The last concern I want to mention is once again one that I believe can be perceived more easily from the Muslim field, where the followers of Jesus, inasmuch as we know, are more or less one out of every 50,000 people. Before the reality of so many unreached people groups, it is sad to hear of missionary projects that, in the end, are only efforts so that, in places that already have several evangelical churches, there may be one more of our denomination.
The desire to plant our flag, whether as a church, denomination, or mission agency, many times has much more to do with fleshly pride than with the Spirit of Christ. Neither our denominations nor our mission agency will go to heaven, only people redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. In the country in which I serve, the leaders of the approximately thirty small secret national churches (one for every million inhabitants) have decided that they do not want to use, nor for anyone from the outside to impose on them, denominational labels. They are simply members of Kenisat Nur ("The Light" Church), or Kenisa Kalimat Al Hayiat ("Word of Life" Church) in such and such a city. I believe that, as foreign workers, we ought to respect this desire. Will we be able to do it? Or will our partisan arrogance eventually betray us?
Among the missionary agencies, at times, something similar happens: we end up having to "reinvent the wheel", creating a whole other supervision and support structure, just because the agency that already has teams working in that place is not ours. And in the end, who will get credit for the results? Partisan or denominational (or ethnic or classist or nationalist) arrogance, just like any other idolatry, brings along with it a grave danger, since we are dealing with a jealous God, who resists the proud, and will not give His glory to another (Exodus 34.14, 1 Peter 5.5, Isaiah 42.8). On the mission field, we need humble workers, who fear God and respect their brothers and sisters, with a big heart and an open mind, desirous to serve Jesus together with all those who call on the Lord with a clean heart.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Partisan Arrogance on the Mission Field
One more concern voiced by Latin American missionary "Antonio Peralta" at COMIBAM 2006 in Granada has to do with what he calls "partisan arrogance" on the mission field: