Have you noticed how much God is mentioned in the public discourse? Politicians across the board end their speeches, “God bless America,” and some Canadian counterparts have added, “God bless Canada” as a closer. To talk about God or spiritual values is very non-offensive, but it gets a little sticky when Jesus is mentioned. Even then it depends on what aspect of Jesus you’re highlighting. When we speak of Jesus’ leadership skills, His servant-hood, His goal-setting abilities or the golden rule, everyone – atheist or believer – usually nods approvingly.
Monthly Archives: January 2009
Today many around the world are filled with admiration for America, for its ability to renew itself, shed old prejudices and move forward. My grandfather immigrated to America almost 100 years ago, and through the twist and turns of my own life I have had an opportunity to live in America, although born in Europe.
When I enrolled in Zion Bible Institute in 1973 my roommate Steve Rodriquez, an African-American, opened my eyes to racism. This was brand new to me; I came from Sweden, which at that time, especially in the smaller towns and rural areas, was almost completely a homogenous country. We had little or no reason to interact with people of other races. Years of travel around the world and across America have caused me to hear many stories of prejudice and meet many who have been victims of terrible discrimination. Racism is an ugly sin, and regrettably the church has not always been at the forefront in rooting it out.
Passion for souls is a rare commodity. Let’s define the word. Passion is zeal, deep concern. In my blog last week, I talked about the value of a soul. I contrasted it with the emphasis we put on feeding the hungry, church buildings, programs for those who are already believers in Christ and humanitarian aid. These worldly projects receive multiplied billions of dollars, while very little is invested for the salvations of souls. Does that mean that I’m uncaring about people’s physical and material needs? Not at all. I’m grateful that United Nations, The World Health Organization, UNESCO, the US and Canadian governments, European governments, and a whole list of NGOs (Christians and others), who are relieving poverty. I believe it has helped many, and even lifted some out of poverty.
Each soul has eternal value; it can be saved or lost. Jesus puts the value of the soul above “the whole world”. Yet, this simple fact has been deemphasized in evangelical Christianity. It is rare to come across a church or an individual believer who considers winning souls to be of supreme importance. Though lip service is paid to the task of evangelism, in practical terms buildings, musical instruments, programs for believers, feeding programs and a host of other activities get priority treatment way ahead of salvation of souls. We claim to believe in the value of souls, but not much of our offerings or people resources are committed to the cause of winning people to Christ. Yet, believers and unbelievers have one thing in common; God has put eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We are soul- and eternity-conscious. Why then does the question of eternal souls take a back seat?