Is Europe a mission field? A number of evangelical Christians firmly believe that it is. They point out that the continent which launched the great world missionary movement of the nineteenth century now needs to hear the gospel message from missionaries from other lands. This conviction, though not shared by all, is strong and growing. Consequently a spirit of missionary activity has come to Europe since the Second World War.
Many discerning evangelicals in Europe welcome this new emphasis. Dr. René Pache of Switzerland, a leading Bible expositor and educator in French-speaking Europe, says “Europe needs missionaries and we Europeans will do what we can to help them. I cannot list all the American missions and groups that are successfully working in Europe, but we appreciate them. Missionaries should know the Word of God thoroughly, be able to teach it, and be willing to lose sight of the fact that they are from North America. European Christians will generally accept foreign missionaries on this basis.”
Another European leader who sees his continent in missionary terms is Bishop Hans Lilje of the Evangelical Church of Germany, a former president of the World Lutheran Federation. “The era when Europe was a Christian continent lies behind us,” Lilje says. “Europe cannot remain what it was if the drift away from Christianity continues.” Lilje prophesies that in the future “church membership will become more a matter of personal choice than social custom. It is no longer a question of which church one wishes to belong to, but whether he wants church at all.”
These are strong words coming from a church leader in the land of Luther and of the Bible. He knows that today less than five per cent of the Protestants of Germany attend ...1
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