Because the heart of Christian missions, whether at home or abroad, has to do with the message it is inevitable that Satan will do everything possible to divert, distort, dilute or deny that message, and in its place substitute anything which omits the Cross and the Resurrection.

Christian missions have ever been in a state of crisis because of opposition, ignorance and indifference. There is always the wall of opposing forces, different and yet the same, forces which are totally opposed to the claims of Christ. The Apostle Paul confronted these forces on every hand. Many times there must have been those who looked on him and his efforts as having failed. Judging by worldly standards it must have seemed that his efforts were weak and pitiful in the face of established religions, cultures and national alignments.

The things of God, eternal in their implications, are not seen except with insight given by him. When the church ignores the power and work of the Holy Spirit it has always been possible for the world to belittle the missionary efforts of individuals and churches.

We may also err in looking for outward permanence as a token of evangelizing success. Dare we say that because today there probably are no more than 200 professing Christians in one area of Paul’s endeavors—the part of present-day Turkey where the “Seven Churches” of Revelation were located—that his work was a failure?

Or dare we say that Christianity has failed because the simplicity of the early Church has been followed by accretions of ecclesiastical pretensions, shifting of emphasis from the message to organization, and failures in every generation faithfully to follow the Great Commission?

Today world missions are in crisis ...

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