“The spiritual temperature in many of our churches is so low right now that a new believer has to become a backslider to feel at home” (167).
“The average Christian spends more money on dog food and lawn care than for the cause of God’s kingdom because he has completely taken his life and finances away from the living God’s hand” (195).
OUCH – I hope your church doesn’t sound like this but unfortunately the stinging remarks that Yohannan makes in this book are all too true in the experience of many Christians. Perhaps women should be thankful that he doesn’t use inclusive language! I would question his basic premise that this is a problem that only the North American church grapples with. I know that churches planted by native missionaries also deal with sin and its consequences in their church. I read his most famous book, Revolution in World Missions some years ago and was curious to see if he would focus on that theme in this book as well. The main emphasis of his organisation, Gospel for Asia, is that western Christians should stay at home and donate money so that native (mostly Indian) missionaries can accomplish more for the same cost. That theme is also present in this book as can been seen from this quote:
“Re-evaluate the efficiency of your current missionary programs, especially those which support American missionaries or social services. Realize that most mission efforts which rely on American staff—or provide social services—are no longer effective” (159).
After reading Revolution in World Missions I was left wondering what western Christians are supposed to do if God calls them to be missionaries (or agents for social change). He does seems to allow a place for American missionaries in this book as can be seen from these statements:
“God may ask you to throw away your furniture, give up your education and career, abandon your business and inheritance, leave family and friends. He may ask you to drive an old car, wear out-of-fashion clothes from a swap shop, give up romance and plans for marriage, go to the foreign mission field, or move into an inner city slum” (173-74).
“For my wife an me, even before our children were born, it was our continuous prayer every day for God to save their souls and call them to be missionaries” (194).
Perhaps he only means that westerners can go overseas if they compliment his vision of supporting native missionaries, but the possibility remains open. On the whole this book is quite challenging and must cause us to examine our lives and ministries to ensure that they are fully honouring to God and not just to western cultural expectations. My only quibble is with Yohannan’s emphatic statements that supporting native missionaries is God’s only plan for reaching the rest of the world. He doesn’t talk about supporting missionaries to unreached people groups but rather supporting native missionaries, as if that is the only way it can be done.