P. 9

Let me list three reasons why thinking from the Majority       Learning from the
          World will be of great value to the church worldwide.
                                                                         Global Church
          1.   All Christian truth is cruciform coming from a theology
             of the cross of Christ and from a belief that obedience
             to Christ cannot be divorced from taking up a cross of      In Conversation with
             suffering. Suffering and material deprivation can foster
             deep thinking about God’s truth which Christians living     Chris Wright & Ajith Fernando
             in the affluent West could easily miss. As suffering and
             persecution are realities in most churches in Majority World   An excerpt from “On Mission with Chris Wright,” a
             nations, these churches are uniquely positioned to enrich   podcast from Langham Partnership.
             the church with deep, health-giving, cruciform truth.
                                                                         CHRIS: I just wonder what you think of as your primary
          2.   In many parts of the western world, churches are          or most urgent message for the church, especially the
             in decline and are losing the positions of influence        church in the West. Now you’ve written this, and I’m
             they once had. In response to this, some Christian          quoting: “I have a great fear for the church. The West
             communities, trying not to cause offense to outsiders, are   is fast becoming an unreached region. The Bible and
             soft-peddling radical Christian essentials and losing their   history show that suffering is an essential ingredient
             cutting edge. Others are trying to assert that their views   in reaching unreached people. So will the loss of a
             are the official values of the nation and should therefore   theology of suffering lead the western church to
             be enforced. Sadly, many are pursuing these paths in ways   become ineffective in evangelism?”
             that are viewed by outsiders as intolerant and arrogant.
                                                                         AJITH: I think one of the important things to
             Christians in the West can be emboldened and instructed     remember is that the Christians were a majority in the
             by hearing the voices from churches where growth and        West for a long time. And so they were privileged and
             vitality is evidenced in the midst of persecution. There are   they had their way there. The government was in some
             helpful models of winsome witness amidst hardship.          ways serving the church almost, and that has changed.
                                                                         And one of the fears I have is that people begin to
             Their vibrant experiences of growth and of God’s power
             have contributed a unique flavor to their interpretation of   panic and respond with unnecessary aggression to
             and approach to God’s truth. When Christians experience     their loss of power within the community. When Paul
             God powerfully at work among them, their eyes are           said he becomes all things to all people, one of the
             opened afresh to discovering certain biblical truths,       things he said was, “To the weak I became weak.” And
                                                                         I think weakness is one of the ways by which we can
                                                                         present the glory of the gospel, because there is a truth
                                                                         about Christianity, which is so convincing, so real, that
                                                                         we don’t have to be afraid. What I fear is that when
                                                                         people see their power going, they are hitting back,
                                                                         they are bitter.

                                                                         But there is the confidence in truth that gives us
                                                                         freedom, in spite of all the attacks that come to us,
                                                                         to speak winsomely about the gospel. And I think
                                                                         that is the way the West is going to be reached again.
                                                                         The West was losing ground. The church was losing

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