Satan attempts to discredit revival by mimicking God’s work.

12.  The Decline of an Awakening

a.   A revival will crest to a high point and then decrease.

b.   After a revival crests, offenses will come.

c.   Many people will feel ill will instead of good will toward the leaders of a revival.

d.   They will begin to disapprove of what they formerly approved.

e.   They will fasten upon bad reports, true or false, in order to justify their changes in attitude.

f.   Many of those who were more or less convinced will be afraid or ashamed to acknowledge their conviction of faith.

13.  The Long Term Effects

a.   A new flood of hymns and scriptures set to music gains widespread circulation and use.

b.   It has lasting, profound effects upon the lives of many of the people involved.

c.   It spawns great ministries which then thrive well past the time of the revival.

d.   There is a tremendous impact on society and many social reforms are effected.

Being aware of these characteristics can help us avoid the extremes of blindly accepting everything in a revival as from God or of resisting and quenching the Spirit by opposing what God is doing, even if the impacts of the Spirit are overwhelming.

Used with permission from the Awakening E-mail and Second Wind.

© Renewal Journal 10: Evangelism, 1997, 2nd edition 2011.
Reproduction is allowed with the copyright intact with the text.

Now available in updated book form (2nd edition 2011)
Renewal Journal 10: Evangelism – Discounted in eStore – $7

Renewal Journal eStore – all publications

Contents of all Renewal Journals

Amazon – Renewal Journal 10: Evangelism – $8

Amazon – all journals and books

Return to main page

Pentecostal/Charismatic Pioneers, by Daryl Brenton

Daryl Brenton wrote this article summarising the influence of 20 pioneers in his Bachelor of Ministry studies at the School of Ministries of Christian Heritage College at Brisbane Christian Outreach Centre.  He served in Papua New Guinea as a Language Programme Co-ordinator with the Bible Translation Association.

 _______________________________________________

Christ as Saviour, Sanctifier/Baptiser in the Holy Spirit,

Healer, and Coming Lord, are important in the formation

of Pentecostal/Charismatic ministry and evangelism.

________________________________________________

The late 19th Century saw a blend of four major doctrines that produced a seedbed for Pentecostal/Charismatic theology and ministry in popular Evangelical and Fundamental circles. These doctrines: Christ as Saviour, Sanctifier/Baptiser in the Holy Spirit, Healer, and Coming Lord, are important in the formation of Pentecostal/charismatic ministry and evangelism.

A Precursor

Edward Irving (1792‑1834) was appointed as a Scottish Presbyterian pastor of a London congregation in 1822. He developed a Christology which essentially said that Jesus took on the complete human condition and was only enabled to live a sinless life or work any miracles through the operation of the Holy Spirit. Thus the means of sanctification and miracles were considered to come via the operation of the Holy Spirit in people.  His church used gifts of the Spirit including tongues, prophecy and healing prayer.  Expelled from his church, he established the Catholic Apostolic Church.  The movement was used by early Pentecostal theologians as an interpretative guide for their own experience.

Two Instigators

Charles Parham (1873‑1929) was the founder of two bible schools and many Apostolic Faith churches, author of two books and editor of a publication promoting Pentecostal theology.  He was first to formulate the opinion that baptism in the Spirit was shown by the occurrence of speaking in other tongues (1901).  This gave emerging Pentecostals an identity separate from previous holiness movements.  Along with this, he gave the movement a strong missionary emphasis through his expectation that the reinstatement of tongues would lead to a world‑wide missionary movement and had a large influence on the spread of the doctrine of divine healing.

William Seymour (1870‑1922) was the other outstanding person involved in the beginning of the Pentecostal movement.  Seymour was influenced by Parham’s theology and started a mission (1906) which became famous/infamous as thousands of people came to see what was happening.  Publication of the periodical, Apostolic Faith reached 50,000 and gave Seymour a wide influence.  While his influence was curtailed by 1914, Seymour is still regarded as having influenced every Pentecostal strand, either directly or indirectly through the Azusa St. Mission in Los Angeles.

Classic Pentecostals

Donald Gee (1891‑1966) spent a significant amount of time as a Bible teacher, editor, author, historian and Pentecostal theologian.  He served as vice chairman and chairman of the British A.O.G. for ten years and three years respectively.  With this influence, Gee tried to stifle the parochialism of the day and made efforts to promote ecumenicalism within and without Pentecostalism.  His wrote more than thirty books and over five hundred articles.

Smith Wigglesworth (1859‑1947), an effective personal evangelist, was primarily famous for his emphasis on faith and the miraculous healings and other answers to prayer that accompanied his ministry.  This combination has made Wigglesworth an important example for Christians of every denomination to believe for miraculous answers from God and was often called the Apostle of Faith.  Wigglesworth was influential in the life of David du Plessis through a prophecy and subsequent advice, which directed David into a widespread ecumenical ministry.

Healing Evangelists

Maria Woodworth‑etter (1844‑1924) started as a Holiness minister.  Because she was a woman preacher and her meetings were attended with supernatural occurrences, she drew great media attention.  From 1885 on, her ministry had large numbers of conversions.  She claimed to experience speaking in tongues, prophecy and other charismata.  In 1912, Maria preached at F.F.Bosworth’s church, influencing many important Pentecostal leaders in the USA.  All of this greatly helped to spread the Pentecostal message and must have served the cause of women’s calling and gifting in ministry.

Aimee Semple Mcpherson (1890‑1944) served as an evangelist for the A.O.G. and later founded the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.  She edited a publication, The Bridal Call, opened a radio station, wrote several books, started a bible college (L.I.F.E.) and an aid organisation for the poor and distressed and encouraged many women to enter into ministry.  One of her main goals was to challenge her followers to trust in Jesus.  Her vision was interdenominational and world wide, from the start.

John G. Lake (1870‑1935) was noted for a marvellous healing ministry and his contribution to the establishment of the Apostolic Faith Mission in South Africa where he established over 600 churches in seven years.  He was influenced by Alexander Dowie, William Seymour and Charles Parham.  In his missionary work, John helped to establish one of the largest works in South Africa.  Returning to America, John settled in Spokane, Washington and established some churches and his famous Healing Rooms.  Here it was estimated that over 100,000 people were healed.

Oral Roberts (1918‑) is internationally famous for his message of hope and healing. Oral’s huge crusades helped to revitalise Pentecostalism after WWII, he was instrumental in helping form the FGBMFI and greatly influenced the foundation of the Charismatic movement with his ecumenical style.  Wide spread use of TV, radio, books, magazines, newspaper articles, personalised letters and intercessory prayer made him one of the most influential Christian leaders in the USA.  His decision, in 1968, to affiliate with the United Methodist church formed a bridge for the Pentecostal message to move into mainline churches.  Oral established one of the most amazing educational organisations in the world.  The Oral Roberts University and the City of Faith medical and research facility, both run on Christian principles and prepare many Christians for the ministry, mission work and vocations.

Kathryn Kuhlman (1907‑76) was one of the world’s best known female evangelists.  By the age of twenty eight, Kathryn had established a church with a 2,500 seater building and an influential radio ministry.  At thirty nine, miraculous healings unexpectedly began to occur in her meetings, bringing her national fame through ‘Redbook’ magazine.  She regularly filled a 7000 seat auditorium for ten years, having outgrown one with 2500 seats.  Kathryn had a great impact on the Charismatic movement through her widespread fame.

The Latter Rain Movement

George Hawtin (1909‑) was prominent in the early Latter Rain movement.  He pioneered a bible institute as a Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada pastor in 1935.  George resigned in 1947 and joined Herrick Holt’s ‘Sharon’s Global Missions’ as president.  Shortly after this, a revival in the bible school brought him a leading role in the resulting movement.  His leadership was rapidly eclipsed as others took on leadership roles.

Myrtle Beall (1896‑1979) ‑ founded the Bethesda Missionary Temple, with a 3000 seat building, from a Sunday school ministry.  Originally an A.O.G. church, the Bethesda temple withdrew its membership, as it became a centre of the Latter Rain movement.  It provided direction for many North American churches.  Her son James succeeded her as senior pastor in the late 1970’s and is an influential charismatic renewal leader and contributed to many charismatic journals.  Myrtle’s daughter, Patricia Gruits, authored an important book, Understanding God (1962), which has influenced many churches’ theology in the USA.

Modern Pentecostals

Yonngi Cho (1936‑) was elected general superintendent of the Korean A.O.G. in 1966 and is the pastor of the world’s largest single congregation with 800,000 people.  Cho has also authored many books on faith and church growth which have been very influential.  Perhaps Cho’s greatest contribution has been the establishment of ‘Church Growth International’, which has promoted the principles of home cells, prayer and fasting, which have made such a change to his church.

Demos Shakarian (1913‑) was the founder of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International and has helped to spread the Pentecostal message into many countries.  FGBMFI has over 300,000 members world wide and is a non‑denominational organisation.  It has been a great impetus to the Charismatic movement.

David du Plessis (1905‑87) was instrumental in promoting ecumenical fellowship between factions of the Pentecostal movement and later, between the Pentecostals and Evangelicals.  Perhaps his greatest influence was in his unofficial liaison between the Pentecostal movement and the World Council of Churches.  Through this work, representatives from mainline churches found a non‑antagonistic representative of the Pentecostal message with whom they could establish a rapport.  He also lectured in many universities and seminaries This greatly influenced the formation of the Charismatic movement.

David Wilkerson (1931‑) was an A.O.G. pastor who established Teen Challenge as an organisation which would cater for the converts from his successful street evangelism ministry in New York City.  He established a bible institute as a part of Teen Challenge and the organisation has become international as World Challenge.  David also co‑founded Times Square church in New York City.  Of his many books, perhaps the most influential has been The Cross and the Switchblade which sparked interest about baptism in the Holy Spirit from both Protestant and Catholic circles.

Loren Cunningham (1914‑) was the founder of Youth With a Mission (YWAM).  Once an A.O.G. youth pastor, Cunningham’s vision has spawned an international missionary organisation that is primarily manned by self‑supporting, short‑term, volunteer youth.  Through this organisation, a school of ministry has been established, much missionary work has been accomplished in many countries and aid has been distributed to needy countries.  YWAM’s emphasis is on spiritual and physical aid to the mission field and finding, then obeying God’s will.

John Wimber (1934‑) founded the Vineyard Ministries International.  John had worked as a church growth consultant with hundreds of churches of many denominations.  The occurrence of healings in his ministry in 1977, launched him into an international ministry and an intense church planting program.  He lectured at Fuller Seminary on the relationship of miracles and church growth, influencing many upcoming ministers.

The Charismatic Movement

Dennis Bennett (1917‑) was an Episcopalian clergyman who was baptised in the Spirit in 1959.  Taking over a parish which was due to close for the third time, Dennis transformed it into the strongest Episcopalian parish in Northwest America within twelve years.  His testimony introduced thousands of people to the charismatic experience in the US.  and overseas, often lecturing in major universities and theological schools.  He helped to found the Episcopal Renewal Ministries.

John Sherrill (1923‑) worked as senior editor for Guideposts for several years and with his wife Elizabeth, has co‑authored several influential charismatic books.  His, They Speak with other Tongues was an important book in shaping the charismatic movement.  It explained charismatic phenomena and how he, an Episcopalian, had been baptised in the Spirit.  He and his wife also co‑authored The Cross and the Switchblade, another influential book

Pentecostalism can be seen as a bridge between the currents of the Holiness movement and the modern Charismatic movement.  It preserved a specific type of theology with a strong emphasis on evangelism in the power of the Holy Spirit that has been released into the main body of Christendom in recent years.  Its ministers came from all walks and stations of life and reflect God’s multi‑faceted character.

 

 Language Programme Co-ordinator

  with Bible Translation Association

 One of the stories which really affected me was about an expatriate translator who was working in the Sepik province of Papua New Guinea in the 1970s.  Once, after a three-hour canoe ride, this translator arrived in a village of another language group and she noticed that there was a church building in the village square.  When she asked the people if there was a missionary staying with them, they replied that no, there was not.  She asked if they had a pastor and again they said, “No.”  Finally, she asked them why they had built a church and they answered, “We are waiting for someone to come and translate God’s Word for us.”  When I heard these words, I began to realise that English readers have dozens of Bible translations, and thousands of Bible resources, but many people do not even have scripture in their language, let alone commentaries, Bible studies, and other books that we take for granted.  The tragedy of this story is that no one was available to take up the project in this particular village.

While thinking about these kinds of issues, we met the Executive Director of the PNG Bible Translation Association as he was passing through Brisbane.  It occurred to me that if a time ever came when expatriate organisations would have to leave the country, a national organisation could still be effectively in place.  So, I thought that helping BTA would be something important that I could do to support the Kingdom of God in Papua New Guinea.

Daryl Brenton (http://pngbta.org/node/70)

 

 


© Renewal Journal 10: Evangelism, 1997, 2nd edition 2011.
Reproduction is allowed with the copyright intact with the text.

Now available in updated book form (2nd edition 2011)
Renewal Journal 10: Evangelism – Discounted in eStore – $7

Renewal Journal eStore – all publications

Contents of all Renewal Journals

Amazon – Renewal Journal 10: Evangelism – $8

Amazon – all journals and books

Return to main page

Evangelism to People Groups, “My Resume” (by Paul Grant)

Evangelism to People Groups

 My Resumé

* Born and raised a God-fearer

* A hard working man, loyal to my family

* Jesus interrupted me at work one day and gave me a call to serve him

* I followed him

* I left my job and gave it everything I had

* I failed sometimes, but was mostly successful

* I was filled with the Spirit and was used in signs and wonders ministry among thousands of people

* I thought I knew everything

* I was a widely recognised leader with an evangelistic-apostolic ministry

* But just about all my ministry was among my own people

* One day things changed

* I had an out-of this-world experience directing me to leave my cultural comfort zone and join with people of another kind.  These strange people were seeking God.

* I saw God pour out his Spirit on them

* I’d had this experience myself 12 years before.  But I got wrapped up in the church so much I didn’t have much time or care for other groups of people.  My church was my culture, and my culture captured and ruled my Christian beliefs and ways

* But when I saw God pouring out his Spirit on people I thought were weird, God shook me up and I came to see that all people in the world are equally loved by him.  His special gifts are for everyone

* Yes, I was a Pentecostal for 12 years.  But a very narrow-minded one!  Now I am a world Christian!

Signed, Simon Peter,

Transformed Christian Jew

(By Paul Grant)

 

 

 

© Renewal Journal 10: Evangelism, 1997, 2nd edition 2011.
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Gospel Essentials, by Charles Taylor

Dr Charles V. Taylor is a well known Australian linguist, Bible teacher, author, and Christian magazine contributor.  His doctoral studies researched the Nkore-Kiga language of Uganda in Africa where he served as a missionary.

 ______________________________

we can sort out a basic set of beliefs

______________________________

Evangelism these days isn’t always simple and straightforward.  Sometimes we mix with people of different traditions and in so doing it is possible to compromise the simplicity of the Gospel.  No one should be against co-operation between different fellowships, but that isn’t the point.  We must guard against a sort of ‘Jesus plus’ approach to evangelism.

Different fellowships may place emphasis on different aspects of what they perceive as truth.  If that particular emphasis dominates evangelism, or even if it is just an optional extra, it not only makes for a bending of the Gospel message, but a disunity among evangelists.  For this reason we should try to find a kind of nuclear Gospel; a message all can, indeed must, agree as basic.

What then are the essentials of the Christian faith?  There was a time when most Christians would recite their creeds weekly.  Pentecostals and many others, such as Baptists, tend to play down creeds as too binding.  Yet the church has always defended its basics from the very start.  The New Testament epistles spend a fair amount of time defending the faith.

I believe we can sort out a basic set of beliefs which should be regarded as binding on those who seek the proclaim the faith to a disbelieving world.

Some of us have encountered situations where a non-Christian is told, ‘Jesus loves you’ but where the reply gives the impression, ‘Anyway I’m a lovable person, so what?’  This is possible because no indication was given of any need, and no awareness of need was present.  Before it can be accepted, the Gospel needs both repentance and faith.

Not only can we add to the Gospel message.  We can also subtract from it by concentrating only on the love of God or of Jesus, according to the approach used.  This is another reason why we should have a minimum Gospel message.  We don’t want ‘Jesus plus’, but neither do we want ‘Jesus minus’.

Jesus makes no sense in terms of salvation unless he is known for who he is.  As a fellow human being he can do nothing for humanity unless he is greater than any human.  He has to be the God-man.  So we need to begin with God himself, his nature and power.  So what is the absolute minimum?

We can begin with the biblical declaration that

(1) God exists.  Two psalms declare that the fool says, ‘There’s no God’.  Yes, we need a superpower.  But then, he isn’t a mere outsider.

(2) He created us for himself.  And,

(3) he has rights as the Ruler of earth and its Judge.  In religious jargon, he is Lord.  That indeed was the challenge to Christians in a hostile world where Caesar was lord.

What does this have to do with Jesus Christ?  Well, Jesus made claims, so either he was lying or deluded, or else he was really God in human form.  This is where belief enters and where Jesus’ life and death become meaningful or else irrelevant.  The evangelist’s job is to show that those claims have urgent meaning for helpless people and truly,

(4) we do have needs.

(5) Jesus was incarnated supernaturally, and

(6) his coming was foretold in writing, the most permanent way of keeping records during most of history.

(7) He lived a sinless life, but yet,

(8) he willingly died a criminal’s death.  That doesn’t make sense unless he died for someone else.  So, if he was God in human form, as he claimed, he could then die for more than one person.

The record says he died for everyone.  So, everyone who

(9) sees their own disobedience, independence or superior attitude to God’s person and instructions, and who

(10) believes Jesus took the punishment appropriate to that deficiency, is forgiven and free.

Finally, God not only rules this planet but lives in eternity, where

(11) he has prepared a place fore those willing to have his as their Lord.  For those who reject God and his Son sent specially to save them, following the one who brought disobedience into human (and angel) lives,

(12) a place of eternal punishment is reserved.

The Holy Spirit is God’s Spirit, and

(13) he is personal,

(14) he convicts of sin, and

(16) he brings faith.

Pentecostals and charismatics agree that the Holy Spirit’s work in those evangelised includes but is also distinct from evangelism.  Signs and wonders, for instance, help confirm the Spirit’s work and the truth of God’s word.  Evangelism without the Spirit’s power is fruitless.

All these beliefs, including the unattractive ones, are found in creeds and statements of faith in major orthodox fellowships.  They’re not set out here as material for evangelism, but as tools or equipment for evangelists.  In sum they are:

* One God – creator, redeemer, and life-giver, three in one.

* One way to God – Jesus, who died, the just for the unjust.

* One way to escape from hell to heaven – repentance and faith.

* One way to know truth – through God’s Spirit revealing God’s word.

All Christians are called to be witnesses, though not all are called or gifted to be evangelists.  It is a real privilege for us all to share in God’s harvesting work in our world.

© Renewal Journal 10: Evangelism, 1997, 2nd edition 2011.
Reproduction is allowed with the copyright intact with the text.

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Evangelism on the Internet, by Rowland Croucher

The Rev Dr Rowland Croucher, a Baptist minister, is the Director of John Mark Ministries.  He encourages Christian involvement in the Internet – a challenge now being tackled by many churches and ministries.

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You too could reach a million people

_____________________________

A question in John Mark Ministries’ seminar on creativity asks:  ‘If you were to reach more people in the world via one communications medium, what would you use?’ (Correct answer: Coca Cola containers ‑ they’re in more places than radio!).  What would your message say?

As a teenager, having just made a ‘decision for Christ’, I dreamed about reaching millions with the Christian gospel. The motivating text was ‘Preach the word; be instant in season and out of season…’ (2 Timothy 4:2 KJV).

So I put gospel tracts into letterboxes and left them in library books. Later I wrote a large slogan on a storm‑water drain near a railway line; ‘witnessed’ on talk‑back radio; conducted evangelistic missions in universities and colleges; and pastored a church where at least two people were converted every week for nearly nine years (Blackburn Baptist Church in Melbourne).  My book Grow! is an attempt to explain the Good News to thoughtful young people and adults.

My ‘evangelistic hero’ was Billy Graham ‑ who’s probably spoken face to face to more people than anyone in history.

Some of this I would not do again, or would do differently. The gospel tracts probably turned a lot of people off; my apologetics was often simplistic or even plain wrong!

But I still have a strong desire to reach those Jesus and Paul called ‘lost’.  Now anyone can do it, from a home computer, via the Internet ‑ part of the third great human revolution (after the agricultural and industrial revolutions).  Vast amounts of information ‑ to and from everywhere ‑ are now moved very quickly: faster than mail and cheaper than faxes and long‑distance phone calls. And ‘cyberspace’ technology is developing at break‑neck speed.

What is the internet?

These days you can’t read a computer magazine or the newspaper computer pages without seeing constant references to the ‘Net’.

What is it? Imagine a huge village square, with 30‑50 million people (or more) milling around. Some are in groups ‑ small‑talking, arguing, telling jokes, laughing, buying and selling, hugging, or fighting.  Some are deep into one‑to‑one philosophical ‑ or romantic ‑ conversations.  (Others are lurking in the bushes doing just about anything you can imagine ‑ and more).  Many groups have a sign indicating they’re a special‑interest club:  some have a ‘moderator’ who won’t let you join unless you meet their conditions. Around the square people are browsing in shops and libraries, where books and papers on any subject are offered free!

The Internet is the biggest network of information in the world.  For as little as a few cents an hour, if you have a telephone line and a computer with a modem, you can get onto the ‘Information Superhighway’ from home or office, and ‘talk’ about anything that’s on your mind, or get free information on just about anything.

A friend who is a university graduate plans to have his evangelistic pieces read by a million people.  That’s quite feasible.  One report suggests that 200 million people have access to some part of the Net. Almost all U.S. universities and most schools are now ‘on‑line’ ‑ as will most educational institutions in the West in the next few years.  Australia, with a computer in one in four homes is the fifth‑largest Internet‑user.

It all started in the 1960s. The U.S. Defence Department wanted a communications system which could survive a nuclear holocaust. Then the academic community used it to transmit and access information. For a while it stayed that way ‑ bureaucrats and technocrats and academics swapping ideas and software.

Then, from about 1990, with cheaper computers and improved software even the semi‑computer‑literate are getting in on the act. However, it’s still dominated by left‑brained ‘technos’: gradually more from Humanities/Literature are coming on‑line. And more theologians are needed, urgently!

What’s on the ‘Net?

Actually there’s no one ‘network’, but lots of them ‑ like Fidonet, Compuserve’s for‑profit network, denominational networks (PresbyNet, EpiscoNet, SBCNet) etc.  The Internet is really a network of networks.

What’s on them?  Mailing‑lists of people who pray for one another (eg. Agapenet); newspapers and journals (Time Magazine, Christianity Today, this Renewal Journal); e‑mail where you can talk one‑to‑one to a friend in Zimbabwe or Poland or Antarctica or Iceland (some have met and courted ‑ and eventually married ‑ via e‑mail!).  You can buy stuff with a credit card; browse through university libraries; converse in ‘real time’ on the IRC (Internet Relay Chat); exchange ideas in ‘fan clubs’; read the latest U.S. Congress legislation or talk to the U.S. president (yes, he’s ‘on‑line’); watch movie previews; or chat with a monk at the New Norcia Benedictine Monastery in W.A.  Kids can get help with homework (through Prodigy’s ‘Infonaut’s Homework Helper’).  Or you can argue about vintage cars or atheism or movie stars or, well, anything…

Or this: on a Christian newsgroup I read an urgent message from missionaries in Kazakhstan. Their 3‑year‑old, Nathan, had fallen into scalding water, and was in a critical condition.  Local medical facilities could not help. They’d e‑mailed mission HQ in Oregon, and a plea was ‘posted’ around the world asking for prayer, and help to get Nathan air‑lifted to a German burns unit.  All this within minutes! Amazing!  (By the way, if the cross‑cultural missionaries you support haven’t got a modem in their computer give them the $ to get one.  Many emergencies can now be publicized, prayed for and dealt with almost instantly).

In fact, it’s almost impossible for a country to be ‘closed’ to the ‘Net. After failing to regulate faxes and TV satellite dishes the Chinese government has bowed to the inevitable and opened China to the ‘Net, installing two commercial links to the outside world. We learned first‑hand about the dramatic 1989 events in Russia via e‑mail from private individuals in Moscow.

Newsgroups

Let’s look at one Internet facility: Usenet, comprising more than 5000 special‑interest groups.  They are organized into categories ‑ ‘alt’ (alternative discussion groups), ‘comp’ (computer stuff), ‘rec’ (recreation, hobbies), ‘sci’ (sciences), ‘soc’ (socializing, social sciences), ‘talk’ (for debates on a range of subjects), ‘biz’ (business), ‘k12’ (for teachers and students), ‘misc’ (topics that don’t fit anywhere else) ‑ and more.  I ‘subscribe’ to about 50: favourite religious groups include ‘aus.religion’ and the largest, ‘alt.atheism’. Others I like ‑ ‘alt.conspiracy’, ‘rec.music.classical‑recordings’, ‘rec.org.mensa’.

This week I ‘posted’ about 30 messages on such topics as why churches are a boring for young people, ‘atheism and rationality’, biblical literalism, F.W.Boreham books I’m after (I collect him ‑ the most prolific Australian religious author until recently), homosexuality, worship‑styles, why baptism isn’t in the O.T., who are the Quakers? American evangelicalism, ‘The most powerful person on earth’, recovery from sexual abuse, and so on.  Discussion follows ‑ sometimes heated ‑ with maybe up to 40 people or more joining in.  Fun!

And on the lighter side…

It’s fun reading the pithy quotes people use with their ‘signatures’. Here are some I like:

# ‘The fourth law of computing: anything that can go wr

# ‘I just met a person who is a nun.’ ‘How do you know she is a  nun?’ ‘She told me.’ ‘Maybe she was lying.’ ‘Nuns don’t lie.’

# ‘It’s best to read the weather forecast before praying for rain!’ (Mark Twain)

# ‘Abou ben Adam’s name led all the rest because the list was compiled alphabetically’ (Isaac Asimov)

# ‘Never criticize anyone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. Then, if they don’t like it, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.’

# ‘Imagine if horse‑racing had no horses… thousands of people could go to the race‑track each day and save millions of dollars.’

# ‘Everything can be fixed by driving a nail into it. The only problem is finding the right sized nail’

# ‘Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon!’

So where do I start?

Well, get a computer ‑ almost anyone will do, but the more powerful the better ‑ with a modem, and hook up to a telephone line. Then contact an ‘access provider’: these have different costs, so you’ll need to figure out how often you use the ‘Net.

You need some software ‑ often supplied when you sign up with a service provider.

Any computer shop will guide you. Read Ed Krol’s The Whole Internet: User’s Guide and Catalogue, or the shorter 10 Minute Guide to the Internet by Peter Kent.

If you want a few hours of free access to the Net, phone Ozemail or Compuserve and ask! Or join an adult education class:  they’re now offered everywhere.

Some hints

* Pray about your motives for using the ‘Net: computer users tend to have a basic urge to control the world through their keyboard.

* Look over someone else’s shoulder as they ‘surf’ the ‘Net. Learn all you can before committing yourself.

* Spend a few months familiarizing yourself with the ‘ethos’ of the various groups on the ‘Net. Read newsgroups specially created for ‘newbies’.  Read the FAQ’s  (Frequently Asked Questions) for the groups that interest you. There’s help everywhere, once you know where to look for it.

* As a ‘missionary’ be sensitive to the ‘Net’s sometimes strange culture/s.  You’ll learn some new languages (eg. a bit of Unix).  ‘Net groups and mailing‑lists have their own protocols.  It’s called ‘netiquette’ (for example, it’s not good form to use CAPITALS ‑ that’s shouting)!

* Don’t get turned off by weirdness or profanity: U.S. college students enjoy shocking wowsers! Some will parade their erudition (‘this debate got hijacked by a solipsist’). Others (‘Single mum college student…’) ask for money.  Because of the anarchistic nature of the Net you can’t easily remove the ‘village idiot’.  Be tolerant, loving ‑ and humourous!  Remember Jesus related well to all sorts!

* If you post something to a newsgroup or mailing‑list, be brief, well‑researched, accurate (particularly if you quote an author ‑ it’s amazing how many non‑Christians have read C. S. Lewis and Josh McDowell), and conversational.  Be prepared to have all your views challenged, by some very clever people. If you put a personal testimony or preachy gospel message on alt.atheism for example, they’ll chew you up and spit you out, fast!  By the way, children’s access to the Net ought to be carefully monitored: the most popular newsgroups are pornographic.

Finally…

Navigating the Net isn’t easy to begin with.  You’ll experience hours of frustration.  It’s like a maze ‑ or a blind person negotiating a minefield while dribbling a basketball ‑ only more difficult and less dangerous!  Over the next few years it will get more user‑friendly.

We at John Mark Ministries want to encourage others to pursue this strategic and ubiquitous means of evangelism, and in particular link pastors and Christian leaders via the Net.  My signature message?  ‘If you have God and everything else, you have no more than having God only; if you have everything else and not God you have nothing!’ (Medieval mystic).

©  Rowland Croucher.  Used by permission. 

 

© Renewal Journal 10: Evangelism, 1997, 2nd edition 2011.
Reproduction is allowed with the copyright intact with the text.

Now available in updated book form (2nd edition 2011)
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Reaching the Core of the Core, by Luis Bush

Dr Luis Bush, International Director of the AD 2000 & Beyond Movement writes on evangelism among unreached people groups.

 ___________________________________________________

If we are faithful to the Scriptures,

obedient to the mandate of Christ,

and unwavering in our commitment to plant churches

within every people and city,

then we will get to the core of the core

‑ The 10/40 Window.

___________________________________________________

The core of the unreached people of our world live in a rectangular‑shaped window!  Often called “The Resistant Belt,” the window extends from West Africa to East Asia, from ten degrees north to forty degrees north of the equator.  This specific region, which has increasingly become known as The 10/40 Window, encompasses the majority of the world’s Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists ‑ billions of spiritually impoverished souls.

As we approach the end of this millennium, it is imperative that our evangelistic efforts be focused among the people who inhabit The 10/40 Window.  If we are serious in our commitment to provide a valid opportunity for every person to experience the truth and saving power of Jesus Christ, we cannot ignore the compelling realities within this region.

The 10/40 Window confronts us with several important considerations:

first, the historical and biblical significance;

second, the least evangelized countries;

third, the dominance of three religious blocs;

fourth, the preponderance of the poor;

fifth, the unreached ethnolinguistic people groups;

sixth, the least evangelized megacities; and,

seventh, the strongholds of Satan within The 10/40 Window.

1.  The historical and biblical significance

The first and most fundamental reason why committed Christians must focus on The 10/40 Window is because of the biblical and historical significance of this area.  Indeed, the Bible begins with the account of Adam and Eve placed by God in the heart of what is now The 10/40 Window.

God’s plan, expressed in Genesis 1:26, was that mankind should have dominion over the earth, subduing it fully.  However, Adam and Eve sinned against God and forfeited their right to rule.

Mankind’s sinful behaviour increased until God intervened and judged the earth with a cataclysmic flood.  Then came mankind’s futile attempt to establish new dominion in the building of the great Tower of Babel.  That effort, which also occurred in the heart of The 10/40 Window, was an open defiance against God.  Once again, God reached forth his hand in judgment.  The result was the introduction of different languages, the scattering of earth’s people, and the formation of the nations.

In The 10/40 Window we can see clearly the crucial truth expressed in Graham Scroggie’s book The Drama of World Redemption: “A World having turned from God, He left it and chose a man through whom He would ultimately by Christ reach the world.” Certainly we can see how ancient history ran its course in the territory marked by The 10/40 Window, from the cradle of civilization in Mesopotamia across the fertile crescent to Egypt.  Empires rose and fell.  The fate of God’s people Israel varied in relation to their obedience to his covenant.  It was here that Christ was born, lived a perfect life, died sacrificially on the cross, and rose triumphant over death.  The church age was ushered in, and it was not until the second missionary journey of the Apostle Paul that events of biblical history occurred outside The 10/40 Window.  Without question, this is an area of great biblical and historical significance.

2.  The least evangelized countries

The second reason why committed Christians should focus on The 10/40 Window is because it is  home to the majority of the world’s unevangelized people.  The “unevangelized” are people who have a minimal knowledge of the gospel, but have no valid opportunity to respond to it.

While it constitutes only one‑third of earth’s total land area, nearly two‑thirds of the world’s people reside in The 10/40 Window.  With a total population nearing four billion, The 10/40 Window  includes 61 countries, both sovereign states and nonsovereign dependencies.  Those countries with the majority of their land mass lying within the boundaries of The 10/40 Window are included.

Of the world’s 50 least evangelized countries, 37 are within The 10/40 Window.  Yet those 37 countries comprise 95% of the total population of the 50 least evangelized countries! Such a fact leaves no doubt that our challenge in reaching the unreached must centre on the core ‑ The 10/40 Window.

If we take seriously the mandate to preach the gospel to every person, to make disciples of all peoples, and to be Christ’s witnesses to the uttermost part of the earth, we must recognize the priority of concentrating our efforts on The 10/40 Window.  No other area is so blatantly in need of the truth that salvation is only in Jesus Christ.

3.  The dominance of three religious blocs

A third reason we must focus on The 10/40 Window is evident in the fact that it contains three of the world’s dominant religious blocs.  The majority of those enslaved by Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism live within The 10/40 Window.

Viewing the map from left to right the Muslim world can be seen most prominently in a wide band across the north of Africa into the Middle East, a bloc representing over 700 million persons.  In the middle of the map, overshadowing the subcontinent of India is the presence of Hinduism, also constituting a population of more than 700 million.  On the right side of the map is the Buddhist world, encompassing the whole of China.

From its centre in The 10/40 Window, Islam is reaching out energetically to all parts of the globe;  in similar strategy, we must penetrate the heart of Islam with the liberating truth of the gospel.  We must do all in our power to show Muslims that the highest prophet described in the Koran is not Mohammed, but Jesus Christ.  And that He is not only the greatest prophet, but the Son of God Himself who died and resurrected in order that millions of Muslims may be saved.

Overwhelmed with poverty and ravaged by disease, India is victimized even more severely by the spiritual blindness of Hinduism.  To a nation in which fattened cows roam freely among emaciated humans, we must proclaim the truth that Jesus came to give us life, and give it abundantly.

Although officially an atheistic country since the Marxist revolution of the late 1940s, China is nevertheless influenced deeply by its Buddhist roots.  Some scholars, in fact, consider China’s true religion to be a combination of atheism and Buddhism.  In actuality, religion in China is a hodgepodge which includes folklore, mysticism, animism, and occult practices.  Regardless of how one may assess the situation, the fact remains that 1.2 billion Chinese are in desperate need of Jesus Christ.  They represent the largest identifiable block in The 10/40 Window.

4.  The preponderance of the poor

A fourth reason we must focus on The 10/40 Window is because the poor are there.  Of the poorest of the poor, more than eight out of ten live in The 10/40 Window.  On average, they exist on less than $500 per person per year.  Although 2.4 billion of these people live within The 10/40 Window, only 8% of all missionaries work among them.

Bryant L. Myers, in his perceptive article entitled, “Where Are the Poor and Lost?”, states that “the poor are the lost, and the lost are the poor.” He arrived at this conclusion after illustrating that the majority of the unreached live in the poorest countries of the world.

When Christians from 170 countries gathered at Lausanne II in Manila in 1989, great concern was expressed for the materially poor.  In the second section of the Manila Manifesto, that concern was recorded in the following declaration: “We have again been confronted with Luke’s emphasis that the gospel is the good news for the poor (Luke 4:18; 6:20; 7:22) and have asked ourselves what this means to the majority of the world’s population who are destitute, suffering, and oppressed.  We have been reminded that the law, the prophets, the wisdom books, and the teaching and ministry of Jesus all stress God’s concern for the materially poor and our consequent duty to defend and care for them.”

Committed Christians cannot ignore the reality that there is a remarkable overlap between the poorest countries of the world and those which are the least evangelized.

5.  The unreached ethno-linguistic people groups

The fifth reason we must address our concerns on The 10/40 Window is because it contains the largest spiritually bankrupt ethno-linguistic mega-peoples (over one million).  In fact, over 90% of the individuals in these people groups live in The 10/40 Window.

6.  The least evangelized megacities

The sixth major reason we must focus on The 10/40 Window is because it contains the overwhelming majority of the world’s least evangelized megacities ‑ that is, those with a population of more than one million.  Of the top 50 cities on this list, all 50 cities are in The 10/40 Window!  This fact alone underscores the need for prioritizing our efforts to reach each of these great metroplexes with Christ’s love and truth.

7.  The strongholds of Satan

Reason number seven for focusing on The 10/40 Window is that it includes numerous strongholds of Satan.  The billions of people who live in The 10/40 Window have suffered not only the ravages of poverty and disease, they have also been kept from the transforming power of the gospel.  The are poignant examples of the truth expressed in 2 Corinthians 4:4, which states that “the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

We must not view this situation with a fatalistic attitude, for we have been granted power to intervene.  In a later passage of the same letter, the Apostle Paul declares: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not weapons of the world.  On the contrary, the have divine power to demolish strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:3‑4).  Although Satan has established a territorial stronghold in The 10/40 Window, we must not concede one parcel of land nor one person.  The gospel must advance!

Looking back across the pages of history we discover a heartening story about spiritual warfare in the writings of the prophet Daniel.  A fervent man of prayer, Daniel was highly esteemed by God and by the people of his generation.

On one occasion, while waiting on God in prayer, Daniel fasted on bread and water for three weeks.  Finally, a majestic angel whose appearance was as lighting brought an answer to his prayer.  He assured Daniel with the promise that “…your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words” (Daniel 10:12).  However, the angel then went on to explain how, en route to answer Daniel’s prayer, he was detained for 21 days by the demon assigned to the Persian king (Daniel 10:13).  It was only when the archangel Michael arrived to help that he was able to free himself from the battle to go to Daniel.

This fascinating passage unveils the reality and territorial nature of the spiritual battle in the heavenlies.  The angel who visited Daniel announced that he would have to return to the battle over the Persian kingdom.  Apparently, that battle still rages, for ancient Persia is now modern‑day Iran.  Still a stronghold zealously held by Satan, Iran is situated at the centre of the The 10/40 Window.

George Otis, Jr., has concluded that two powerful demonic forces, with great biblical significance, stand at the epicenter of the unreached world ‑ the prince of Persia (Iran) and the spirit of Babylon (Iraq) ‑ and both must be penetrated with the gospel before the Great Commission can be completed.  Otis observes that this will occur in the region of the Garden of Eden, where the command to “subdue the earth” was originally given.

It is evident that the forces of Satan have great power and will resist all attempts to be overcome.  If we are to storm the enemy’s territory, we must put on the full armour of God and fight with the weapons of spiritual warfare described in Ephesians 6.  To depend on anything less is utter foolishness.

The focus of the concerned Christian community 200 years ago was for the coastlands of the world.  A century later, the success of the coastlands effort motivated a new generation to reach the interior regions of the continents.  Within the past decades, the success of the inland thrust has led to a major focus on people groups.  More recently, the world’s burgeoning megacities have also become focal points of concern.  Today, rapidly approaching the third millennium since Christ, we are wise to concentrate our efforts on The 10/40 Window.

Of course, this calls for some of us to reevaluate priorities.  We must find the most innovative ways to reach billions of people within The 10/40 Window with the love and truth of Jesus Christ.  We must mobilize for a massive prayer focus on The 10/40 Window with the body of Christ worldwide.

However, it must be clearly understood that concentration on The 10/40 Window does not mean a curtailing of Christ’s work going on elsewhere around the globe.  Missionary endeavours, in evangelism, training, relief, development, church planting, and mobilization for cross cultural missions should go on unhindered.

If we are faithful to the Scriptures, obedient to the mandate of Christ, and unwavering in our commitment to plant churches within every people and city, then we will get to the core of the core  ‑ The 10/40 Window.  May God grant each of us boldness and wisdom and energy to do our part in taking on this great and eternally significant challenge.

By all means, get involved!

This article was written by Louis Bush, International Director of the AD 2000 & Beyond Movement.

 

© Renewal Journal 10: Evangelism, 1997, 2nd edition 2011.
Reproduction is allowed with the copyright intact with the text.

Now available in updated book form (2nd edition 2011)
Renewal Journal 10: Evangelism – Discounted in eStore – $7

Renewal Journal eStore – all publications

Contents of all Renewal Journals

Amazon – Renewal Journal 10: Evangelism – $8

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