Friday, May 7, 2010

On Sudan, Miracles, And The Gospel

Tonight, I had a really edifying conversation about the impact and influence of Christianity in Sudan. I walked away with much to reflect on and much to consider. Here are some of the topics of conversation:

1. Due to the unstable political climate there is a melting pot of languages. As a result, the question must be asked, "what language do you preach the gospel?" Next time I think it is hard to preach a message, I should be thankful everyone speaks English.

2. Furthermore, there is a lack of educated ministers. As a result, there are many who must teach and preach who have not even a high school degree. With that said, God works in spite of this. And, often due to the passion and faithfulness of the heart of those called, many repent and forgive -not even waiting until the sermon is over to change their lives! Thus, How important it is to have men who are passionate and wholly devoted to the Lord. Or all the more, it is not enough to have knowledge and facts -godliness and faithfulness to the Lord cannot be substituted with education and degrees.

3. To be sure, there is also uncertain political realities that are looming. For instance, should Sudan remain united? Aside from all the war that separates families, the North is occupied by Muslims. As a result, many of the people in the south are resistant and would actually like to be free of their oppression. Yet, unfortunately it is in the south where there is all the oil. Without a doubt, the conversations in their churches are far different and faith requires more than a simple acknowledgement of a concept followed by a superficial change of life. There is no such thing in this climate. You are either are Christian who is persecuted or you are not. There is no room for casual Christianity.

4. Finally, death is not foreign to everyday life. Not only is war a common reality of their history, many die of illness and specifically aids. To be sure, the gospel cannot and must not be tamed. Faith must call one not simply to notional assent but a faith that transcends the reality of sickness and death. What is more, it begs the question -if God can forgive sin -can God not also heal your body? Indeed, if God creates you and can resurrect you -can he not heal your body from aids? Our faith must move beyond a common comprehension of the Christian life understood through the distorted lens of the "American Dream." Instead, the gospel must call people to die. To have radical faith that trusts Jesus as Paul, Peter and John portray. We must ask different questions. What is the fullness of the atonement? What does Jesus mean for the salvation and redemption of those who need more than your middle class American?

As the conversation went on, the Holy Spirit began to evoke the question in my heart: what would you give for the blind to see, the lame to walk, and for the gospel to regenerate dead souls to life? How difficult is it for my heart to ascend to the higher places of life and contemplate and live out the gospel and redemption of Christ radiating His glory to the world. Will I not have a deeper faith in Christ who has already forgiven me?

“Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk’? “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” — He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.” And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”

- Mark 2:8b-11

Lord give me a passion for Your glory!

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