While Tim and Jonathan were in Ecuador, we had a little email discussion about the Jivaro Indian tribe that had been reached in the late 1940’s by Frank and Marie Drown. From their conversation over this tribe, they learned of the Taromenane and Tagaeri people groups which are similar to and speak the same language as the Waorani (or Huaorani). People in Ecuador know about them, but no one is “Going” with the gospel; no one is making the effort to reach them. In other words, the reason they have not been reached with the gospel is not because no one knows about them. Why then has no one made the effort to reach them? There is a faulty understanding who should “Go.”
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (ethnos – people groups) is not just a command to the Western Church, it is a command to ALL the Church. Where then does the problem lie? For centuries the Western Church has taken on themselves the responsibility to be the ones who “GO” everywhere and do all the mission work, which in turn has taught the rest of the Church to depend on them. There is a great failure in this! Yes, the Western Church should “GO,” but while it is going, it must teach the indigenous church to also “GO.”
The extent of this problem is enormous. You have read many quotes from Roland Allen in this blog, who always insisted on the biblical method; that is, every indigenous church become self-supporting, self-governing, and self-propagating. This means that in their understanding of what the Church should be, they are NOT dependent on anyone but their Head, Jesus Christ. They are reaching out with the gospel they received and giving it to those unreached. This principle was lived out by the Thessalonian church.
We are now having to undo centuries of faulty teaching. Is it possible to achieve this reversal? YES! All it takes is for the Church today to REPENT of following a faulty example and RETURN to the revealed method in Scripture. Jesus’ promise will not fail (Matthew 24:14)! The question is; will you and I be part of HIS MOVEMENT TO FINISH THE TASK?
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