Monday, December 03, 2007

Apologetics on the Mission Field

Seven years ago Paul Carden wrote an important article about the need for apologetics around the world. "CONFRONTING CULTS ON WORLD MISSION FIELDS: Will We Rise to the Challenge?" demonstrates the dire need for Christians to take seriously the influence cults are having beyond our local neighborhoods...

"Around the world, cults and controversial new religions are multiplying as they gain cross-cultural sophistication, increase their missionary forces, and step up their translation capabilities. They appear at disaster sites to distribute relief supplies and counsel refugees, and they're going toe-to-toe with evangelical missionaries in the most unexpected places. Their proliferation points to the need for greater awareness among missions strategists and a wider, more effective response on the field."

One example of this happening is the growth of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia: (other examples can be found in the article)

"Cults lost no time in entering the former Soviet Union, where Jehovah's Witnesses grew at the amazing rate of about 30% per year between 991 and 997, tripling in size. If they continue at this pace for the next six years, there will be half a million active Witnesses there, spending 50 million hours per year spreading the Watchtower message. The Witnesses already boast of being the "fifth-largest Christian group in Russia," and the damage from the cult's efforts extends well beyond its own membership: Jehovah's Witnesses distribute nearly 5,000 tons of literature per year in Russia alone - material which undermines trust in the Trinity, the biblical Jesus, and a host of core Christian doctrines, thus inoculating untold numbers of people against the Gospel message, even if they don't fully commit to joining the sect."

In less "modernized" areas it is not uncommon for Christian missionaries to convert members of a group of people, set up a church, and leave, only to find out that a cult came in afterward and gave the converts "further revelation." The gospel does need to go forth throughout the nations, Christians should be interested in caring for the sick and the poor, but we must also be concerned with protecting people from the dangerous errors the enemy is spreading.

It is for these reasons that I'd like to draw your attention to a new branch of Carden's ministry opening in Africa: the Africa Center for Apologetics Research, which will be headed up by our friend John Divito. For those who don't remember, John joined our blog during the celebrations of Joseph Smith's 200th birthday to help us discuss Mormonism. He since launched his own blog (The Reformed Baptist Thinker) and once enough money is raised, he will be moving his family to Uganda.

As a college student I don't have much money to shell out to ministries, but John's is one of the few I've endeavored to help out because of the urgent need for such learned men to confront these issues in such a localized and constructive manner. Of course I like John because he's a Reformed Baptist, but I also believe he's uniquely equipped to handle this ministry with great effectiveness for the Kingdom of God.

For more information about his ministry, check out the links below:

The Challenge
The Vision
How You Can Help!

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