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Play The Man
06-29-2009, 10:21 PM
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article5400568.ece

But travelling in Malawi refreshed another belief, too: one I've been trying to banish all my life, but an observation I've been unable to avoid since my African childhood. It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God.

Now a confirmed atheist, I've become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people's hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.

I used to avoid this truth by applauding - as you can - the practical work of mission churches in Africa. It's a pity, I would say, that salvation is part of the package, but Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write; and only the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better without it. I would allow that if faith was needed to motivate missionaries to help, then, fine: but what counted was the help, not the faith.

But this doesn't fit the facts. Faith does more than support the missionary; it is also transferred to his flock. This is the effect that matters so immensely, and which I cannot help observing.

First, then, the observation. We had friends who were missionaries, and as a child I stayed often with them; I also stayed, alone with my little brother, in a traditional rural African village. In the city we had working for us Africans who had converted and were strong believers. The Christians were always different. Far from having cowed or confined its converts, their faith appeared to have liberated and relaxed them. There was a liveliness, a curiosity, an engagement with the world - a directness in their dealings with others - that seemed to be missing in traditional African life. They stood tall.

The remainder of the article is at the link. A very remarkable article.

surveyorshawn
06-29-2009, 10:52 PM
I have found that many people support Christianity when they see the true change in people and the true love of God showing through in them! It has been almost demonized in western culture because of society's perception of us, based a fair amount on what we as Christians have done ourselves. Over time, we have given ourselves a bad rap, and it is up to us to change that. I should say to myself that it starts with me....

Tyburn
06-29-2009, 11:22 PM
...The People that walked in Darkness, have seen a Great Light. They that dwell in the Land of The Shadow Of Death, Upon them, the Light has Shone...

cubsfan47
06-30-2009, 11:46 AM
...The People that walked in Darkness, have seen a Great Light. They that dwell in the Land of The Shadow Of Death, Upon them, the Light has Shone...


Amen. :)

BigShoe
07-03-2009, 06:25 PM
Being a missionary in Africa, I have seen firsthand the change and lasting effects that the Gospel has on others. Like the man said, Christians have done much good in changing socities. The Gosple message changes character. Teaches people how to be good citizens, that love each other and work together. True Christianity has always helped in numerous ways.

We help lots with physical issues(education, health, etc.) But my goal is always spritual. What good would it do to help somebody live another 20 years in health, wealth and prosperity but then die without Christ.

"He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." I Jean 5:12