quinta-feira, 14 de abril de 2011


Wh y S h o u l d I Ma k e Wa v e s ?
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
not much importance was attached to the buildings, while considerable
emphasis was placed on the institutions’ role in the
proclamation of the Gospel. Ten or 15 years ago you could go
over the same ground and in many places find much larger and
finer institutions on those original sites, but compared with the
earlier years, far fewer converts. And by today many of those
splendid schools and colleges have become purely educational
centers, lacking in any truly evangelistic motive at all, while to
an almost equal extent, many of the hospitals exist now solely
as places merely of physical and no longer spiritual healing.
The men who initiated them had, by their close walk with God,
held those institutions steadfastly into His purpose; but when
they passed away, the institutions themselves quickly gravitated
toward worldly standards and goals, and in doing so classified
themselves as “things of the world.” We should not be surprised
that this is so.
Nee continues to expand on the theme, this time addressing
the problem of emergency relief efforts for the suffering:
In the early chapters of the Acts we read how a contingency arose
which led the Church to institute relief for the poorer saints. That
urgent institution of social service was clearly blessed of God,
but it was of a temporary nature. Do you exclaim, “How good if
it had continued?” Only one who does not know God would say
that. Had those relief measures been prolonged indefinitely they
would certainly have veered in the direction of the world, once
the spiritual influence at work in their inception was removed.
It is inevitable.
For there is a distinction between the Church of God’s building,
on the one hand, and on the other, those valuable social
and charitable by-products that are thrown off by it from time to
time through the faith and vision of its members. The latter, for
all their origin in spiritual vision, possess in themselves a power
of independent survival which the Church of God does not have.
They are works which the faith of God’s children may initiate
and pioneer, but which once the way has been shown and the
professional standard set, can be readily sustained or imitated by
men of the world quite apart from that faith.
The Church of God, let me repeat, never ceases to be dependent
upon the life of God for its maintenance.2
The trouble with the social gospel, even when it is clothed
in religious garb and operating within Christian institutions, is
that it seeks to fight what is basically a spiritual warfare with
weapons of the flesh.
Our battle is not against flesh and blood or symptoms of
sin like poverty and sickness. It is against Lucifer and countless
demons who struggle day and night to take human souls into a
Christless eternity.
As much as we want to see hundreds and thousands of new
missionaries go into all the dark places, if they don’t know what
they are there to do, the result will be fatal. We must send soldiers
into battle with the right weapons and understanding of
the enemy’s tactics.
If we intend to answer man’s greatest problem—his separation
from the eternal God—with rice handouts, then we are
throwing a drowning man a board instead of helping him out
of the water.
A spiritual battle fought with spiritual weapons will produce
eternal victories. This is why we insist upon restoring a right balance
to Gospel outreach. The accent must first and always be on
evangelism and discipleship.
Wh y S h o u l d I Ma k e Wa v e s ?

Good Works and the Gospel
To keep Christian missions off balance, Satan has woven a
masterful web of deceit and lies. He has invented a whole system
of appealing half-truths to confuse the Church and ensure
that millions will go to hell without ever receiving the Gospel.
Here are a few of his more common inventions:
One, how can we preach the Gospel to a man with an empty stomach?
A man’s stomach has nothing to do with his heart’s condition
of being a rebel against the holy God. A rich American on
Fifth Avenue in New York City or a poor beggar on the streets
of Mumbai (Bombay) are both rebels against God Almighty, according
to the Bible. The result of this lie is the fact that, during
the past 100 years, the majority of mission money has been
invested in social work. I am not saying we should not care for
the poor and needy. The issue I am taking to task is losing our
primary focus of preaching the Gospel.
Two, social work—meeting only the physical needs of man—is mission
work; in fact, it is equal to preaching. Luke 16:19–25 tells us
the pitiful story of the rich man and Lazarus. Of what benefit
were the possessions of the rich man? He could not pay his way
out of hell. His riches could not comfort him. The rich man
had lost everything, including his soul. What about Lazarus? He
didn’t have any possessions to lose, but he had made preparations
for his soul. What was more important during their time
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
on earth? Was it the care for the “body temple” or the immortal
soul? “For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world,
and lose himself, or be cast away?” (Luke 9:25).
It is a crime against lost humanity to go in the name of Christ
and missions just to do social work yet neglect calling men to
repent—to give up their idols and rebellion—and follow Christ
with all their hearts.
Three, they will not listen to the Gospel unless we offer them something
else first. I have sat on the streets of Mumbai with beggars—
poor men who very soon would die. In sharing the Gospel with
many of them, I told them I had no material goods to give them,
but I came to offer eternal life. I began to share the love of Jesus
who died for their souls, about the many mansions in my
Father’s house (John 14:2) and the fact that they can go there to
hunger and thirst no more. The Lord Jesus will wipe away every
tear from their eyes, I said. They shall no longer be in any debt.
There shall no longer be any mourning, crying or pain (Revelation
7:16, 21:4).
What a joy it was to see some of them opening their hearts
after hearing about the forgiveness of sin they can find in Jesus!
That is exactly what the Bible teaches in Romans 10:17, “So then
faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Substituting a bowl of rice for the Holy Spirit and the Word
of God will never save a soul and will rarely change the attitude
of a man’s heart. We will not even begin to make a dent in the
kingdom of darkness until we lift up Christ with all the authority,
power and revelation that is given to us in the Bible.
In few countries is the failure of Christian humanism more
apparent than in Thailand. There, after 150 years of missionaries
showing marvelous social compassion, Christians still make up
only two percent of the entire population.1
Self-sacrificing missionaries probably have done more to
modernize the country than any other single force. Thailand
owes to missionaries its widespread literacy, first printing press,
first university, first hospital, first doctor and almost every other
benefit of education and science. In every area, including trade
and diplomacy, Christian missionaries put the needs of the host
nation first and helped usher in the 20th century. Meanwhile,
millions have slipped into eternity without the Lord. They died
more educated, better governed and healthier—but they died
without Christ and are bound for hell.
What went wrong? Were these missionaries not dedicated
enough? Were their doctrines unscriptural? Perhaps they did
not believe in eternal hell or eternal heaven. Did they lack Bible
training, or did they just not go out to preach to the lost? Did
they shift their priorities from being interested in saving souls to
relieving human suffering? I know now it was probably a little
of all of these things.
While I was seeking answers to these questions, I met poor,
often minimally educated, native brothers involved in Gospel
work in pioneer areas. They had nothing material to offer the
people to whom they preached—no agricultural training and
no medical relief or school program. But hundreds of souls
were saved, and in a few years, a number of churches were established.
What were these brothers doing right to achieve such results,
while the others with many more advantages had failed?
The answer lies in our basic understanding of what mission
work is all about. There is nothing wrong with charitable acts—
but they are not to be confused with preaching the Gospel. Feeding
programs can save a man dying from hunger. Medical aid can
prolong life and fight disease. Housing projects can make this
temporary life more comfortable—but only the Gospel of Jesus
Christ can save a soul from a life of sin and an eternity in hell!
To look into the sad eyes of a hungry child or see the wasted
life of a drug addict is to see the evidence of Satan’s hold on
this world. He is the ultimate enemy of mankind, and he will
G o o d Wo r k s a n d t h e G o s p e l
do everything within his considerable power to kill and destroy
people. But to try to fight this terrible enemy with only physical
weapons is like fighting tanks with stones.
When commerce had been established with the Fiji Islanders, a
merchant who was an atheist and skeptic landed on the island to
do business. He was talking to the Fijian chief and noticed a Bible
and some other paraphernalia of religion around the house.
“What a shame,” he said, “that you have listened to this foolish
nonsense of the missionaries.”
The chief replied, “Do you see the large white stone over
there? That is a stone where just a few years ago we used to
smash the heads of our victims to get at their brains. Do you see
that large oven over there? That is the oven where just a few years
ago we used to bake the bodies of our victims before we feasted
upon them. Had we not listened to what you call the nonsense
of those missionaries, I assure you that your head would already
be smashed on that rock and your body would be baking in that
There is no record of the merchant’s response to that explanation
of the importance of the Gospel of Christ.
When God changes the heart and spirit, the physical changes
also. If you want to meet the needs of the poor in this world,
there is no better place to start than by preaching the Gospel.
It has done more to lift up the downtrodden, the hungry and
the needy than all the social programs ever imagined by secular
These terrible words of Jesus should haunt our souls: “Ye
compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is
made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves”
(Matthew 23:15). A.W. Tozer said it well in his book Of
God and Man: “To spread an effete, degenerate brand of Christianity
to pagan lands is not to fulfill the commandment of Christ
or discharge our obligation to the heathen.”2
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
Just before China was taken over by the communists, one
communist officer made a revealing statement to a missionary,
John Meadows: “You missionaries have been in China for over
a hundred years, but you have not won China to your cause.
You lament the fact that there are uncounted millions who have
never heard the name of your God. Nor do they know anything
of your Christianity. But we communists have been in China
less than 10 years, and there is not a Chinese who does not
know . . . has not heard the name of Stalin . . . or something of
communism. . . . We have filled China with our doctrine.
“Now let me tell you why you have failed and we have
succeeded,” the officer continued. “You have tried to win the
attention of masses by building churches, missions, mission
hospitals, schools and what not. But we communists have
printed our message and spread our literature all over China.
Someday we will drive you missionaries out of our country, and
we will do it by the means of the printed page.”
Today, of course, John Meadows is out of China. The communists
were true to their word. They won China and drove out
the missionaries. Indeed, what missionaries failed to do in 100
years, the communists did in 10. One Christian leader said that
if the Church had spent as much time on preaching the Gospel
as it did on hospitals, orphanages, schools and rest homes—
needful though they were—the Bamboo Curtain would never
have existed.
The tragedy of China is being repeated today in other countries.
When we allow a mission activity to focus only on the
physical needs of man without the correct spiritual balance, we
are participating in a program that ultimately will fail.
However, this does not mean that we must not be involved
in compassion-type ministries that reach out to the poor, needy
and hurting people all around us. In the next chapter, I will
explain this further—our responsibility to the poor, suffering
needy in our generation.
G o o d Wo r k s a n d t h e G o s p e l

Thi r teen
Hope Has Many Names
The question is, what does the Bible say about social justice
and compassion? What is the Church’s role in these matters?
Clearly, by simply looking at Christ’s example of how He
lived on this earth, we are not to neglect the needs of suffering
When Jesus came, He not only fed people’s souls with the
truths of heaven and Him as the Bread of Life, but He filled their
stomachs with fish and bread and wine as well.
He opened not only the eyes of people’s hearts to see the
truth, but also their physical eyes, restoring their sight so they
could see the world around them.
He strengthened the faith of the weak, while strengthening
the legs of the lame.
He who came to breathe eternal life into a valley of dry, dead
souls also breathed life into the widow’s son, raising him up
once more (see Luke 7:11–15).
It was not one or the other—it was both, and both for the
glory of God.
This example of ministry carries all throughout the Bible.
Look back through the Old Testament and you will see a strong
emphasis placed on compassion toward the needy and social
justice for the downtrodden and poor. God demanded the care
and protection of all those who were oppressed (see Leviticus
19:18; Isaiah 1:17, 58:10–11), and some of the most terrible
judgment fell upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for the
way that they exploited the poor and needy.
In Matthew 22:38–40, Jesus clearly marked the Christian’s
social responsibility when He said that loving God is the first
and greatest commandment and “the second is like unto it,
Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments
hang all the law and the prophets” (emphasis mine).
All the Law and Prophets are summed up in both—loving
God and loving others. It was not one or the other—but again
both, for the glory of God.
We cannot say we love others if we ignore their spiritual
needs. Just the same, we cannot say we love others if we ignore
their physical needs. Jesus came for both.
Indeed, Jesus has shown how the physical suffering of
humanity brought many to call upon Him as the Savior of their
In John 20:30–31 we are told, “Many other signs truly did
Jesus in the presence of his disciples . . . that ye might believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye
might have life through his name.” The Gospel shows that it
was the sick, the demon possessed, the hungry and the poor
who came to Jesus and whose lives were changed by His healing
touch. Jesus Himself declared that He had come to preach
the Good News to the poor, the prisoners, the blind and the
oppressed (see Luke 4:18).
Through the many who were healed from horrible diseases
and set free from satanic bondage, Jesus showed Himself as the
only One able to save their souls from sin and death. The mercy
ministries Jesus did were not an end in themselves, but were
rather a means. And it is the same today.
Yet as I mentioned in the previous chapter, we must not misunderstand
(or replace) evangelism for social action. The Great
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
Commission is not a mandate for political liberation.
Many who are familiar with the ministry of Gospel for Asia
know that first and foremost we are committed to planting
churches and making new disciples. Our concern has always
been evangelism and church planting, never to be replaced by
social work alone.
The salvation of souls and making of disciples have been
our aim and goal in all things, the ruler by which all ministry
opportunities are measured. But this in no way means that we
do not care about the physical suffering of those to whom we
seek to minister.
Our spirits, which are eternal and infinitely more precious
than the whole physical world, are contained in perishable,
physical bodies. And throughout the Scripture, we see that God
used the felt needs of the body to draw people to Himself. Truly,
the needs of suffering men, women and children in this world
are great—especially in the 10/40 Window.
Calcutta alone is home to more than 100,000 street children
who know neither mother nor father, love nor care. They are
not just numbers or statistics—they are real children. Though
nameless and faceless on the streets where they live, each one
was created with love and is known by God.
It is doubtful they’ve ever held a toothbrush or a bar of soap;
they’ve never eaten an ice-cream cone or cradled a doll. The
child laborers of South Asia toil in fireworks, carpet and match
factories; quarries and coal mines; rice fields, tea plantations
and pastures. Because they are exposed to dust, toxic fumes
and pesticides, their health is compromised; their bodies are
crippled from carrying heavy weights. Some are bonded laborers,
enslaved to their tasks by family poverty.
According to the Human Rights Watch, this is life for 60 to
115 million children in South Asia. In the Indian state of Tamil
Nadu, nine-year-old Lakshmi works in a factory as a cigarette
Ho p e Ha s Ma n y N a m e s
roller. She tells her sister’s story, giving us a glimpse into their
My sister is ten years old. Every morning at seven she goes to the
bonded labor man, and every night at nine she comes home. He
treats her badly; he hits her if he thinks she is working slowly or
if she talks to the other children, he yells at her, he comes looking
for her if she is sick and cannot go to work. I feel this is very
difficult for her.
I don’t care about school or playing. I don’t care about any
of that. All I want is to bring my sister home from the bonded
labor man. For 600 rupees I can bring her home—that is our
only chance to get her back.
We don’t have 600 rupees . . . we will never have 600 rupees
[the equivalent of U.S.$14].1
These whom Christ thought of while dying on the cross must
not be forgotten by His Body today. These for whom Christ suffered
then must not be forsaken by us, His hands and feet, now.
In the midst of advancing world evangelism, we cannot hold
back the healing embrace with which to care and provide for
these who are precious in the sight of God.
I’m particularly talking about the Dalits, also known as the
the lowest caste of Hinduism. For 3,000
years, hundreds of millions of India’s Untouchables have suffered
oppression, slavery and countless atrocities. They are
trapped in a caste system that denies them adequate education,
safe drinking water, decent-paying jobs and the right to own
land or a home. Segregated and oppressed, Dalits are frequently
the victims of violent crime.
And just as the need is great, so is the possibility for Christ’s
power and love to be known.
In recent years, the door to these possibilities has been flung
wide open. Among Dalits and other low-caste groups that face
similar repressive treatment, there has been a growing desire for
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
freedom. Leaders representing approximately 700 million of
these people have come forth demanding justice and freedom
from caste slavery and persecution.
The turning point came on November 4, 2001, when tens of
thousands of Dalits gathered for one of the most historic meetings
of the 21st century, publicly declaring their desire to “quit
Hinduism” and follow a faith of their own choosing.
Since that event, the Lord has led Gospel for Asia to tangibly
express His love to Dalit, low-caste and tribal families in a
unique way: by reaching out to their children.
Bridge of Hope, our children’s outreach program, is designed
to rescue thousands of children in Asia from a life of poverty
and hopelessness by giving them an education and introducing
them to the love of God. Through this effort, entire communities
are transformed.
Today more than 45,000 children are enrolled in hundreds of
Bridge of Hope centers, and the program continues to grow. One
of these centers is located in the village of Pastor Samuel Jagat.
Samuel had no idea that the group of 35 Dalit and low-caste
children attending would make such a remarkable difference
in his ministry. But one little first-grade boy in his center was
about to show him otherwise.
Nibun’s mother had been ill with malaria for a long time.
Doctors, priests and sorcerers could not find a cure, and her
death seemed inevitable.
But Nibun had a little seed of hope in his heart—God’s Word.
Bible stories were a regular part of the Bridge of Hope curriculum
at the center, and like many other children, Nibun would
come home and narrate every story he had heard to his family.
One night, as Nibun and his family sat together beside his
mother’s bed, he told them how Jesus raised a widow’s son from
the dead. It became a turning point in all their lives.
Ho p e Ha s Ma n y N a m e s
“That night, after hearing this story,” Nibun’s father later
shared, “I could not sleep. This story was burning in my heart
again and again.”
Nibun’s father sought out Samuel the next morning. After
hearing more about Jesus and His offer of salvation, the man
asked the pastor to come and pray for his wife. “I believe Jesus
will heal my wife just as He did the widow’s son,” he affirmed.
Nibun’s mother, though weak in body, shared the same confidence:
“My son talks about Jesus many times in our home. I
believe Jesus will heal me.”
Pastor Samuel laid hands on the dying woman and prayed
for the Lord to raise her up; then he returned to his home.
The next day he saw Nibun and asked how his mother was
“My mommy is walking around,” he reported happily, “and
this morning she prepared breakfast for us!”
When Samuel arrived at Nibun’s house, he found a family
transformed both physically and spiritually. They had all made
a decision to follow Christ.
This openness to the Gospel among the Dalit people and
other low-caste groups marks an unparalleled opportunity to
reach some of the most unreached on earth today—up to 700
million souls. Bridge of Hope provides the means by which we
can cross over to these millions and accomplish the task.
Nibun’s father expresses it this way: “I thank God for this
center and pray that He will use it to bring His light into many
homes, just as He has done in our family.”
From the beginning of our ministry, we always used every
opportunity to share the love and hope found in Jesus, especially
in the most poor and needy communities. This has not
changed. Since our beginning, we’ve had special ministries
among leper colonies and slums, with dozens of churches having
been planted among these needy people. So when we heard
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
right: for too many Dalit
children in India, the innocence
of childhood is lost in poverty,
child labor and exploitation. The
problem of illiteracy—90 percent
in some areas—leaves little room
for hope.
below : eag er to learn and
full of spirit, Dalit children thrive
at GFA Bridge of Hope centers like
this one, where they get a good
education and come to know that
Jesus loves them.
above: Narayan Sharma (far right) is director of Gospel for Asia’s work in
Nepal. Over the years, GFA has trained dedicated Nepali brothers and sisters,
now winning the lost in some of the most difficult regions of this mountainous
White dots on the map represent churches they have planted.
Below : Our goal is to establish local churches in unreached regions of Asia.
This church is the fruit of one missionary’s labors and was planted within his first
year on the mission field. Depending upon the cost of land and its location, it takes
an average of $11,000 to build a church that can seat 300 people.
right: the majority of
yo ung people who attend
GFA’s Bible colleges come
with a commitment to go to
the most unreached areas to
preach the Gospel. Gospel for
Asia is committed to help these
young people become firmly
grounded in the Word of God
before they are sent out.
Below : their threeyear
intensive training
is over, and now these
young people are sent out to
plant churches in completely
unreached places. “If you are
given the privilege to be a
martyr for the Lord’s sake,”
they are told, “remember that
heaven is a much better place.
He has promised never to leave
or forsake you.”
Gospel for Asia’s burden is to train and equip young
people to go and plant churches among the unreached villages of
the Indian subcontinent. Eighty percent of the graduates pictured
here are on the mission field today, winning lost souls to Christ.
Every GFA Bible college
student learns the inductive
Bible study method. Before
graduation, students must
successfully demonstrate their
ability to study and communicate
God’s Word using this
method. This ensures that as
churches are planted, new believers
will be firmly grounded
in biblical truth.
the desperate cry for help from the Dalits, we were eager to
reach out to help them.
The most tangible way we saw to do this was to help provide
an education for their children, which often equals freedom in
many of these nations.
In fact, one of the reasons why so many children and their
families stay enslaved as bond-laborers is the simple fact that
they cannot read the contract made between them and their
loaner. Because of illiteracy, they are blindly taken advantage of
and cheated out of not just money and time, but their futures.
Yet Bridge of Hope is not just a social effort whose purpose
and end is education. Not at all. For it is the love of Christ that
constrains us to reach out in this way, knowing that each child
and his family are precious in the sight of God. Bridge of Hope
is the means by which we communicate the Gospel and see millions
cross over from death to life.
Let me tell you an experience I had in the beginning stages
of this potential ministry to the Dalits that changed my thinking
and propelled us to move forward with the Bridge of Hope
It was while sleeping in the early hours of the morning that I
had a dream. I was standing in front of a vast wheat field, looking
out upon a harvest that was clearly ripe. I stood there for a
while, overwhelmed at the size of the harvest. The field continued
for what seemed like millions of endless acres for as far as
the eye could see.
As I stood there watching the golden wheat sway in the
breeze, I got this sudden understanding that I was looking out
upon the harvest that Jesus spoke of in John 4 and Matthew 9. It
was as though the Lord was telling me that this harvest was free
for the taking, much as Psalm 2 tells us to ask for the nations
and He will give them to us.
Ho p e Ha s Ma n y N a m e s
Overcome with excitement at seeing so much harvest ready for
reaping and knowing that this represented millions upon millions
of souls being rescued from an eternity in hell, I began to
jump up and down. With all my might, I ran toward the field. But
as I drew nearer, I was stopped. I couldn’t go any farther. There
was a wide, gaping river in between the harvest and myself, a river
so deep and raging that I dared not step closer or try to cross. I
had not seen it from where I stood before, but now I did.
My heart broke. I was only able to look at the harvest, unable
to embrace it. I stood there weeping, feeling so helpless and full
of despair.
All of a sudden there appeared before me a bridge reaching
from one side of the vast river to the other. It was not a narrow
bridge but was very broad and so huge.
As I watched, the bridge became completely filled with little
children from all over Asia—poor, destitute Dalit children,
like those I’d seen on the streets of Bombay, Calcutta, Dakar,
Katmandu and other Asian cities.
Then it was as though someone spoke to me and said, “If you
want to have this harvest, it’s all yours. But this is the bridge that
you must walk on to get it.”
I woke up from my dream and realized that the Lord was
speaking to me about something so significant: that if we
follow His instruction, we will see these endless millions of
Untouchables come to know Him. And our ministry to the
children will be the bridge to reach them.
I shared this dream with my colleagues, and we realized that
God had given us this call to bring hope to the children of Asia.
Through Bridge of Hope, children would be taught about the Lord
Jesus Christ and experience His love, and as a result, their communities
and families would come to know the Lord.
Miraculously, this has been happening. God has been faithful
to carry out the plans that He placed in our hearts.
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
When GFA missionaries first went into communities in one part
of North India to preach the Gospel, they were strongly opposed.
But when our brothers began to set up Bridge of Hope centers for
the children, they were welcomed in a new light.
Within time, 50 Bridge of Hope programs were started in that
region. Less than a year later, 37 churches were planted. And it all
began with the little children learning about Jesus, going home
and telling their parents; then miracle after miracle began to
The Lord willing, as we move forward with a deep conviction
to see the Gospel preached and the Great Commission truly fulfilled,
we will see literally millions come to know the Lord. As we
respond to their physical needs and do what we can in the name
of Jesus, they will hear the Good News of forgiveness from sin and
redemption through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus
Christ and entire communities will be blessed.
The true fulfillment of the Great Commission must be at the heart
of every endeavor that ministers to the felt needs of humanity. When
this remains the element carrying the work forward, the love of Christ
is shown in a tangible way that reaches down deep in the hearts of
men and women, drawing them to the Savior of their souls.
When all is said and done, the bottom line must be “the poor
have the gospel preached to them” (Matthew 11:5). If that is not
done, we have failed.
Ho p e Ha s Ma n y N a m e s

Four teen
The Need for Revolution
If we could spend only one minute in the flames and torment
of hell, we would see how unloving the so-called “gospel” is
that prevails in much of missions today.
Theology, which is only a fancy word for what we believe,
makes all the difference on the mission field. When we go to
the book of Acts, we find the disciples totally convinced about
the lostness of man without Christ. Not even persecution could
stop them from calling people everywhere to repent and turn
to Christ.
Paul cries out in Romans 10:9–15 for the urgency of preaching
Christ. In his day, the social and economic problems in cities
like Corinth and Ephesus and other places were the same or
worse than those we face today. Yet the apostles did not set out
to establish social relief centers, hospitals or educational institutions.
Paul declared in 1 Corinthians 2:1–2, “When I came to
you, . . . I determined not to know any thing among you, save
Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
Paul recognized that Jesus Christ was the ultimate answer to
all man’s problems. Although he was concerned about the poor
saints, you cannot miss the primary emphasis of his life and
I have spoken in churches that had millions of dollars
invested in buildings—churches with pastors known as excellent
Bible teachers with a heart of love for people. Yet I have
discovered that many of them have absolutely no missionary
program of any kind.
In preaching to one of these churches, I made the following
statement: “While you claim to be evangelicals and pour time
and life into learning more and more biblical truths, in all honesty,
I do not think you believe the Bible.”
My listeners were shocked. But I continued.
“If you believed the Bible you say you believe, the very knowledge
there is a real place called hell—where millions will go
and spend eternity if they die without Christ—would make you
the most desperate people in the world to give up everything
you have to keep missions and reaching the lost as your top
The problem with this congregation, as with many today, is
that they did not believe in hell.
C.S. Lewis, that great British defender of the faith, wrote,
“There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove
from Christianity than this [hell]. I would pay any price to be
able to say truthfully, ‘All will be saved.’ ”1
But Lewis, like us, realized that was neither truthful nor
within his power to change.
Jesus Himself often spoke of hell and coming judgment. The
Bible calls it the place of unquenchable fire, where the worms
that eat the flesh don’t die—a place of outer darkness where
there is eternal weeping and gnashing of teeth. These and hundreds
of other verses tell of a real place where lost men will
spend eternity if they die without Jesus Christ.
Only a very few believers seem to have integrated the reality of
hell into their lifestyle. In fact, it is difficult to feel that our friends
who do not know Jesus really are destined to eternal hell.
Yet as I stressed in Chapter 12, many Christians hold within
their hearts the idea that, somehow or other, ways of redemp-
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
tion are available to those who have not heard. The Bible does
not give us a shred of hope for such a belief. It states clearly that
it is “appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”
(Hebrews 9:27). There is no way out of death, hell, sin
and the grave except Jesus Christ. He said, “I am the way, the
truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”
(John 14:6).
How different our churches would be if we started to live by
the true revelation of the Word of God about hell. Instead, local
churches and missions, both in the West and in the East, have
been infected with death and continue to pass out death to the
millions of lost souls who surround us.
The Church Jesus called out of this world to be separated
unto Himself has, to a great extent, forgotten her reason for
existence. Her loss of balance is seen in the current absence of
holiness, spiritual reality and concern for the lost. Substituted
for the life she once knew are teaching and reaching for prosperity,
pleasure, politics and social involvement.
“Evangelical Christianity,” commented Tozer prophetically
before his death, “is now tragically below the New Testament
standard. Worldliness is an accepted fact of our way of life. Our
religious mood is social instead of spiritual.”
The further our leaders wander from the Lord, the more they
turn to the ways of the world. One church in Dallas spent several
million dollars to construct a gymnasium “to keep our young
people interested in church.” Many churches have become like
secular clubs with softball teams, golf lessons, schools and exercise
classes to keep people coming to their buildings and giving
them their tithes. Some churches have gone so far from the Lord
that they sponsor yoga and meditation courses—Western adaptations
of Hindu religious exercises.
If this is what is considered mission outreach at home, is
it any wonder the same churches fall prey to the seductive
T h e N e e d f o r R e v o l u t i o n
philosophy of Christian humanists when planning overseas
missionary work?
Real Christian missions always is aware there is eternal hell to
shun and heaven to gain. We need to restore the balanced vision
General William Booth had when he started the Salvation Army.
He had an unbelievable compassion for winning lost souls to
Christ. His own words tell the story of what he envisioned for the
movement: “Go for souls, and go for the worst.”
What would Jesus do if He walked into our churches today?
I am afraid He would not be able to say to us: “You have kept
the faith, you have run the race without turning left or right, and
you have obeyed My command to reach this world.” I believe
He would go out to look for a whip, because we have made His
Father’s house a den of robbers. If that is so, then we must recognize
that the hour is too desperate for us to continue to deceive
ourselves. We are past the point of revival or reformation. If this
Gospel is to be preached in all the world in our lifetime, we must
have a Christian, heaven-sent revolution.
But before revolution can come, we must recognize the need
for one. We are like a lost man looking at a road map. Before we
can choose the right road that takes us to our destination, we
must determine where we went wrong, go back to that point and
start over. So my cry to the Body of Christ is simple: Turn back to
the true Gospel road. We need to preach again the whole counsel
of God. Our priority must again be placed on calling men to
repentance and snatching them from hell-fire.
Time is short. If we are not willing to plead in prayer for a
mission revolution—and let it start in our own personal lives,
homes and churches—we will lose this generation to Satan.
We can go trading souls for bodies, or we can make a difference
by sponsoring Bible-believing native missionaries overseas.
Several years ago, 40 Indian villages, once considered
Christian, turned back to Hinduism. Could it be that whole vil-
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
lages that had experienced the liberating Gospel of Jesus Christ
would turn back into the bondage of Satan?
No. These villages were called “Christian” only because they
had been “converted” by missionaries who used hospitals, material
goods and other incentives to attract them to Christianity.
But when the material rewards were reduced—or when other
competing movements offered similar benefits—these converts
reverted to their old cultural ways. In missionary terms, they
were “rice Christians.”
When “rice” was offered, they changed their names and their
religions, responding to the “rice.” But they never understood
the true Gospel of the Bible. After all the effort, these people
were as lost as ever. But now they were even worse off—they
were presented a completely wrong picture of what it means
and what it takes to follow Christ.
Could that be what we fear in North America: no gyms—no
softball teams—no converts?
The lesson from the mission field is that meeting physical
needs alone does not get people to follow God. Whether hungry
or full, rich or poor, human beings remain in rebellion against
God without the power of the Gospel.
Unless we return to the biblical balance—to the Gospel
of Jesus as He proclaimed it—we’ll never be able to put the
accent where it rightly belongs in the outreach mission of the
Jesus was compassionate to human beings as total persons.
He did all He could to help them, but He never forgot the main
purpose of His earthly mission: to reconcile men to God, to die
for sinners and redeem their souls from hell. Jesus cared for the
spiritual side of man first, then the body.
This is illustrated clearly in Matthew 9:2–7 when He first forgave
the sins of the paralytic, then healed his body.
In John 6:1–13, Jesus miraculously fed 5,000 hungry men
T h e N e e d f o r R e v o l u t i o n
plus women and children. He fed them after He preached, not
before to attract their attention.
Later, in verse 26, we find that these people followed Jesus not
because of His teachings or who He was, but because He had fed
them. They even tried to make Him king for the wrong reason.
Seeing the danger of their spiritual misunderstanding, Jesus withdrew
from them. He didn’t want fans but disciples.
The apostles did not fear to tell the beggar that “Silver and
gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee . . . ” (Acts
3:6). Then they preached the Gospel.
I have had similar experiences all across India. I have yet to
meet a person who was not willing to hear the wonderful news
of Jesus because of his or her physical condition.
As Christians, we must follow the example of Jesus. I do
believe we must do all we can to relieve the pain and suffering
around us. We must love our neighbors as ourselves in all areas
of life. But we must keep supreme the priority of sharing the
message of salvation with them—and we must never minister
to the physical needs at the expense of preaching Christ. This is
biblical balance, the true Gospel of Jesus.
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
Fi f teen
The Real Culprit: Spiritual Darkness
My hosts in the southern U.S. city where I was preaching at
a mission conference had thoughtfully booked me into a motel
room. It was good to have a few minutes alone, and I looked
forward to having some time for prayer and Scripture meditation.
While settling in, I flipped on the big TV set that dominated
the room. What burst on the screen shocked me more than anything
I had ever seen in America. There in beautiful color was
an attractive woman seated in the lotus position teaching yoga.
I watched in horror and amazement as she praised the health
benefits of the breathing techniques and other exercises of this
Eastern religious practice. What her viewers did not know is that
yoga is designed for one purpose only—to open up the mind
and body to the false gods of the East.
Because this American yogi was dressed in a body suit,
claimed a Ph.D. degree and was on educational TV, I assume
many of the viewers were deceived into believing this was
just another harmless exercise show. But those of us born and
raised in nations dominated by the powers of darkness know
that hundreds of Eastern religions are marketing themselves
in the United States and Canada under innocuous—even
scientific-sounding—brand names.
Few Westerners, when they see news reports of the poverty,
suffering and violence in Asia, take time to stop and ask why the
East is bound into an endless cycle of suffering while Western
nations are so blessed.
Secular humanists are quick to reel out many historic and
pseudoscientific reasons for the disparity, because they are
unwilling to face the truth. But the real reason is simple: The
Judeo-Christian heritage of Europe has brought the favor of
God, while false religions have brought the curse of Babylon on
other nations.
Mature Christians realize the Bible teaches there are only
two religions in this world. There is the worship of the one true
God, and there is a false system invented in ancient Persia. From
there, Persian armies and priests spread their faith to India,
where it took root. Its missionaries in turn spread it throughout
the rest of Asia. Animism and all other Asian religions have a
common heritage in this one religious system.
Because many Westerners are unaware of this fact, Eastern
mysticism is able to spread in the West through pop culture,
rock bands, singers and even university professors. The media
have become the new vehicle for the spread of spiritual darkness
by American gurus.
It is hard to blame average Christians for misunderstanding
what is happening to them and the Judeo-Christian heritage
that has brought such blessings on their land. Most have never
taken the time to study and discern the real situation in the
Orient. Few pastors or prophets are sounding the alarm.
In Asia, the religion of Babylon is woven into every waking
minute of the day. Without Christ, people live to serve religious
spirits. Religion relates to everything, including your name,
birth, education, marriage, business deals, contracts, travel and
Because Oriental culture and religion are a mystery, many
people in the West are fascinated by it without knowing its
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
power to enslave its followers. What routinely follows the mystery
religions of Babylon are degradation, humiliation, poverty
and suffering—even death.
Most believers in America, I find, are overwhelmed by the TV
and media news reports from Asia. The numbers reported are
beyond imagination, and the injustice, poverty, suffering and
violence appear to be unstoppable. All things Oriental appear to
be mysterious, and measured either on a grand scale or by one
so different that it cannot be compared to things familiar.
In all my travels, therefore, I have found it is extremely difficult
for most people to relate to Asia’s needs. Sometimes I wish I
could just scoop up my audience and take them on a six-month
tour of Asia. But because that is not possible, I must use words,
pictures, PowerPoint presentations and videos to paint a clearer
Asia is a wonderful place in many ways, as God has blessed
it with the awesome Himalayas, mighty rivers, tropical forests
and an exciting mix of beautiful peoples. Diverse cultures merge
in huge cities like Mumbai (Bombay), Bangkok and Kuala
Lumpur, and their corporations are among the world leaders in
fields as diverse as physics, computer technology, architecture
and film-making. People travel from around the world to visit
monuments like India’s Taj Mahal and Cambodia’s Angor Wat.
But since nearly two out of every three people in the world
live in Asia—more than the combined populations of Europe,
Africa, North America and South America—it is also important
that we take the time to understand the real needs of its precious
From the standpoint of Christian missions, Asia is more than
just big numbers. Asia makes up the vast majority of the more
than 2 billion hidden people who are being missed by traditional
missionary efforts and mass media evangelism. They are
the most lost of the lost—trapped in utter spiritual darkness.
T h e R e a l C u l pr i t : S p i r i t u a l D a r k n e s s
What are the challenges facing native missions today? How
real are the needs? How can Christians best help the Asian
Church and its missionary efforts?
I am not trying to minimize the social and material needs
of the Asian nations, but it is important to reemphasize that
Asia’s basic problem is a spiritual one. When the Western media
focus almost entirely on its problems of hunger, for example,
showing pictures of starving children on TV, it is difficult for
Americans not to get the false impression that hunger is the
biggest problem.
But what causes the hunger? Asian Christians know these
horrible conditions are only symptoms of the real problem—
spiritual bondage. The key factor—and the most neglected—in
understanding India’s hunger problem is how its belief system
affects food production. Most people know of the “sacred cows”
that roam free, eating tons of grain while nearby people starve.
But a lesser-known and more sinister culprit is another animal
protected by religious belief—the rat.
According to those who believe in reincarnation, the rat must
be protected as a likely recipient for a reincarnated soul on its
way up the ladder of spiritual evolution to Nirvana. Although
many Asians reject this and seek to poison rats, large-scale efforts
of extermination have been thwarted by religious outcry.
Rats eat or spoil 20 percent of India’s food grain every year.
A recent survey in the wheat-growing district of Hapur in North
India revealed an average of 10 rats per house.
Of one harvest of cereals in India, including maize, wheat,
rice, millet and so on—a total of 134 million metric tons—the
20 percent loss from rats amounted to 26.8 million metric tons.
The picture becomes more comprehensible by imagining a train
of boxcars carrying that amount of grain. With each car holding
about 82 metric tons, the train would contain 327,000 cars
and stretch for 3,097 miles. The annual food grain loss in India
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
would fill a train longer than the distance between New York
and Los Angeles.
The devastating effects of the rat in India should make it an
object of scorn. Instead, because of the spiritual blindness of the
people, the rat is protected and in some places, like a temple 30
miles south of Bikaner in North India, even worshipped.
According to an article in the India Express, “Hundreds of
rats, called ‘kabas’ by the devotees, scurry around merrily in the
large compound of the temple and sometimes even around the
image of the goddess Karni Devi situated in a cave. The rats are
fed on prasad offered by the devotee or by the temple management.
Legend has it that the fortunes of the community are
linked to that of the rats.
“One has to walk cautiously through the temple compound;
for if a rat is crushed to death, it is not only considered a bad
omen but may also invite severe punishment. One is considered
lucky if a rat climbs over one’s shoulder. Better still to see
a white rat.”
Clearly, the agony we see in the faces of those starving children
and beggars is actually caused by centuries of religious
slavery. In my own beloved homeland of India, thousands of
lives and billions of dollars go into social programs, education
and medical and relief efforts every year. Many of the crisis
problems that are considered disasters in the United States
would only be normal, everyday living conditions in most of
Asia. When we have disasters in the Orient, the death tolls read
like Vietnam War body counts. Asian governments struggle with
these tremendous social problems and limited resources.
Yet despite all these massive social programs, the problems
of hunger, population and poverty continue to grow. The real
culprit is not a person, lack of natural resources or a system of
government. It is spiritual darkness. It thwarts every effort to
make progress. It dooms our people to misery—both in this
T h e R e a l C u l pr i t : S p i r i t u a l D a r k n e s s
world and in the world to come. The single most important
social reform that can be brought to Asia is the Gospel of Jesus
Christ. More than 400 million of my people have never heard
the name of Jesus Christ. They need the hope and truth that
only the Lord Jesus can provide.
Recently, for instance, one native missionary, who serves the
Lord in Jammu, asked a shopkeeper at the market if he knew
Jesus. After thinking a moment, he said, “Sir, I know everyone in
our village. There is not one by that name who lives here. Why
don’t you go to the next village? He may live there.”
Frequently native missionary evangelists find people who ask
if Jesus is the brand name of a new soap or patent medicine.
In fact, in India proper there are more than 1 billion people—
four times the population of the United States. Only 2.4
percent of these call themselves Christians.1 Although this figure
reflects the official government census, other Christian sources
believe the number to be as high as 7.4 percent.2 Still, India,
with nearly 500,000 unevangelized villages, is undoubtedly one
of the greatest evangelistic challenges facing the world Christian
community today. If present trends continue, it will soon be the
world’s most populous nation. Many of India’s 29 states have
larger populations than whole nations in Europe and other
parts of the world.
Not only are their populations huge, but each state is usually
as distinctive as if it were another world. Most have completely
different cultures, dress, diet and languages. But few nations
in Asia are homogeneous. Most are like India to some extent,
nations that are patchwork quilts of many languages, peoples
and tribes. This diversity, in fact, is what makes Asia such a tremendous
challenge to missionary work.
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
Enemies of the Cross
The native missionary movement, the only hope for these
unreached nations, is not going unchallenged by either Satan or
the world. Revivals of traditional religions, the growth of secular
materialism including communism, and the rise of cultural and
nationalist barriers are all united in opposition to Christian mission
Yet the love of God can penetrate even this host of barriers.
“I was brought up in a home where we worshipped many
gods,” says Masih, who for years sought spiritual peace through
self-discipline, yoga and meditation as required by his caste. “I
even became the priest in our village, but I couldn’t find the
peace and joy I wanted.
“One day I received a Gospel tract and read about the love
of Jesus Christ. I answered the offer on the leaflet and enrolled
in a correspondence course to learn more about Jesus. On
January 1, 1978, I gave my life to Jesus Christ. I was baptized
three months later and took the Christian name ‘Masih,’ which
means ‘Christ.’”
In Asia, baptism and the taking of a Christian name symbolize
a complete break with the past. To avoid the censure
that often comes with baptism, some new believers wait years
before they are baptized. But Masih didn’t wait. The reaction
was swift.
When his parents realized their son had rejected their gods,
they began a campaign of persecution. To escape, Masih went to
Kota in Rajasthan to search for a job. For six months he worked
in a factory and meanwhile joined a local group of believers.
Through their encouragement, he enrolled in a Bible institute
and began to master the Scriptures.
During his three years of study, he made his first trip home.
“My father sent a telegram asking me to come home,” Masih
recalls. “He said he was ‘terribly ill.’ When I arrived, my family
and friends asked me to renounce Christ. When I didn’t, much
persecution followed, and my life was in danger. I had to flee.”
Returning to school, Masih thought God would lead him to
minister to some other part of India. He was shocked at the
answer to his prayers.
“As I waited on the Lord, He guided me to go back and work
among my own people,” he says. “He wanted me to share the
love of God through Christ with them, like the healed demoniac
of Gadara whom He sent back to his own village.”
Today, Ramkumar Masih is involved in church planting in
his home city and surrounding villages, working among both
Hindus and Muslims in a basically hostile environment.
Although Masih has not had to pay the ultimate price to win
his people to Christ, every year a number of Christian missionaries
and ordinary believers are killed for their faith throughout
Asia. The total in the past century is estimated at 45 million,
undoubtedly more than the total killed during the preceding 19
centuries of Church history.1
What are these enemies of the cross that seek to oppose the
advance of the Gospel in the nations that need so much to hear
of its hope and salvation? They are nothing new—just reawakened
devices of the enemy, some of his final ploys to keep these
nations bound.
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
Traditional Religions
Revivals of traditional religions are occurring all over Asia.
Although few countries have gone the route of Iran—where a
religious revival of Islam actually toppled the state—religious
factionalism is a major problem in many countries.
When government, media and educational institutions are
taken over by atheistic materialists, most nations experience a
great backlash. As traditional religious leaders are finding out, it
is not enough to drive Western nations out. Secular humanists
are in firm control of most Asian governments, and many traditional
religious leaders miss the power they once exercised.
At the grassroots level, traditional religion and nationalism
often are deliberately confused and exploited by political leaders
for short-term gain. In the villages, traditional religions still
have a powerful hold on the minds of most people. Almost
every village or community has a favorite idol or deity—there
are 330 million gods in the Hindu pantheon alone. In addition,
various animistic cults, which involve the worship of powerful
spirits, are openly practiced alongside Islam, Hinduism and
In many areas, the village temple still is the center of informal
education, tourism and civic pride. Religion is big business, and
temples take in vast sums of money annually. Millions of priests
and amateur practitioners of the occult arts also are profiteering
from the continuation and expansion of traditional religions.
Like the silversmiths in Ephesus, they aren’t taking the spread
of Christianity lightly. Religion, nationalism and economic gain
mix as a volatile explosive that the enemy uses to blind the eyes
of millions.
But God is calling native missionaries to preach the Gospel
anyway, and many are taking the Good News into areas solidly
controlled by traditional religions.
E n e m i e s o f t h e C r o s s
The Spirit of the Antichrist
But the enemies of the cross include more than just traditional
religionists. A new force, even more powerful, is now
sweeping across Asia. It is what the Bible calls the spirit of
the Antichrist—the new religion of secular materialism. Often
manifested as some form of communism, it has taken control
of governments in a number of countries, including Myanmar
(Burma), Cambodia, China, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam.
But even in those Asian nations with democracies like India and
Japan, it has gained tremendous political influence in various
noncommunist forms.
The temples of this new religion are atomic reactors, oil refineries,
hospitals and shopping malls. The priests are most often the
technicians, scientists and military generals who are impatiently
striving to rebuild the nations of Asia in the image of the industrial
West. The shift of political power in most of Asia has gone toward
these men and women who promise health, peace and prosperity
without a supernatural god—for man himself is their god.
In one sense, secular humanism and materialism correctly
diagnose traditional religion as a major source of oppression
and poverty throughout Asia. Humanism is a natural enemy of
theistic religion because it offers a worldly and scientific method
to solve the problems of mankind without God. As a result of
this growing, scientific materialism, strong secularist movements
exist in every Asian nation. They unite and seek to eliminate the
influence of all religion—including Christianity—from society.
Modern Asia, in the great cities and capitals where secular humanism
reigns supreme, is controlled by many of the same drives and
desires that have dominated the West for the past 100 years.
The Anti-Christian Pressure of the World—the Culture
If traditional Asian religions represent a spiritual attack on
Christianity, then secular humanism is an attack of the flesh.
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
That leaves only one enemy to discuss, the anti-Christian pressure
of the world. This final barrier to Christ, and still probably
the strongest of all, is the culture itself.
When Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from years of living
in England and South Africa, he quickly realized the “Quit
India” movement was failing because its national leadership
was not willing to give up European ways. So even though he
was Indian, he had to renounce his Western dress and customs
or he would not have been able to lead his people out from
under the British yoke. He spent the rest of his life relearning
how to become an Indian again—in dress, food, culture
and lifestyle. Eventually he gained acceptance by the common
people of India. The rest is history. He became the father of my
nation, the George Washington of modern India.
The same principle holds true of evangelistic and churchplanting
efforts in all of Asia. We must learn to adapt to the
culture. This is why the native evangelist, who comes from the
native soil, is so effective. When Americans here in the United
States are approached by yellow-robed Krishna worshippers—
with their shaved heads and prayer beads—they reject Hinduism
immediately. In the same way, Hindus reject Christianity when
it comes in Western forms.
Have Asians rejected Christ? Not really. In most cases they
have rejected only the trappings of Western culture that have
fastened themselves onto the Gospel. This is what the apostle
Paul was referring to when he said he was willing to become “all
things to all men” in order that he might win some.
When Asians share Christ with other Asians in a culturally
acceptable way, the results are startling. One native missionary
we support in northwest India, Jager, has reached 60 villages
with the Good News and established 30 churches in a difficult
area of Punjab. He has led hundreds to find the joy of knowing
Christ. On one trip to India, I went out of my way to visit Jager
E n e m i e s o f t h e C r o s s
and his wife. I had to see for myself what kind of program he
was using.
Imagine my surprise when I found Jager was not using any
special technology at all—unless you want to call the motor
scooter and tracts that we supplied “technology.” He was living
just like the people. He had only a one-room house made of
dung and mud. The kitchen was outside, also made of mud—
the same stuff with which everything else is constructed in that
region. To cook the food, his wife squatted in front of an open
fire just like the neighboring women. What was so remarkable
about this brother was that everything about him and his wife
was so truly Indian. There was absolutely nothing foreign.
I asked Jager what kept him going in the midst of such incredible
challenge and suffering. He said, “Waiting upon the Lord,
my brother.” I discovered he spent two to three hours daily in
prayer, reading and meditating on the Bible. This is what it takes
to win Asia for Christ. This is the kind of missionary for which
our nations cry out.
Jager was led to Christ by another native evangelist, who
explained the living God to Jager. He told of a God who hates
sin and became a man to die for sinners and set them free. This
was the first time the Gospel ever was preached in his village,
and Jager followed the man around for several days.
Finally, he received Jesus as his Lord and was disowned by his
family. Overjoyed and surprised by his newfound life, he went
about distributing tracts from village to village, telling about
Jesus. In the end, he sold his two shops. With the money he
earned, he conducted evangelistic meetings in local villages.
This is a man of the culture, bringing Christ to his own people
in culturally acceptable ways. The support Asians need from the
West, if we are to complete the work Christ has left us, must go
to recruit, equip and send out native missionary evangelists.
Native evangelists are prepared to meet the three big chal-
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
lenges we are now facing in the Orient.
One, they often understand the culture, customs and lifestyle as
well as the language. They do not have to spend valuable time in
lengthy preparations.
Two, the most effective communication occurs between peers.
Although there still may be social barriers to overcome, they are
much smaller and more easily identified.
Three, it is a wise investment of our resources because the native
missionary works more economically than foreigners can.
One of the most basic laws of creation is that every living thing
reproduces after its own kind. This fact applies in evangelism and
discipleship, just as it does in other areas. If we are going to see
a mass people movement to Christ, it will be done only through
fielding many more thousands of native missionaries.
How many are needed? In India alone we still have 500,000
villages to reach. Looking at other nations, we realize thousands
more remain without a witness. If we are to reach all the other
hamlets open to us right now, Gospel for Asia will need additional
native missionary evangelists by the tens of thousands.
The cost to support this these workers will run into the millions
annually. But this is only a fraction of the $94 billion that the
North American Church lavished on other needs and desires in
2000.2 And the result will be a revolution of love that will bring
millions of Asians to Christ.
So, are native missionaries prepared to carry on cross-cultural
evangelism? The answer is yes, and with great effectiveness!
Most of the native missionaries we support, in fact, are involved
in some form of cross-cultural evangelism. Often, GFA evangelists
find they must learn a new language, plus adopt different
dress and dietary customs. However, because the cultures are
frequently neighbors or share a similar heritage, the transition
is much easier than it would be for someone coming from
the West.
E n e m i e s o f t h e C r o s s
Even though my homeland has 18 major languages and
1,650 dialects3—each representing a different culture—it is
still relatively easy for an Indian to make a transition from one
culture to another. In fact, almost anyone in Pakistan, India,
Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand and Sri Lanka
can relatively quickly cross-minister in a neighboring culture.
Native workers who seek to learn new languages and plant
churches in other cultures face special challenges. In this
particular endeavor, Gospel for Asia seeks to work with like-
agencies that can help the native worker overcome
these challenges.
The challenge of Asia cries out to us. The enemies of the cross
abound, but none of them can stand against the power of Jesus’
love. The problems we face are indeed great, but they can be
overcome through the dedicated ministry of native missionary
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
The Water of Life in a Foreign Cup
When we think about the awesome challenge of Asia, it is not
too much to ask for a new outpouring of missionaries to reach
these nations for Christ. And tens of thousands of native missionaries
are being raised up by the Lord in all these Two-Thirds
World nations right now. They are Asians, many of whom
already live in the nation they must reach or in nearby cultures
just a few hundred miles from the unevangelized villages to
which they will be sent by the Lord.
The situation in world missions is depressing only when you
think of it in terms of 19th-century Western colonialism. If the
actual task of world evangelization depends on the “sending
of the white missionary,” obeying the Great Commission truly
becomes more impossible every day. But, praise God, the native
missionary movement is growing, ready today to complete
the task.
The primary message I have for every Christian, pastor and
mission leader is that we are witnessing a new day in missions.
Just a few short years ago, no one dreamed the Asian Church
would be ready to take the lead. But dedicated native evangelists
are beginning to go out and reach their own.
Even more exciting: God is calling all of us to be part of what
He is doing.
We can help make it possible for millions of brown and
feet to move out with the liberating Gospel of Jesus. With
the prayer and support of believers around the world, they can
preach the Word to the lost multitudes. The whole family of
God is needed. Thousands of native missionaries will go to the
lost if Christians in the West will help.
This is why I believe God called me to the West. The only
reason I stay here is to help serve our Asian brethren by bringing
their needs before God’s people. A whole new generation of
Christians needs to know that this profound shift in the mission
task has taken place. Western believers need to know they are
needed as “senders” to pray and to help the native brothers go.
The waters of missions have been muddied. Today many
Christians are unable to think clearly about the real issues
because Satan has sent a deceiving spirit to blind their eyes. I do
not make this statement lightly. Satan knows that to stop world
evangelism he must confuse the minds of Western Christians.
This he has done quite effectively. The facts speak for themselves.
The average North American Christian gives only 50 cents a
week to global missions.1 Imagine what that means. Missions
is the primary task of the Church, our Lord’s final command
to us before His ascension. Jesus died on the cross to start a
missionary movement. He came to show God’s love, and we
are left here to continue that mission. Yet this most important
task of the Church is receiving less than one percent of all our
Remember, of the Western missionaries who are sent overseas,
many are not involved in the primary tasks of preaching
the Gospel and planting churches.
And approximately 85 percent of all missionary finances are
being used by Western missionaries who are working among
the established churches on the field—not for pioneer evangelism
to the lost.2
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
Consequently, most of that 50 cents a week the average
American Christian has given to missions actually was spent
on projects or programs other than proclaiming the Gospel of
But a shift has taken place in the past six decades or so. At
the end of World War II, almost the entire work of the Great
Commission was being done by a handful of white foreigners.
To these Christian mission leaders, it was impossible to even
imagine reaching all the thousands of distinct cultural groups in
the colonies. So they focused their attention on the major cultural
groups in easy-to-reach centers of trade and government.
In most of the Asian nations, nearly 200 years of mission
work had been accomplished under the watchful gaze of colonial
governors when the era finally ended in 1945. During that
time, Western missionaries appeared to be a vital part of the
fabric of Western colonial government. Even the few churches
that were established among the dominant cultural groups
appeared weak. Like the local government and economy, they
too were directly controlled by foreigners. Few were indigenous
or independent of Western missionaries. Not surprisingly, the
masses shunned these strange centers of alien religion, much as
most Americans avoid “Krishna missions” or “Islamic missions”
in the West today.
In this atmosphere, the thought of going beyond the major
cultural groups—reaching out to the unfinished task—was
naturally put off. Those masses of people in rural areas, ethnic
subcultures, tribal groups and minorities would have to wait.
Teaching them was still generations away—unless, of course,
more white foreign missionaries could be recruited to go to
But this was not to be. When the colonial-era missionaries
returned to take control of “their” churches, hospitals and
schools, they found the political climate had changed radically.
T h e Wa t e r o f L i f e i n a F o r e i g n C u p
They met a new hostility from Asian governments. Something
radical had happened during World War II. The nationalists had
organized and were on the march.
Soon political revolution was sweeping the Two-Thirds
World. With the independence of one nation after another,
the missionaries lost their positions of power and privilege.
In the 25 years following World War II, 71 nations broke free
of Western domination. And with their new freedom, most
decided Western missionaries would be among the first symbols
of the West to go. Now 86 nations—with more than half
of the world’s population—forbid or seriously restrict foreign
But there is a bright side to the story. The effect of all this
on the emerging churches of Asia has been electric. Far from
slowing the spread of the Gospel, the withdrawal of foreign missionaries
has freed the Gospel from the Western traditions that
foreign missionaries had unwittingly added to it.
Sadhu Sundar Singh, a pioneer native missionary evangelist,
used to tell a story that illustrates the importance of presenting
the Gospel in culturally acceptable terms.
A high-caste Hindu, he said, had fainted one day from the
summer heat while sitting on a train in a railway station. A
train employee ran to a water faucet, filled a cup with water and
brought it to the man in an attempt to revive him. But in spite
of his condition, the Hindu refused. He would rather die than
accept water in the cup of someone from another caste.
Then someone else noticed that the high-caste passenger had
left his own cup on the seat beside him. So he grabbed it, filled
it with water and returned to offer it to the panting heat victim
who immediately accepted the water with gratitude.
Then Sundar Singh would say to his hearers, “This is what I
have been trying to say to missionaries from abroad. You have
been offering the water of life to the people of India in a foreign
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
cup, and we have been slow to receive it. If you will offer it in
our own cup—in an indigenous form—then we are much more
likely to accept it.”
Today, a whole new generation of Spirit-led young native
leaders is mapping strategies to complete the evangelization
of our Asian homelands. In almost every country of Asia, I
personally know local missionaries who are effectively winning
their people to Christ using culturally acceptable methods and
Although persecution in one form or another still exists in
most Asian nations, the postcolonial national governments
have guaranteed almost unlimited freedom to native missionaries.
Just because Westerners have been forbidden, the expansion
of the Church does not have to cease.
For some diabolical reason, news of this dramatic change has
not reached the ears of most believers in our churches. While
God by His Holy Spirit has been raising up a new host of missionaries
to carry on the work of the Great Commission, most
North American believers have sat unmoved. This, I have discovered,
is not because Christians here are lacking in generosity.
When they are told the need, they respond quickly. They are not
involved only because they do not know the real truth about
what is happening in Asia today.
I believe we are being called to be involved by sharing prayerfully
and financially in the great work that lies ahead. As we do
this, perhaps we will see together the fulfillment of that awesome
prophecy in Revelation 7:9–10:
And, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all
nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before
the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes,
and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying,
Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto
the Lamb.
T h e Wa t e r o f L i f e i n a F o r e i g n C u p
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
This prediction is about to come true. Now, for the first time
in history, we can see the final thrust taking place as God’s
people everywhere unite to make it possible.
What should intrigue us—especially here in the West—is the
way the native missionary movement is flourishing without the
help and genius of our Western planning. The Holy Spirit, when
we give Him the freedom to work, prompts spontaneous growth
and expansion. Until we recognize the native missionary movement
as the plan of God for this period in history, and until we
are willing to become servants to what He is doing, we are in
danger of frustrating the will of God.
A Global Vision
Should all Western missionaries pull out of Asia forever? Of
course not. God still sovereignly calls Western missionaries to
do unique and special tasks in Asia, as He does in other locations.
But we must understand that when it comes to nations
in which Western missionaries are no longer able to do church
planting as past eras allowed, the priority must then be to support
efforts of indigenous mission works through financial aid
and intercessory prayer.
As gently as I can, I have to say to North Americans that anti-
American prejudice is running high in most of Asia. In fact, this
is a section I write with the greatest fear and trembling—but
these truths must be said if we are to accomplish the will of God
in the Asian mission fields today.
“There are times in history,” writes Dennis E. Clark in The
Third World and Mission, “when however gifted a person may
be, he can no longer effectively proclaim the Gospel to those of
another culture. A German could not have done so in Britain in
1941 nor could an Indian in Pakistan during the war of 1967,
and it will be extremely difficult for Americans to do so in the
Third World of the 1980s and 1990s.”1 This is much more
true—and the situation is even worse—today.
For the sake of Christ—because the love of Jesus constrains
us—we need to review the financial and mission policies of our
churches and North American missionary-sending agencies.
Every believer should reconsider his or her own stewardship
practices and submit to the Holy Spirit’s guidance in how best
to support the global outreach of the Church.
I am not calling for an end to denominational mission
programs or the closing down of the many hundreds of missions
here in North America—but I am asking us to reconsider
the missionary policies and practices that have guided us for
the past 200 years. It is time to make some basic changes and
launch the biggest missionary movement in history—one that
primarily helps send forth native missionary evangelists rather
than Western staff.
The principle I argue for is this: We believe the most effective
way now to win Asia for Christ is through prayer and financial
support for the native missionary force that God is raising up in
the Two-Thirds World. As a general rule, for the following reasons
I believe it is wiser to support native missionaries in their
own lands than to send Western missionaries.
One, it is wise stewardship. According to Bob Granholm, former
executive director of Frontiers in Canada, it costs between
$25,000 to $30,000 per year to support a missionary on the
mission field, and today that number is in excess of $40,000.
And even though these figures may be true for ministries like
Frontiers, Operation Mobilization, Youth With A Mission and
a few others, in my research with more traditional agencies, the
cost may be much higher. One mission organization estimates
it costs around $80,000 per year to keep a missionary couple in
India.2 With even a modest inflation rate of three percent, this
cost will exceed $100,000 in less than 10 years.
During a consultation on world evangelism in the 1990s,
Western missionary leaders called for 200,000 new missionaries
by the year 2000 in order to keep pace with their estimates
of population growth. The cost of even that modest missionary
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
force would be a staggering $20 billion per year. When you
realize that in 2000 North American Christians contributed just
$5.5 billion for missions,3 we are facing an astronomical fundraising
effort. There has to be an alternative.
In India, for only the cost of flying an American from New
York to Mumbai (Bombay), a native missionary already on
the field can minister for years! Unless we take these facts into
account, we will lose the opportunity of our age to reach untold
millions with the Gospel. Today it is outrageously extravagant
to send North American missionaries overseas unless there are
compelling reasons to do so. From a strictly financial standpoint,
sending American missionaries overseas is one of the most
questionable investments we can make.
Two, in many places the presence of Western missionaries perpetuates
the myth that Christianity is the religion of the West. Bob
Granholm states, “While the current internationalization of the
missionary task force is a very encouraging development, it is
often wiser to not have a Western face on the efforts to extend
the Kingdom.”
Roland Allen says it better than I in his classic book The
Spontaneous Expansion of the Church:
Even if the supply of men and funds from Western sources was
unlimited and we could cover the whole globe with an army of
millions of foreign missionaries and establish stations thickly all
over the world, the method would speedily reveal its weakness,
as it is already beginning to reveal it.
The mere fact that Christianity was propagated by such an
army, established in foreign stations all over the world, would
inevitably alienate the native populations, who would see in it the
growth of the denomination of a foreign people. They would see
themselves robbed of their religious independence, and would
more and more fear the loss of their social independence.
Foreigners can never successfully direct the propagation of
any faith throughout a whole country. If the faith does not
A G l o b a l V i s i o n
become naturalized and expand among the people by its own
vital power, it exercises an alarming and hateful influence, and
men fear and shun it as something alien. It is then obvious that
no sound missionary policy can be based upon multiplication
of missionaries and mission stations. A thousand would not suffice;
a dozen might be too many.4
A friend of mine who heads a missionary organization similar
to ours recently told me the story of a conversation he had
with some African church leaders.
“We want to evangelize our people,” they said, “but we can’t
do it so long as the white missionaries remain. Our people won’t
listen to us. The communists and the Muslims tell them all white
missionaries are spies sent out by their governments as agents for
the capitalistic imperialists. We know it isn’t true, but newspaper
reports tell of how some missionaries are getting funds from the
CIA. We love the American missionaries in the Lord. We wish
they could stay, but the only hope for us to evangelize our own
country is for all white missionaries to leave.”
Untold millions of dollars still are being wasted today by
our denominations and missions as they erect and protect
elaborate organizational frameworks overseas. There was a time
when Western missionaries needed to go into these countries
in which the Gospel was not preached. But now a new era has
begun, and it is important that we officially acknowledge this.
God has raised up indigenous leaders who are more capable
than outsiders to finish the job.
Now we must send the major portion of our funds to native
missionaries and church growth movements. But this does not
mean we do not appreciate the legacy left to us from Western
missionaries. Although I believe changes must be made in our
missionary methods, we praise God for the tremendous contribution
Western missionaries have made in many Two-Thirds
World countries where Christ was never before preached.
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
Through their faithfulness, many were won to Jesus, churches
were started and the Scriptures were translated. These converts
are today’s native missionaries.
Silas Fox, a Canadian who served in South India, learned
to speak the local native language of Telugu and preached
the Word with such anointing that hundreds of present-day
Christian leaders in Andhra Pradesh can trace their spiritual
beginnings to his ministry.
I thank God for missionaries like Hudson Taylor, who against
all wishes of his foreign mission board became a Chinese in his
lifestyle and won many to Christ. I am not worthy to wipe the
dust from the feet of thousands of faithful men and women of
our Lord who went overseas during times like these.
Jesus set the example for native missionary work. “As my
Father hath sent me,” He said, “even so send I you” (John
20:21). The Lord became one of us in order to win us to the love
of God. He knew He could not be an alien from outer space so
He became incarnated into our bodies.
For any missionary to be successful he must identify
with the people he plans to reach. Because Westerners usually
cannot do this, they are ineffective. Anyone—Asian or
American—who insists on still going out as a representative of
Western missions and organizations will be ineffective today.
We cannot maintain a Western lifestyle or outlook and work
among the poor of Asia.
Three, Western missionaries, and the money they bring, compromise
the natural growth and independence of the national Church.
The economic power of Western currencies distorts the picture
as Western missionaries hire key national leaders to run their
I once met with a missionary executive of one of the major
U.S. denominations. He is a loving man whom I deeply respect
as a brother in Christ, but he heads the colonial-style extension
A G l o b a l V i s i o n
of his denomination into Asia.
We talked about mutual friends and the exciting growth that
is occurring in the national churches of India. We shared much
in the Lord. I quickly found he had as much respect as I did for
the Indian brothers God is choosing to use in India today. Yet
he would not support these men who are so obviously anointed
by God.
I asked him why. His denomination is spending millions of
dollars annually to open up their churches in Asia—money I
felt could be far better used supporting native missionaries in
the churches the Holy Spirit is spontaneously birthing.
His answer shocked and saddened me.
“Our policy,” he admitted without shame, “is to use the
nationals only to expand churches with our denominational
The words rolled around in my mind, “use the nationals.”
This is what colonialism was all about, and it is still what the
neocolonialism of most Western missions is all about. With
their money and technology, many organizations are simply
buying people to perpetuate their foreign denominations, ways
and beliefs.
In Thailand, a group of native missionaries was “bought
away” by a powerful American parachurch organization. Once
effectively winning their own people to Christ and planting
churches in the Thai way, their leaders were given scholarships
to train in the United States. The American organization provided
them with expense accounts, vehicles and posh offices in
What price did the native missionary leader pay? He must
use foreign literature, films and the standard method of this
highly technical American organization. No consideration is
being made of how effective these tools and methods will be in
building the Thai Church. They will be used whether they are
R e v o l u t i o n i n Wo r l d Mi s s i o n s
effective or not because they are written into the training manuals
and handbooks of this organization.
After all, the reasoning of this group goes, these programs
worked in Los Angeles and Dallas—they must work in Thailand
as well!
This kind of thinking is the worst neocolonialism. To use
God-given money to hire people to perpetuate our ways and
theories is a modern method of old-fashioned imperialism. No
method could be more unbiblical.
The sad fact is this: God already was doing a wonderful work
in Thailand by His Holy Spirit in a culturally acceptable way.
Why didn’t this American group have the humility to bow
before the Holy Spirit and say, “Have Thine own way, Lord”? If
they wanted to help, I think the best way would have been to
support what God already was doing by His Holy Spirit. By the
time this group finds out what a mistake it has made, the missionaries
who messed up the local church will be going home
for furlough—probably never to return.
At their rallies they will tell stories of victories in Thailand as
they evangelized the country American-style; but no one will
be asking the most important question, “Where is the fruit that
Often we become so preoccupied with expanding our own
organizations that we do not comprehend the great sweep of
the Holy Spirit of God as He has moved upon the peoples of
the world. Intent upon building “our” churches, we have failed
to see how Christ is building “His” Church in every nation. We
must stop looking at the lost world through the eyes of our
particular denomination. Then we will be able to win the lost
souls to Jesus instead of trying to add more numbers to our
man-made organizations to please the headquarters that control
the funds.

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