While Engage Daily focuses much of its attention on issues of life, justice, religious freedom, and other cultural issues, especially in the context of the USA, I also want to emphasize the cause of world evangelization. Today's organization is the Lausanne Movement.
I recently was inspired toward an increased concern for world evangelization after re-reading the following excerpts from John Piper's book God's Passion for His Glory. They are from Chapter Four of this excellent book, entitled "Jonathan Edwards, Enjoying God, and the Transformation of Culture: The Public Life of a Modern Evangelical."
These excerpts make this post quite a bit longer than most at Engage Daily, but please read on. May they inspire and encourage us all to keep our lens of "cultural transformation" as wide as God's own. Piper writes,
"Jonathan Edwards could not imagine a Christian being indifferent to the morals and manners of his own city or country. He said,
'A Christian spirit... disposes a person to be public-spirited. A man of right spirit is not of a narrow, private spirit; but is greatly concerned for the good of the public community to which he belongs, and particularly of the town where he dwells. A Christian spirited man will be also concerned for the good of his country."
Piper continues, "That quote from a sermon on 1 Corinthians 13 gives us a glimpse into the cultural scope of Edward's concern for the world. But even that quote doesn't come close to the scope he really believed in . Edwards knew something that many social activists and culture-watchers in America - evangelicals and others - don't seem to know or care about, namely, that cultures and societies and people who have no Christian presence in them at all cannot even begin to experience Christ-exalting social or cultural transformation. In other words, Edwards was deeply committed to world evangelization and cared as much (or more) about the advance of the kingdom among unreached peoples of the world as he did about the morals of Northampton, Massachusetts.
In other words, if you had asked Edwards what is the really pressing, crucial issue of cultural transformation in the world, I think Edwards would have said, 'The really pressing issue in culture transformation is culture penetration. If the glorious God-centered gospel of Christ does not penetrate a people and beget worshipping, nurturing, evangelizing churches, there is not the slightest hope of transformation."
Piper concludes, "So the first message of Jonathan Edwards to modern evangelicals about our public lives is: Don't limit your passion for justice and peace to such a limited concern as the church-saturated landscape of American culture. Lift up your eyes to the real crisis of our day: namely, several thousand cultures still unpenetrated by the gospel, who can't even dream of the blessings we want to restore."
I for one am taking Edwards' and Piper's message to heart, and will be highlighting organizations involved in world missions more often on Sundays at Engage Daily. While we influence our neighborhoods, cities, states and nation perhaps more directly, our prayers and other resources can and should also be directed toward the cause of making disciples of all nations.
I think a good place to start is the Lausanne Movement. To like this movement on Facebook, click here. Sometime during the next few days or weeks, please familiarize yourself with this foundational global missions movement, and its three statements, from each of its global meetings:
While they are not short, they are excellent foundational reading for increasing our heart and prayer for the nations.