God's ministry may not be “successful.” Jeremiah was from a priestly family, but God called him to prophecy against his own people (Jeremiah 1:1). He denounced the “Big Lie” of Judah's popular ritualistic worship and their confidence in man-made temples and palaces instead of God (7-10:25). Jeremiah warns Judah that God will respond if they don't restore the covenant, but he was beaten, thrown in the stocks (20:1) and later jailed (37). Like Noah (Genesis 6), his preaching had no impact, even though he reached the people, the priests and rulers of Judah (26). God still calls some of his people to unpopular ministries. However, God's definition of success is rarely measured in numbers. The call may be to question the “Big Lies” of our day: is worship ritualistic instead of a heartfelt communion with God? Are we exempt from judgment because we're a “Christian Nation?” Jesus was clear that we are to preach the gospel (Matt 28:18), even the unpopular parts (25:32), to all nations, even those where it won't be popular. God expects simple obedience, so successful ministry in God's eyes may not make man's history books.
Throughout history as man looked at the created world he has asked “Why does something exist instead of nothing?” Answers range from luck to a creator, but each view implies certain facts that must fit the characteristics of the world and its creator (if it has one). It is by comparing these views that the importance and necessity of God and His attributes become clear when revealed through the flaws of man's best attempts to explain his world.
During the Great Century of missions, how did the colonial and imperial mindset of the west influence the practices of missionaries? What were some positive and negative outcomes of this mission mentality? Is this still a factor for today?
Making the distinction between Our Culture, Their Culture, and God's Culture wasn't easy for protestant missionaries for who took advantage of the nations' zeal to colonize distant lands in the 19th Century (the Great Century of missions). As a result, The Great Commission came back into focus and Christ was preached around the globe, but in a mixed message that challenged natives to extract the Truth of the gospel from the cultural baggage of Europe.
Secularism has been promoted as the ideal throughout the 2oth century. Naturalistic science and reason have left no room for God as the Neo-Atheists have proselytized their faith in an accidental world. The roots of such secular thinking were nourished by the writings of Jean-Paul Sarte and Friedrich Nietzsche who was famed for coining the phrase "God is dead."
Yet, a new academic study is claiming that humans are intrinsically transcendental, or that humans are hard-wired for religion. Obviously this doesn't actually answer the question of whether God exists or not, and certainly doesn't that God is the Christian God, but it certainly supports Theism. "Is Secularism dead?"
Brett Yardley: Warrior for Christ. Devoted Husband. Proud Father. Martial Artist. Hopeful Philosopher & Theologian. Aspiring Teacher & Writer.