Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Reformation In World Missions by Bob Finley

This book is written by an international mission whose mission is to send funds to native Christian ministries in so-called mission field countries all over the world. These countries are in many closed countries and hostile areas that do not welcome foreign Christian workers as missionaries. Headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia, Christian Aid Mission sends financial assistance to over 700 native missions that operate more than 400 Bible institutes and centers that train native Christian missionaries. These missions and training centers send over 80,000 native, front-line Christian missionaries on the field. Many of these workers work in closed lands of persecution, and in areas hostile to Christianity, where American (and I'm sure no other Western) missionaries are not welcome. This author is the founder and owner of Christian Aid Mission, after traveling to both Korea and China. This book's first chapter begins with a call to change and why this change is needed. The second chapter establishes why the Bible does not support the traditional mission model of sending out foreign Western missionaries to continents like Asia or Africa or to other lands. The third chapter provides the Biblical model. The rest of the chapters make a case for native Christian missions and missionaries, using numerous stories from and examples of why the traditional mission model is no longer relevant and why it must be generally abandoned. The book ends with a final chapter and a "final word" that sum up the arguments of this book. The book concludes with a glossary of specialized terms.

The title pretty much describes what this book is all about. I had read a book of a similar nature on this very same subject, so this book and its arguments did not take me by surprise. I'm talking about REVOLUTION IN WORLD MISSIONS, which I have reviewed in an earlier post. I'm even more convinced by this author's case that he makes for native Christian missions and native Christian missionaries. I found myself being surprised at how our Western co-patriots, as missionaries, have come off to so many severely impoverished peoples whom they were sincerely trying to reach. And our traditional, Western missionaries have, as long as I can remember, been almost idolized as "elite Christians" and models for all of us to follow. The author's credibility is enhanced by the fact that he himself is Western. He is not speaking as a critical or envious international person, not can he be construed as such a person. This author gives due credit to the pioneer missionaries, even to saying how unworthy he feels that he is of them. His argument is that the need for such missionaries is largely over in many closed nations and hostile areas, where there are native Christian workers, usually working at great personal cost and risk, trying to make Christ known to underreached and unreached people groups. This author provides many examples from both Scripture and from modern experience for why we Christians in the must change our traditional missions model to this evolving, growing model that is going on today. I'm so convinced by his call to de-emphasize sending Westerners to "mission field countries" and instead to stay home and support native Christian workers, that I have given my last book on this topic to our local congregation. The author argues how focusing on staying home and sending resources to impoverished native Christian workers, would go farther to further the cause of Christ than to send Westerners who are often viewed with suspicion by native peoples and understandably. I know that many in the Christian community may not want to let go of our traditional model and the author points this out. But if we really want to see Christ made known by "those who have not heard," we should be open to his point of view and pray about this, corporately and as individuals.

I strongly recommend this book for every Pastor and for all those who serve on church boards. I also strongly recommend this book for any and every Christian who is interested in world missions or is interested in becoming a professional missionary. They may not like this author's arguments and may be offended and even insulted, but this is a message that must be heard by every people who cares about "those who have not heard." I recommend this book for all individual Christians. This book and others can be obtained free of charge at the website of the nonprofit called Christian Aid Mission. You can go here.

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