Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Is the Door Closing to Share the Gospel?

The Lausanne World Pulse just made an astonishing claim about India: the door to the gospel seems to be closing.

Persecution and rejection are commonplace in some parts of the world. Why are we surprised? Jesus prophesied it; Paul proclaimed it; Peter asked his readers why they were so surprised.

Westerners are concerned about the growing rejection of the gospel, too. Our methods to try to rectify that rejection leave something to be desired. We become "user friendly." I watched one church service that resembled the circ de soleil. Lights flashed on and off. Smoke poured out from all sides. Folks dressed in black tights came spiraling down thick cloth ropes, while the pastor rode in on his Harley, the circus-like music in a crescendo to announce his arrival.

To ease the pain of rejection, we are tempted to soften the seriousness of sin. We have deluded ourselves about how ugly sin really is. That way, some of us think, people will be more comfortable in our churches. There should be such a sense of holiness when we gather, that sinners either get right or run out the door.

Other times we simply leave off the truth about sin and simply preach the good part of the good news. Remember: in the case of the gospel, there is no good news without bad news.

Do not be surprised if people reject the gospel. Acceptance by everyone would be desirable. But, sadly, far more will choose to reject the Lord Jesus. Just keep sharing the gospel and rejoice over the fruit God gives you.

Pray for Asia

First it was Myanmar. We don't hear much about it anymore, but the death toll is tens of thousands; the homeless will suffer for months to come.

Then it was China. The death toll, according to most news agencies, has rolled past 65 thousand. New dangers lurk. One village is being evacuated because of cracks in the dam on nearby reservoir. Due to the "one-child-per-family" rule, many families lost their only child. Their anguish is beyond my comprehension. The government has granted permission to those parents have another child.

We can help. Obviously, there are organizations that we can contribute through. If you want to be the greatest help for these devastated areas, then make it a matter of regular prayer. Intercede. Our God is well able to open doors for us that even our physical aid will never open.

Pray. Pray some more. And pray hard.