An Atheist Talks About the Impact of the Gospel
I was ecstatic to read the recent article in Christianity today on the impact of 19th Century missionaries on colonial nations. Matt Chandler of the Village church also referenced the article in his January 26, 2014 sermon here: http://www.thevillagechurch.net/sermon/the-nations/
The reason I bring up this topic again is because of the ubiquitous attack in pop culture on the Christian faith. The sins of the church of yesteryear (such as the crusades and witch hunts) are often brought up in order to besmirch the Bride of Christ. We have enough of our own sin today to keep skeptics busy for a long time (thinking specifically of pedophilia in the clergy). It’s time for us to celebrate the triumphs of Jesus Christ through the church! Celebrate loud. Don’t only celebrate the 19th Century missionary impact on democracy, celebrate the end of slavery, brought about in large part through the Christian convictions of William Wilberforce. Celebrate the end of widespread cannibalism in the South Pacific. Celebrate hospitals, and the foundation of modern science. Celebrate the compassionate outreach of Mother Theresa, and many thousands like her who continue to labor quietly in the shadows of poverty, pouring themselves out in service to God and the poor. It is easy to find the blemishes on the church, and sometimes the good points are overlooked. So let’s look at them. Remember the first and second great awakenings? Remember how the police ran out of work to do in communities where revival took hold? Did you know that in current day Africa, if a traveler encounters a village in the jungle with a visible steeple, he knows he will be safe there? But if there is no steeple…no guarantees. An atheist comments on his personal experiences in Africa, and the difference that Christianity makes there: http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/3502-matthew-parris-as-an-atheist-i-truly-believe-africa-needs-god I don’t agree with his explanation, “It offers something to hold on to to those anxious to cast off a crushing tribal groupthink. That is why and how it liberates.” Humanity needs liberation from more than tribalism or groupthink: we need liberation from our sin nature, and that is only found in Christ. In spite of all of the amazing accomplishments of mankind, we are powerless against the titan forces of sin in our own hearts.
These are the widespread effects of the gospel on society. What about localized effects? What impact has Christ and his life-giving message of forgiveness made on you or someone you know? How has the power of the Holy Spirit delivered you from bondage?