When the Mission Field is More Religious than America

 

I don’t usually take pictures of peoples faces but last Sunday afternoon had to make an exception.  The line of boys sitting down and reading tracts wasn’t just too good to pass up, but it also illustrated a massive shift that has taken place in Missions.

In many places the mission field has officially become more religious than America.

it used to be that missionaries left the United States to reach Countries where people had no knowledge of the Gospel.  There are some areas where this is still true, but people in most mission fields have already heard the Gospel, can quote Salvation verses (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, John 3:3), and regularly attend Church services while still not knowing Christ.  Even more frightening they seem to have more of an interest in religious things that Americans

Though we should never stop handing out tracts, its becoming more and more difficult to do this in the States.  Handing out the Gospel can lead to hostility, and being labeled names I cannot write here, while as religious freedom laws change it can be viewed as illegal, and a “hate crime.”
The interesting thing about Barrouaillie is people love to tracts when members of Tabernacle give them out on Sunday afternoons!  They willingly take tracts (or even ask for them) and usually start reading right away.  Its a common occurrence for children to take as many different kinds as they possibly can so I’ve had to make a “three tract rule.”

There is an obvious blessing with their taking tracts since the Gospel is going out.  We have seen the Lord open doors of conversation about a persons need of Christ on Sunday afternoons as well.  However there is a serious danger with an increasingly religious mission field, it becomes more and more difficult to know who is truly saved.

While I don’t personally know every boy reading those tracts I’m friends with a few and can tell you that they are like so many others who rely on works and church membership for Salvation. 

That picture reminds me of a conversation I had with a girl last summer.

Me:  Can I ask you a question?

Young Lady:  sure

Me:  Why should God let you into Heaven?

Young Lady:  Because I am a Child of God!

Me:  And how do you become a Child of God?

Young Lady:  Do good things

It was very tempting to stop after hearing her say “I’m a child of God” but being in Saint Vincent for over a year helped me realize we were talking about two different things.  I was talking about being saved by Grace through faith, she was talking about relying on works (baptism) for Salvation. Only as I dug deeper than the “religious answer” was her need of Christ revealed.

No longer are we going to groups of people caught up in pagan idol worship.  More than ever before we go to religious mission fields filled with unsaved people who grew up in Church, have memorized the Romans road, and know all the right Bible answers.

And sometimes that’s much more dangerous