15 Jun The Church of Our Lord is the Best Catalyst for Societal & Cultural Change…
… That Leads to a More Peaceful and Prosperous Society
by Phil Waldron
The title of our front page article this month clearly states a value that we here at Mission UpReach have come to believe with all of our hearts. Everything we do, in terms of programs or initiatives, reflects this world-view. Our own life experience confirms this to be true, but we are also reading and learning from others who have discovered the same thing.
For instance, Solomon Akanbi and Jaco Beyers, said this as they reflected on their experience in Nigeria, “… in a community where there is a considerable influence of Christianity, there should be less of social vices because Christian teachings and doctrines are aimed at transforming individual lives, re-branding the society, such that there will be political stability, economic prosperity, social and moral sanity, a reduced rate of corruption and mutual cooperation among individuals and groups, including religions. …… In addition, it is also assumed that if Christian principles and teachings are faithfully adopted and properly inculcated into the people, the societal value system will be fine-tuned such that the people’s attitude to life will be positive and well informed towards an effective social transformation of a socially bankrupt society like Nigeria.”
Akanbi and Beyers wrote these words as the preface to a dissertation for a PhD program. Their conclusion after thorough research was, “Despite the shortcomings of some of the ……. churches, especially in their emphasis on health and wealth gospel, their contribution to nation building cannot be overlooked as their contribution is significantly remarkable, bridging the gap where the government of the day is lacking behind, especially in the area of qualitative education. In this way religion………, does influence society.”
Here at Mission UpReach we believe that combining Kingdom concepts, revealed in the Bible, forms a practical theology that serves to guide us in our stewardship of the many resources that God places in our hands. In addition, we have seen that it really does transform lives and societies. Some of these concepts that form our core values are; that “faith without works is dead and the wise are those who don’t just hear but they put what they hear into practice.” And Jesus said that knowing Him would lead to “abundant life.” While Paul tells us (Eph. 3:10 as paraphrased in The Message) “Through followers of Jesus like yourselves gathered in churches, this extraordinary plan of God is becoming known and talked about even among the angels!”
We could share more facets of how different Biblical truths have come alive in practical application in our work here in Western Honduras but time and space will not allow much more than what we have already written. Let us conclude then with the most important value of all. This value really has to permeate, to the core, each and every initiative that we have. This value is based on Jesus saying, “what does it profit a man..?” Our application is: “what does it profit anyone if they obtain an education or improve their economic situation if they lose their soul because they never come to know Jesus of Nazareth as Savior and Lord?”