Globalization: An Opportunity for the Gospel
Dr. Valson Abraham
In 2010, I was a delegate at the Lausanne Conference in Capetown, South Africa. That gathering of mission-minded Christians from around the world reflects the growing realization that the Great Commission requires global cooperation with other believers.
The Lausanne Conference is just one example of the growing influence of “globalization.” A conference speaker, Dr. Os Guinness, defined globalization as “a process by which human interconnectedness has reached global proportions.”
Globalization promises to revolutionize the human condition in a permanent and fundamental way as the invention of the wheel, printing press or automobile. Globalization is here to stay, and as Christians, we better come to terms with it.
This process of globalization is driven by revolutionary developments of information technology. Through IT, we can create, multiply, expand, intensify and accelerate more human activities with more people than ever before.
This growing phenomenon has implications for all of us, and especially for the spread of the gospel to the remaining peoples of the world who do not yet have the Good News.
As Dr. Guinness told us at the Lausanne Conference, “Globalization is the greatest challenge and opportunity for the church since the apostles.”
The big question: Are we really ready for the challenges that globalization brings?
From my own observation, I think I am safe in saying that we are not ready, on a lot of levels. For example, one of the qualities of globalization is its exposure to new ideas. Often, this diversity in ideas encourages relativistic thinking. However, the gospel declares that Jesus Christ is the only way-not a fashionable idea in today’s relativistic world. And many churches today, both in India and America, seem more interested in fashion than in truth.
Too often, evangelical Christians lack solid and systematic thinkers, writers and artists able to communicate gospel truths in effective ways. Too often, our pulpits are full of preachers who don’t even believe what they are preaching. Too often, the tendency is to present a gospel that makes people “feel good” rather than confront others with the truth. In many ways, the church seems to go on as before, snoozing and unaware of the great changes globalization is bringing.
But I am also safe in saying that globalization has not caught God by surprise. He knew it was coming 2,000 years ago, when He first gave His Great Commission to His disciples. He figured out globalization long before anyone thought about it.
From the beginning, Jesus knew that He was giving His disciples a task way too big for any of them to handle. They were simple men in a world too complex and big for them. They weren’t ready. They were unqualified for the job He assigned to them.
And yet look what God has done through those twelve simple, sinful and unqualified men and those who came after them! How did these unqualified men do so well? Perhaps most importantly, they realized how unqualified they really were.
Scripture tells us that before they set out on their mission, they waited upon God in the Upper Room until the Holy Spirit came upon them. Only with the coming of the Holy Spirit did they begin the process of taking the gospel “to Jerusalem, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the world.”
That simple strategy of the disciples must become our own. We must recognize our inadequacy for the challenges that globalization present to us. We must recognize our slowness of heart, lack of faith, our tendency to let the standards of the world influence us. We must come to terms with the sins that so easily beset us. Indeed, the church is in dire need of a spiritual renewal such as we have never seen before.
Only with a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit will we make the challenges and opportunities of globalization count for Christ so that the gospel is preached to all peoples and touches people in every facet of their lives.
Are you waiting on God for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, for yourself and for your church and nation?
As you wait upon God, be sure that you reflect expectantly and daily upon His word. As God gives you new insight, He will also give you new opportunities and new power to serve Him both locally and globally. May God grant you eyes and ears to recognize the divine appointments He sends your way, and to seize them when they come, as they surely will.
Father God, make me better aware of the challenges and opportunities you give me every day to take your gospel to the world around me. Let globalization become your means to complete the Great Commission. I realize that I am unqualified to do the work you call me to do, but I ask you to fill me, my family, church and nation with the power of your Holy Spirit as you filled your disciples, that we may obey you in deed and in power. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.