A publication of Gospel for Asia by K.P. Yohannan
My review for this book is mixed. There is a lot I can agree with, and some parts I thought were harsh or judgmental. The book tells both the story of K.P. Yohannan and what God is doing in Asia.
In many ways, I agree with his thoughts. His heart is for Asia and for building a network of indigenous missionaries to preach the Word in Asia. We do need more indigenous missionaries preaching to their own people, but not to the exclusion of sending other missionaries to foreign countries. I agree that it is expensive for a foreigner to go, and with the economy sinking like a paper boat on water, missionaries should find ways to support their work in a foreign country where possible. There are two points in the book that moved me:
Where are the transformational ministries?
By appearances, most charitable organizations appear to not make any difference at all in towns. Yohannan writes about this in Chapter 12:
“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!” (emphasis mine)
He devotes an entire chapter to this, giving a balanced viewpoint to Christian charity.
Where is our passion for people who are destined for hell?
“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 priority.” (emphasis mine)
Chapter Fourteen exhorts us to be a part of the revolution. In my experience, I don’t see this desperation in church. I see what I have once felt myself–apathy.
I went to church. I came home. I went to work. I didn’t see the faces, be they wealthy or poor, in line, around me, until the Holy Spirit lit my heart on fire. It’s also easy to remain silent when faced with division or disagreement.
In American society, we have a saying, “Don’t talk religion or politics.” Without either being discussed, evil wins. It’s not a very pleasant discussion at a party to say to an unbeliever, “If you don’t believe in Jesus, you’ll go to hell.” That will quickly excommunicate you from the family or friendship.
I suggest all believers take a perspectives.org course. Its lessons can be translated into your context. Learn how to talk about Jesus in settings hostile to Christianity.
Meanwhile, if you read this book, consider its context. While towards the end it sounds harsh and judgmental (I actually stopped reading at page 135/209 because the tone really bothered me), it really does have some great information, encouragement, and sounds like a revolutionary leader preaching to its soldiers on the battlefield. I gave it four stars. Gospel for Asia is a great organization to support with obviously a heart for lost souls. No matter the tone detected, the heart was true.
So What Can You Do?
- Register with perspectives.org. Learn about how you can be a missionary right where you are!
- If you work for a charitable organization, publish about transformations and how God is changing people into His image. Use initials or pseudonyms (or real names if you have permission). Not everyone gets your newsletter. Let’s create some good noise online that thunders past all the negativity about church and Christians.
- Relationships are key. Get to know people whether poor, middle class, or wealthy. Don’t discriminate. Everyone needs to know Jesus. You can still love people and disagree with them. You can build relationships with people and pray for them as you talk to them about what God is doing in your life. Some of the most powerful testimonies are personal and scriptural.
- Join our team. We need you.