Monday, April 21, 2008

The American mission field

"You are now entering the mission field." This message has been posted above the exits doors of countless church buildings. And there's a lot of truth in it. Perhaps now more than ever, as illustrated by David Wells:

"The United States," writes Gordon Melton, "is currently home to more than 1,500 different religious organizations - churches, sects, cults, temples, societies, missions," each the primary focus of spiritual allegiance for its adherents. Some of the more conservative Christian groups continue to speak of America as a Christian country, or at least that it should be... The reality, however, is that America is the world's most religiously diverse nation now and from a Christian point of view it is as fully a mission field as any to which churches now are sending their missionaries. This is true, not only because of the arrival of these new immigrants with their diverse religions, but also because of the post-modern decay in American culture." (Above All Earthly Pow'rs, p. 108)
This doesn't undermine our great need for foreign missionaries, but it does remind us of the spiritual darkness of our own country. It should also cause us to rethink our strategies for global evangelism. Let's not be deceived into thinking America is a "Christian nation." Time is short, and the need for the gospel in America is perhaps greater than ever before.

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