Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Quo Vadis Europe?

Back a little more than a year ago, I wrote a post that asked “does the Bible really give us solid footing for continuing to have hope for Europe?” I am still searching for answers to that question.

In the meantime, here are some links to a scattered collection of very thought-provoking articles on the spiritual condition of, and possible eschatological hope for Europe

Europe: the Prodigal Continent by Jeff Fountain

Europe: God’s Experiment? by Wim Rietkerk

Turn Out the Lights as You Leave? Germany’s Church Crisis by Albert Mohler

Holland’s Post-Secular Future by Joshua Livestro (HT: Jim Hamilton)

Important Article “The Power of Faith” by Derek Webster

Portuguese Evangelicals United in a Vision to Transform the Nation by Paulo Pascoal (HT: Andrew Jones)


Anonymous said...


I have wanted to write responses to your last two articles but have been unable to; I can't let this one go. So, let me thank you for your challenging thoughts and research. IT IS GREAT! You are a gifted writer and need to keep it up, whatever the Lord has planned for you down the road. We, too, are on stateside assignment this summer. It would be a joy to meet you at some point.

Your thoughts on Europe and the gospel are particularly relevant to those of us ministering on this side of the pond. I have plowed through the articles you linked in this post and looked at the web-sites. Thanks for sharing such great resources. They all beg the question, "Why is it so hard here?"

Our team continually reviews if we are sharing the gospel, if we are sharing it in a way that is understood, and how we can do it better. We don't know what does work, but we have quite a good grip on the many ways that don't.

"Missions Misunderstood" had an interesting blog earlier this week. I read nothing negative in it but, wow, was one of our colleagues upset! Read the first comment, if you have not seen it yet.

I think it is this issue that "MM" is running up against. I like "MM" and thoroughly relate to much that he/she writes. In the battle to keep going when there seems to be almost no response, we begin to see ourselves in a different light than we imagined when being appointed and trained. We go from great missionaries bringing the gospel in the heart of darkness, to grasping at any hint of effectiveness.

We hear phrases like "plowing concrete with toothpicks" to describe the spiritual climate here. However, I find hope and some measure of effectiveness in relationships and relevance.

Miroslav Wolf, http://www.yale.edu/faith/center/volf.htm, a famous Croatian theologian has called it embrace or exclude in his recent book. While we would not accept all of Dr. Wolf's theology, I am continually challenged by him to reflect the grace I received to the people I am with. We seek to relate to all with God's grace and to be relevant to the culture through a multitude of approaches which enable us to build bridges to people. It is slow work, but it is where we have found effectiveness.

Trey Atkins
IMB - Croatia

Paul said...

David, I wonder if you have heard of Philip Jenkin's latest book, "God's Continent."

Many will know Jenkins as the eminent historian who authored of the seminal book, "The Next Christendom."

"God's Continent" is very hopeful for Christianity in Europe and is extensively reviewed in the latest First Things journal.

David Rogers said...


Thank you for your kind words. I would love to be able to meet you as well. Will you be at MLC by chance in October?

I agree that the question "why is it so hard in Europe?" is one of the big questions in missions today. It is hard for me to accept that God has given up on Europe, or does not have a plan for something a good bit more significant than what we are seeing now.

I do not always agree with all of the views expressed on the Missions Misunderstood blog, but it definitely does ask some good questions, and make you think, especially in light of our unique missionary role in Europe. And I think the criticism directed that way is for the most part unfounded.

I hope to look into the writings of Miroslav Wolf as I find the time to do so. Thanks for the suggestion.

David Rogers said...


Thanks for the recommendation. I "googled" the title, and, from what I read on the reviews, I am definitely going to have to make a point to get ahold of this book.