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A Small Version of the Grand Narrative

A response to Ajith Fernando's 'To Serve Is to Suffer'

To facilitate a truly global conversation, we ask Christian leaders from around the world to respond to the Global Conversation's lead articles. These points of view do not necessarily represent Christianity Today magazine or the Lausanne Movement. They are designed to stimulate discussion from all points of the compass and from different segments of the Christian community. Please add your perspective by posting a comment so that we can learn and grow together in the unity of the Spirit.

The Conversation Continues: Readers' Comments

Displaying 1–5 of 51 comments

Andrew Smith

May 02, 2011  4:03am

Paul talks about suffering as being a gift Philippians 1:29 that accompanies our belief in Christ. To suffer is about apart of our ministry and calling.

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Andrew

March 03, 2011  3:12pm

"Churches committed to programs can grow numerically, but they don't nurture biblical Christians who understand the implications of belonging to the body of Christ." This is altogether too true of the church today. The church is too concerned with power and growth financially and numerically. Of course one wants the church to grow numerically, if those numbers truly reflect the amount of souls and hearts that are trandformed to Jesus. Growth for the skae of growth is a lie to ourselves and the people around us. If we labor for months and one live is saved for Jesus should we not rejoice for that one the same no matter what the circumstances? As to the idea of suffering, I think we must see suffering as two fold. We must see the suffering of the unredeemed world different from the suffering of a witness to Christ. As Sarah's comment just below expresses, God does not necessarily want for people to suffer. That is why we are called to do Jesus' minisrty of healing and freeing people from bondage and oppression. But in doing so, the ones who witness to Christ will suffer and be persecuted. As one's suffering is alleviated another may have to endure. Sound familiar? Jesus endured the pain of our transgressions to save us. As disciples of Christ, we may need to endure pain, persecution, and suffering in order to free others from their's.

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Andrew

March 03, 2011  3:08pm

Thank you so much for this Mr. Fernando. While I'm sure that the suffering and frustration that I've witnessed and experienced as a Christian in the United States in minuscule compared to what you deal with, it's a huge encouragement to hear your opinion on it. It seems like I often get the message that if a person or ministry is suffering, or having technical or financial troubles, then it is because they are doing something wrong and should change the error in their ways in order to be "blessed." I've always felt that this was not true, but it is tiring to hear again and again. So thank you again for this article.

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Jessalyn Huffman

March 01, 2011  3:59pm

I agree completely with what this article has to say about suffering. Christians are not to avoid or fear suffering. How un-Christlike! If we are truly following Christ we will embrace suffering the way he did, with joy and gladness. For the sake of the lost and the glory of the Father, Jesus became the suffering servant, taking on all sin and pain. As his imitators, we can expect to partake in his suffering, becoming like him in his death, and through that exercise to know the power of his resurrection.

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Kathleen Devine Linnen

October 26, 2010  10:00pm

I am trying to obtain admission to Hosanna Bible Training Center. Through prayer and fasting my childhood "want" is still in my heart, and after reading this article the want is there even more. My dilemma: I am 54yrs old and disabled but I do believe in healing which the Lord has been working miracles in me, physically and especially spiritually. Am I too old to do missionary work? I know I can evanglize anywhere but I have felt Akron Oh. is not enough, I want more. I know the Lord's will be done in the final desicion but would like feedback on my question.

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The Conversation Video
The Conversation Begins
Selected writers respond to Ajith Fernando from around the globe.

"Thus God wears the mask of the Devil, and the Devil wears the mask of God; God wants to be recognized under the mask of the Devil, and he wants the Devil to be condemned under the mask of God."

Some of ...

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Editor's note: Shortly after Libby Little wrote this response to Ajith Fernando's article on suffering, she received news that her husband had been brutally murdered while returning from a medical mission ...

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In his insightful article, Fernando laments a contemporary idea of vocational fulfilment in ministry that has removed the cross from its core while adopting efficiency as its measuring standard. He points ...

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As a Westerner I wholeheartedly agree with Fernando's conclusions. For centuries large parts of the Middle East were lost to church and mission because of Islam. The same can become true for Europe (let ...

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