Discover more from Global Witness, Globally Reimagined.
An Antidote for Functional Atheism
Because We All Need It
Welcome to “Global Witness, Globally Reimagined,” where we dream about mission in a postcolonial world. Every Thursday, I share one thought that has spoken to me in the week, some resources I trust will be helpful to you, and three exciting quotes about mission. I pray one of these will energise you in the coming week.
1. Thought I Can’t Shake Off
The work of evangelism is not for the faint-hearted. Especially here in Europe, where the usual perks and tools that many use to evangelise—healing, provision, and deliverance for charismatics and Pentecostals and wisdom, logic, and reason for the others—do not matter to many, the gospel must be communicated in new and fresh ways. My sense is that such ways are yet to emerge. The challenges are many. Individualism, secularism, and nominal Christianity coupled with functional atheism, (and all these are interconnected) create a unique scenario that many non-Western evangelists have not seen before. At the centre of the European challenge is the cultural dualism that causes many to believe in the separation between the spiritual and the material (or the secular and the religious, as well as the holy and the profane). Of course, many Europeans do not even believe in an invisible world of spirits (apart from that of witches, like those seen in Harry Potter and Macbeth). Many of them talk about spirituality without believing in spirits.
It is for this reason that I believe that to evangelise among Europeans today is to actually invite them to adopt a new worldview—one that has a God who is a Spirit in it (John 4) and in which Jesus, through the Spirit, lives side us and reigns over all our affairs. Nothing short of this will do. We cannot effectively evangelise in Europe without challenging these dualisms. Following Christ is only possible in the power of the Spirit who fills all things, including those we consider secular. Paul’s invitation to “walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16) is one of his most profound exhortations to us. Thus, we need to find new ways of talking about the gospel that do not only respond to the concerns that people have with Christianity but also invite them to the enchanted reality that shapes the Christian life. We must seek to transcend these dualisms in our theology, missiology, ecclesiology, evangelism, discipleship, etc. Once we break free of these dualisms, prayer, fasting, and spiritual gifts become alive again in our communities. When people begin to expect the Spirit to show up, God does not disappoint.
2. Resources I am Enjoying
Podcast: Ep. 38: YWAM African Missionaries to Netherlands Elisha and Vimbai Nyandoro
On this episode of the Very Bold Radio and Podcast, host Steve Teel welcomes Elisha and Vimbai Nyandoro to the studio. Elisha and Vimbai are both African missionaries from Zimbabwe witnessing to the testimony of Jesus in Netherlands on the platform of the Youth with a Mission initiative, an interdenominational Christian training organisation dedicated to mission. In this discourse with Steve, among other issues, the couple talk about their faith, missionary journey and experience, and God’s faithfulness. Elisha and Vimbai represent the face of the diverse non-Western missionaries carry out God’s mission around the world. Like their Western counterparts, they also come with gifts that can help our missionary engagements today. As such, we must listen to and partner with them for greater effectiveness and fruitfulness.
3. Quotes I am Pondering
When, through the incarnation, divinity was translated into humanity, God in Christ as the second Adam fully and completely identified with fallen human nature in order to redeem it. God disempowered himself that he might empower his people in the course of mission. — J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu.
Evangelism cannot be done without the help of the Holy Spirit, but wisdom also dictates that if an approach is not productive, it needs to change. — Bisi Adeneke-Koevoets.
… evangelism and Christian mission are basically a spiritual battle. — Kalemba Mwambazambi
I pray that you will be faithful to the mission God has for you this week.