There is a topic about which there is generally little spoken of in Canadian evangelical circles. It is something that I remember hearing much more about when I was a youngster, about a hundred years ago. And, my role in the world of cross-cultural missions assures me that this topic remains a reality for evangelical Christianity in the Global South. I am not sure why this topic has largely fallen off the teaching and practical agenda for the western church but it has. Can you guess what it is?
I am talking about spiritual warfare.
He has an army that he employs to accomplish this mission.
I bought a book at a mission’s conference a few years ago called ‘Spiritual Warfare and Missions; The battle for God’s glory among the nations’. It is co-written by Jerry Rankin and Ed Stetzer. Rankin was a missionary to Indonesia for many years and then served in various leadership positions in Asia and eventually as the President of the International Mission Board for the Southern Baptists. Stetzer is an author, speaker, researcher, pastor, church planter, and Christian missiologist. Stetzer is Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College and Executive Director of the Billy Graham Centre at Wheaton College. He is the North American Regional Director for Lausanne International and serves as interim Teaching Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in New York City. He is a contributor to the North American discussion on missional church, church planting, church revitalization, and Christian cultural engagement.
Rankin and Stetzer have come from different backgrounds and experiences but all that they have done reflects the shared focus on the great commission. They believe God is moving in providence and power toward that coming day when representatives from every people, tongue, tribe, and nation will be gathered around the throne of God. Praise for the Lamb that was slain and the ushering in of the kingdom of God will result in the worship and praise of the One to whom all glory is due.
Their conviction is always that the task of discipling the nations is
not the responsibility of an elite group of missionaries sent out on
behalf of the church but this is a mandate given to all the people of
God. No one is exempt from the task of bearing witness to the ends
of the earth of the salvation that can be found in Jesus Christ alone.
They have each sought to mobilize and channel the potential of local churches toward fulfillment of the Great Commission. In recent years their roles have merged at times as opportunities for coordinated collaboration in meeting this challenge have surfaced.
They make the point that God is moving in unprecedented ways to penetrate nations and peoples long deprived of the message of the gospel and as we move further into the 21st century this sovereign God is using global events to open doors of opportunity in response to the pervasive spiritual hunger of a sinful and fallen world. Yet, an enemy exists who is jealous of God's glory and is doing everything he possibly can using his devious and evil schemes to barricade the spread of the gospel and hinder the proclamation of God's glory.
Satan is identified as the deceiver of the nations. His subtle tactics as an angel of light are powerful as he tries to weaken and distort the witness of God's people. The powers of darkness create distorted religious worldviews, cause totalitarian governments to restrict Christian witness, and seek to squelch the advance of the kingdom through the persecution of believers. However, proving to be even more successful is Satan's ability to use our own self-centred, fleshly nature and inclination to compromise with worldly carnal influences that continue to divert God's people from the priority of God's mission.
The message of this book has grown out of seeing many churches begin to catch the vision and be shaped by a passion for involvement in global missions. What could happen if every church and every Christian became obedient to what our God has called us to do? The potential of the kingdoms of this world becoming the kingdom of our Lord is evident. But Satan doesn't want that to happen. They pray this book will expose the enemy's tactics and challenge the people of God to become focused on declaring His glory among the nations.
So, what we intend to do in this blog series is to give a brief summary of each chapter in this book and hopefully learn how the enemy is trying to deter us from our Great Commission work and spark some discussion about how we can overcome the enemy’s efforts and see the truth in God’s word.
I know that there are many of you who have liked our blog posts and we are grateful for this. But I would like to ask you to take this engagement to the next level. Would you also share these posts on your social media platforms? When you like a post, we are the only ones that know and see your engagement. But if you share these posts, your friends see the link to the blog posts and the message spreads far beyond OMS Canada’s network. So let’s make this go as far as we can and engage as many of God’s people as possible.