07
Apr
17

God, the Church, Refugees and the Gospel


I’ve recently quoted the following a number of times

From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him

Acts 17 26-27

Over a year ago I referred to the above quote when I wrote the following on a Christian forum, in reply to comments about the potential danger of the “flood” of Muslim refugees to the west.

To me it shows that God, not man, is in control of national boundaries. And he will change those boundaries to suit the purposes of His Kingdom and to create conditions conducive to people seeking and potentially finding Him.

That could work in multiple ways including:

1) Moving believers to unbelieving areas to take the gospel where it hasn’t been heard before.

2) Moving unbelievers into an area where they have more chance of hearing the gospel.

3) Moving hostile unbelievers into a lukewarm area where the gospel used to mean something, but doesn’t any more, where what is left of Christian faith will be tested and refined by the influx of those hostile unbelievers.

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3 Responses to “God, the Church, Refugees and the Gospel”


  1. 1 Jeanne T.
    April 8, 2017 at 7:03 am

    Excellent, Tim.

  2. 2 Marleen
    April 22, 2017 at 11:22 am

    We need to be careful about thinking God does everything.

    So, for instance, “woe” to he/they by whom atrocity comes to signify us.

    I agree with you about people going INTO troubled or lukewarm zones or going OUT.

    As I type that in, I’m reminded of philosophers positing that there’s no right to travel; no right to move about, even within one’s own country [if this were true, then there is no meaning to house arrest]. This comes up among people who focus heavily on private ownership, paying for every step (and thus great esteem for toll roads and so on). And it has always smacked of just being very wrong, something immoral that you can’t “prove” to be problematic and wrong among the stubborn. That’s slightly different from hyper-vigilance over immigration — but I think both grow out of issues of prosperity now, closed fists and wealth gospels.

    I appreciate that you were seeing this connection long ago, before having to hear from “a ministry” or having to see a ministry’s video productions. Nothing wrong with efforts to communicate, but there is something counterproductive about rejecting the communications of people who aren’t those same people [while also inexplicably defending a “ministry” that is actively countering the message].

    I noticed, by the way, that the two sets of reports and commentary we’ve been looking at lately have both been saying it matters for there to be witnesses to what is going on; and that the relaying to others what is going on matters. To quote one of the spokesmen, “Pay attention, Christians.” That doesn’t mean only listen to that man talk (or donate to him or go with him). It means to pay attention to what happens in the world. Reporters are witnesses and ralayers, as any person who sees (hears, etc.) is a witness. And people who are directly affected can inform us what they have been through.

  3. April 26, 2017 at 8:32 am

    Thanks Jeanne,
    The moving around of people to advance the gospel is something I’ve considered long before the current refugee situation.
    Many years ago when “boat people” originating in the middle east started arriving in Australia, and before the it became politically expedient to demonise them, a minister I once knew complained about the flood of “Moslem evangelists” being allowed into the country.
    I couldn’t see the validity of his fears – did he think the alleged Moslem agenda was more powerful than the gospel of Jesus Christ? Was Allah more powerful than Abba?


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