Sunday, November 20, 2005

USCWM calling Christian Aid out

"Many years ago a little Chinese girl fearfully stepped into the house of some newly-arrived missionaries 100 miles north of Beijing. Her parents had insisted that she listen to nothing these foreign devils; would say to her; she was only to help with the children, for her family desperately needed the extra income. She didn't listen. But she saw the husband open doors for his wife and treat her lovingly in other ways. She was totally astonished. Christianity was for her! Her grandson, Thomas Wang, is one of the most widely-known Chinese believers in the world today.
Only foreign missionaries physically present can make such an impact. In many countries the mistreatment of women, even by pastors, continues precisely because something else has not been modeled for them by redeemed believers from afar. Sending money to such pastors won't make those changes.
Sending money cannot take the place of sending godly people, godly families. This is what it means to respond to Jesus' call for us "to be my witnesses," not just send words. Sending money is not sending witnesses. In all of the remaining untouched people groups there are, by definition, not yet any local pastors to pay to evangelize. Actions speak louder than words or checks. The sheer example of a Christian family is the most often under-rated factor in missions!
It is with real sadness that we produce this issue at this time. Very rarely does a major mission organization come out with such blatantly harmful and misleading information. But now we have in our hands the Summer 2005 issue of Christian Aid's bulletin, Christian Mission, describing in some detail the work Bob Finley has been doing; from 1953 to 1976 with International Students, Inc., and from 1976 to the present with Christian Aid Mission. However, the actual work Christian Aid is doing is not so much the issue as what they are saying about other forms of mission." - Ralph Winter
Sounds like the US Center for World Mission is calling Christian Aid out on a few things. "Christian Aid Mission and some other similar missions don't send people but just money, loudly proclaiming that theirs is the only legitimate kind of mission, and that sending people of love and integrity is both unbiblical and harmful." Er right, sending people isn't at all what God had in mind...

Should be interesting to see what comes of it. One thing I've learned in the past few years - efforts in missions need to come under a bit of critical analysis and scrutiny instead of the mentality that, "It's missions so it must be great and we don't need to exercise accountability or ask any questions." In my role, people come to me when they are interested in missions experiences and I in turn always start asking a lot of questions. Many times, they've got a grand plan in mind by the time they come to me. When I ask these questions:
- I feel bad. I mean, these people have some great motives and are willing to really sacrifice time, comfort and money.
- They can feel defensive. They just told me about a desire for a great thing and I bring on the inquisition. "What is *his* problem?"
- I've learned to tell people at the very beginning that I will have a lot of questions and it's not them but our desire to be wise about mission experiences.

The entire Nov/Dec issue of Mission Frontiers is dedicated to this topic. The decision to bring this to light was very difficult I'm sure. But the USCWM and Dr. Winter "are out to promote the overall mission cause and anything that will enhance or protect it."

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