My friend, Kevin Wagner asks some powerful questions in his newsletter this month...read what he has to say...
Dear Friends of the Harvest:
Hallelujah! I hope that you have been having a blessed summer so far. In this month’s Joy Report, I would once again like to share with you some powerful reflections on missions and evangelism inspired by the late Rev. Oswald Smith, longtime Pastor of The People’s Church in Toronto.
Some people say that unbelievers are better off as they are; that their religions are good enough for them. They say that the unbelievers are happy in their unbelief, and that it is a mistake to share the Gospel with them. But the Bible says in Psalm 74:20 that
"The dark places of the world are full of the habitations of cruelty”
And so it is. Non-Christian religions are characterized by cruelty. Fear grips their people's hearts. They are in constant dread of evil spirits, spirits that must somehow be appeased.
Here is a story from Africa: It was at midnight. Suddenly there was a death wail in the village; a little baby had died. Immediately the witch doctor was called. The villagers were aroused. Before very long he had pointed out a woman whom he accused of having caused the death of the little one. She immediately protested, insisting that she was innocent, but she had to be tried. They hurried away to the tree that stood in the center of the village. She was told to climb it and then hurl herself from the topmost bough. She began to climb. Presently she sat on one of the branches and again protested her innocence. Everyone knew she was telling the truth. She was one of the finest women in the village, highly respected by all, but the witch doctor had pointed her out as the one guilty, hence she had to prove her innocence.
Then she commenced climbing again, until she had reached the highest limb of the tree. There she sat, again maintaining her innocence. Then, before the horrified gaze of the onlookers, she threw herself down to the hard ground, and was instantly killed, most of the bones of her body being broken. She was thereby judged guilty. Had she been innocent she would have been unharmed.
That has happened in the case of multitudes through the millenia. Why? Because of demonic religion. Non-Christian religions often demand it, hence there is no escape. Would you be willing to take her place? Until you are prepared to accept her religion and give up your Christianity let no one ever hear you say "Their religions are good enough for them."
In Australia, in the heart of that continent there is an immense desert where it gets very hot, and there Australia's aboriginal people live, often sleeping on the sand. A mother gives birth to a baby. someone in the village dies. A victim must be found.
Before long the witch doctor makes his way towards the newborn babe. The mother clutches it frantically to her breast, but without a moment's hesitation the witch doctor tears it from her arms and, amidst her shrieks and cries, lays it on its back on the sand, forces open its little mouth, takes handfuls of sand and pours it into the open mouth and down the throat, until its mouth is filled with sand and the precious child strangles to death. Why? Because their religions demand it. There must be a human sacrifice. Evil spirits have to be appeased.
Would you be willing to change places with that mother? If her religion is good enough for her, then it is good enough for you. But unless you are willing to take her place and have your little newborn baby torn from your arms and put to death as hers was, you have no right to say that their religions are good enough for them. It is because of religion that these horrible practices are carried on.
Do you not think that the mother suffers, just as you would suffer? Of course she does. She feels for her baby as you would feel for your baby, but the witch doctor knows no mercy; the spirits must be satisfied. Is her religion good enough for her? Then it is good enough for you.
In the South Sea Islands, a group of islanders were gathered around the body of a man lying still on the ground. There was a young woman under a nearby tree. She was the widow of the man who had died.
Suddenly the natives approached her. She was unresisting. Full well she knew what would happen. They placed a cord around her neck, and then commenced to strangle her to death. And there before the eyes of all present that beautiful young woman was strangled to death and her body was placed beside that of her husband. Why? Because their religion demanded that when a husband died his widow must be strangled to death to accompany him on his journey. And if the eldest son is old enough, he is the one who must strangle his mother. Moreover, all the children, if they are too young to support themselves, must likewise be put to death. That is religion; religion without Jesus.
Would you be willing to change places with that widow? Could you look forward to such an experience in the event of your husband's death? If their religions are good enough for them, then they are good enough for you; and if they are not good enough for you, then do not say that they are good enough for them.
In India, the body of a husband was placed on a pile of wood, and then the widow, still alive and well, was placed beside him, and the two bodies, one dead and the other alive, were bound together and then set on fire. There among the shrieks and screams of the dying widow as she slowly burned to death, the natives gathered around, believing as a result of their idolatry that the evil spirits were being pacified, and that now the husband would have his wife in the other life.
Would you be willing to change places with that widow? Multitudes of widows through the millenia have died in the flames when their husbands died, just because of idolatrous religions like this. Are their religions good enough for them? Then they must also be good enough for you. If you would not be willing to change places with that widow, giving up your Christianity and taking on her idolatry, then do not say that their religions are good enough for them and that they are better off as they are. Could a widow be happy enduring such torture? Of course not. "The dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty."
A follower of Islam stood before the people in the center of his town and hacked his skull with a great, long knife until the blood flowed freely, and then took newspapers and stuck them into those open gashes, after which he deliberately struck a match and willingly set himself on fire. There he stood, the fire sizzling the blood, burning the paper and the hair; the man enduring the most excruciating agony.
Why, you ask? Because of his religion. He must afflict his body; he must suffer; he must endure torture in order to gain a place in Heaven, and so he tormented himself. Would you be willing to exchange places with him? Would his religion be good enough for you? Could you endure such torment? Would you be willing to suffer as he suffered? Unless his religion is good enough for you, do not say that it is good enough for him.
Unbelievers are NOT better off as they are. They are NOT happy, they are miserable. They are most unhappy; they are wretched, they suffer, they are in fear of evil spirits constantly, they are always attempting to appease them. There is no rest in unbelief, no peace, no joy. Only Jesus Christ can impart joy. Therefore let us do everything we possibly can to give them the Gospel before it is forever too late, that they may experience the joy that you and I know in Jesus. Let none of us ever again say, "They are better off as they are. Their religions are good enough for them."
And that, my friends, is why we do what we do. We do it for Jesus. And we do it for them; for the multitudes of men and women in our world today like the ones we told you about above, whom Satan has deceived, but who are desperate for Jesus, whether they know it yet or not. Thanks for sending us to them. Because of you, the Lord will keep delivering them from their spiritual darkness!
For the Lost,
Evangelist Kevin Wagner
Check out his website at: www.wagnerministries.org