I want to be very careful in my choice of words on this blog. There is a story that I need to tell which should illustrate clearly the challenge facing us here in our own country when it comes to our task of sharing Christ.
So I am sitting at a computer in the hotel in Asia typing a blog for readers at home. I was not particularly aware that the person at the next computer was reading over my shoulder from time to time. Suddenly the person began to state out loud what they were typing. The words were words of disdain and denigration for the mission work in which I was engaged. In a moment I was confronted directly. The person stated that they were very anti-Christian and that I should not be in that country and should leave those people alone. My adversary was an American. Obviously this attacker was convinced that all religions are equally foolish and that Christianity was an evil religion that should not be exported from the U. S. The precariousness of this assault was compounded by the fact that if they complained to authorities, I could be in some trouble. One remark that was made was that the only Christians in that country were the ignorant tribes from the mountains. I could not resist responding that I was teaching at seminaries among well educated people who spoke multiple languages. I basically said, “You obviously have no idea what is happening in this country.” I think the person became a little embarrassed by their attitude and my calm response because as they left the room they did so with a rather cordial wish for a good night’s rest for me. I have been praying for and hoping for a follow up conversation with this person ever since. I hope they might read this blog and dialogue with me. I want to disuss the notion that we don’t have any business sharing Christ in Asia. I want that person to realize that Christianity is not, and has never been, an American religion. It began in the Middle East and had begun to spread into Asia before the end of the first century A. D. However, the most amazing fact about this person is that this person is from Austin, Texas. Here I was in a country where I could not even state my purpose for being there lest I be denied a visa, I could be arrested if a local official objected to my presence, and I was working with people who faced frequent persecution, but my most hostile opponent was from Austin, Texas. I laughed out loud at the irony of it. I also renewed my own conviction that we are losing our heritage as a nation of freedom loving people who are strongly committed to the cause of a biblical faith. We have work to do.