Continuing the Conversation about a Biblical Paradigm
By Beth Snodderly
When I read Andy’s plea for keeping “why we do what we do” more front and center in our discussions about Unreached People Groups (UPGs), I realized there is a complete absence in UPG discussions about God’s adversary, the devil, who is responsible in the first place for the need for reaching UPGs. I summarized that in the article, in Ralph Winter's own words, about his "Warfare Missiology."
Three other short summaries of Ralph Winter’s missiology each start and end with a concern for what God is doing in history to win a people back to himself from the evil "ruler of this world" (John 16:11) and how his reputation is marred in this world and needs to be rescued.
Biblical "Witness" to God's Character against the Adversary's Accusations
Brian Lowther, Director of the Roberta Winter Institute, recently posted a new blog that compares "witnessing" to a courtroom scenario, with the devil as the accuser and the witnesses defending God's character.
This means “witnessing” by our lives and words both against the devil’s accusations and deceptions and, by our actions and words, for the character of God which is: Good, Loving, Kind, Peace-loving, Gentle, Long-suffering, Righteous, Merciful, Faithful, Meek and humble, Patient, Forgiving, Sacrificial, Overcoming of evil with good.
WCIU’s approach to “international development” has this very thing in mind: demonstrations of the power of the Gospel to change lives and societies. But we have to start at "home," as in Acts 1:8, and subsequently follow the expanding circles of influence.
But this witness happens only after we, as Jesus’ followers, “receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon [us].” And the holiness of God’s Spirit, that has to first come upon us to be authentic witnesses, is what Jesus’ character demonstrated. (“Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father, John 14:9; “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being”, Hebrews 1:3). The witness and fragrance our lives should be bearing testimony, through the empowering of the Holy Spirit, to the list of God’s characteristics mentioned above.
I think this is the sort of biblical discussion Andy is calling for. Changed hearts and re-directed lives start within ourselves and within our organization. Then the world looking on will be able to say “behold how they love one another” and will want to follow our God who makes that possible. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).