As many of you have heard, my wife Jana and I will have the great privilege to minister in the name of Christ in Trivandrum, India in less than 2 months. We’ll be serving in an equipping capacity at Logos Bible College, where I will teach pastors Biblical Interpretation and do some preaching, and Jana will work with students on improving their English. The trip is expensive, and though I’m grateful that I haven’t heard any of you ask this question, something like the following always comes up when trips like this are taken: “Why spend all that money to go all that way when there are lost people right here in Lincoln County?” It’s a fair question, though I’ve found that in the past those who ask this question aren’t particularly concerned with the lost anywhere! But all the same, here’s my answer to that question:
“Why should anyone hear the Gospel twice, before everyone has heard it once?”
The motivation to go to India is NOT because there are lost Indians who need Christ, and so we are choosing to proclaim the gospel among Indians instead of Americans for a season (though this is true). The difference is not a lack of lostness here or the value of a soul, but access to the gospel. Here’s what I mean by access. If you are a lost individual living in our county, consider the opportunities available to hear the gospel proclaimed or to otherwise run across it:
- An abundant numbers of churches. In addition to ours, there are 13 Christian churches from varying denominations just within a 3-mile radius of our church.
- Plentiful Bibles in the English language, some in very easy-to-read translations. In addition to free access at any number of the churches mentioned, Bibles can be purchased at Goodwill for less than a dollar.
- No less than 3 FM radio stations with Christian programming and gospel preaching.
- Numerous satellite/cable TV channels with more or less Christian teaching, and at least one over-the-air TV channel for free access.
- Most significantly, there is your gospel witness. You rub shoulders with the lost everyday and should be equipped to share the good news of Christ. The lost should regularly encounter Christians like you willing and able to share the gospel with them.
But consider the situation in India. Of 7,100 unreached people groups around the world (unreached = less than 2% Christian), a whopping 2,325 of them are in India alone. The population of India is almost four times that of the United States, and of this 1.2 billion people less than 1.8% are evangelical Christians. 93% of Indians are Hindu, Muslim, or Buddhist, and 86% of these have never even met a genuine follower of Jesus Christ.
We go to India because the darkness is darker there and the number of gospel lights are few. We go to equip pastors to be beautiful feet bringing the gospel to those who have never heard (Rom 10:15). We go, by God’s grace, to bring access to the gospel to those who have little or none.
Thanks for praying and giving in support of our trip, that like the Apostle Paul we may preach the gospel in a nation where Christ has not yet been named (Rom 15:20), so that his great glory would be known, loved, and proclaimed among the nations! (Psalm 96:3)