Resource, Article

Should we send "ordinary Christians" as missionaries? A major biblical theme is that God likes to use weak people, sinful people. But on the other hand, shouldn't missionaries be trained and well-prepared?

September 19, 2016 2 3 comments
Resource, Lesson or Study

Momentum is designed for young adults who are looking for intentional discipleship as well as an opportunity to serve for a month internationally with Christian Reformed World Missions.

August 17, 2016 0 0 comments
Resource, Sermon or Message

On November 29, 1868, Charles Spurgeon preached a sermon on the subject of effectual calling by using the call of Abraham in Genesis 12 as his example.

The sermon is a gold-mine of advice for missionaries and evangelists who would call people to follow Christ. Here are a few nuggets:...

July 7, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

Whenever someone tells me I’ve really sacrificed, I almost feel guilty or like a fraud. Because even though I've left family and friends, God has provided me with so much and all my needs are met. 

June 30, 2016 1 1 comments
Blog

  Introduction:

            There is a statement floating around in mission circles that has been attributed to St. Francis. Likely he never said it, but lots of people like to repeat it. It goes: "Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary." This statement has then been used...

June 28, 2016 1 3 comments
Blog

By now we’re starting to adapt to the rhythm of life in Nicaragua and I think I speak for several of us when I say that the days seem to be slipping through our fingers and we want to stay longer.  

June 24, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

Carlos and Sharla Martinez (Directors of FIT) explained to us the adoption process, what the families involved go through, and what their role is in supporting families as they welcome new children into their lives.

June 23, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

Today’s agenda was dominated by three events: a presentation by Alcides (Paola’s dad), a stunning trip to Volcan Masaya, and a trip to the University of Nicaragua.

June 23, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

Mondays are a bore. But this was not the case at all today! I'm still reflecting on our visit to Tesoros de Dios (a school for children with Disabilities), House of Hope, and a fair wage coffee company. 

June 22, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

Before we came to Nicaragua, we prayed that God would reveal Himself and the work He was doing there. I think I can speak for the group when I say that God exceeded our expectations. 

June 21, 2016 1 0 comments
Blog

I don’t think that any of us knew that the moment we stepped outside the airport in Nicaragua, we would fall in love. And I’m not talking about falling in love with another person, or even the country of Nicaragua. 

June 20, 2016 1 0 comments
Blog

Growing up as a missionary kid, I observed and helped host many short-term mission teams. From this experience I learned a few things about being well prepared, which I want to share with you!

June 16, 2016 3 4 comments
Blog

For most of the morning, half of the youth group had been planting cannabis, aka marijuana. The leaders from both churches were mortified and the experience taught everyone an important lesson. 

June 13, 2016 1 0 comments
Blog

As more and more Christians rub shoulders with their Muslim neighbors, one cannot but help but ask about what might motivate Christians to bear witness to them to the fact that Jesus is Lord. Is it guilt, fear, the threat of hell, or something else? Let us examine a few options and conclude that...

June 9, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

Short-term mission trips are difficult. They can also be rich and rewarding, with the potential for long-term impact. To equip your team, check out the new, free, downloadable resource called Changed for Life. 

June 7, 2016 2 5 comments
Blog

As the CRCNA faces the changing winds of doctrine, one might wonder if a bit of contextualization theory might help it to ascertain the big picture behind some of the issues of the day?

May 26, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

The Global Food Security Act will benefit women and children during the critical first 1,000 days. Proper nutrition during this period will have enduring positive effects. Learn how to get involved! 

April 11, 2016 1 0 comments
Blog

In this piece we will examine two ways that a Muslim, who otherwise completely lacks the assurance of Jesus' words "Today you will be with me in paradise" seeks to gain this assurance.

March 23, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

Sometimes when we teach, it’s easy to forget that students also have knowledge to offer to us.

March 10, 2016 1 0 comments
Blog

Around the world, March 8 is celebrated as International Women's Day. I have spent the week looking at women in the Gospels, to have a stronger understanding about the Biblical view of women

March 8, 2016 1 0 comments
Resource, Video

Christian Reformed Home Missions brings you John's full story of his mission with the Third Ward in the new video, "On Earth as it is in Heaven."

February 24, 2016 2 0 comments
Discussion Topic

Over the last 4 months, a team from Home Missions and World Missions worked closely with Calvin Social Resource (CSR) developing a presentation and a survey process to engage stakeholders.

February 17, 2016 0 9 comments
Blog

"God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life." Just what is and is not being said is critical as it appears that we are mixing the concepts of the benevolence of God and his covenant love.

February 3, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

They go by many names: Global Outreach teams, missions councils, missions teams... But the result seems to be the same when a church appoints missions-minded people to promote and direct the church’s role in missions—a more proactive approach to missions. 

February 2, 2016 0 0 comments
Resource, Checklist

Now is a great time to make sure your missions communications are up to date! Here's a handy checklist for a communications audit.

January 20, 2016 1 0 comments

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Thanks Anthony for this article on whether putting culture or putting Christianity should come first in one’s life.  Quite frankly, I think you are rather naive in thinking that Christianity should win the battle for dominance over culture.  On what grounds do you think your students should abandon their cultural values for those of Christianity?  What makes Christianity any more valid than the Islamic religion or the traditional religions of Kenya?  Are the core teachings of Christianity any more valid or verifiable than those of other religions?  Don’t the teachings of the Bible, especially the New Testament, have to be accepted by faith, apart from any verifiable evidence?  Is there any evidence to verify that God is a three person being or that Jesus is one of those three persons who has come down from heaven to be crucified and then rise in some kind of victory over the world which we can’t see or verify?  So why would or should your students so completely abandon their traditional beliefs for those of Christianity?  It can't be that our beliefs are more rational or verifiable.

You may suggest that the teachings of Christianity are true, maybe even verifiable, because the Bible, God’s inspired word, teaches those truths.  But the Koran, and I’m quite certain that Kenyan traditional religions, will affirm that their teachings are also completely reliable because they are also inspired of God and therefore completely true.  As to truthfulness, other religions make the same claim as Christianity. So, again, why should your students jump on your wagon and abandon what they have been taught all their lives? Certainly, the fact that you believe, shouldn’t convince them anymore than what they believe would convince you to change what you believe.  Again, it seems naive on your part to think that your perspective is any better than theirs. What is your rationale for saying that my religion is better and therefore it makes sense to jump all ships but mine?

I found this post challenging and encouraging! Thanks for sharing. 

Two or three observations:

First, Maslow's Hierarchy. For most humans, basic food and shelter comes before religion. If one's kids are hungry . . . .

Second, the first center  of Christianity was North Africa, then Europe, then North America. Seems like God has given up on North America. Next will be South America and then South Africa? History seems circular and cyclical.

Third, I spent my first 40 years in Dispensational Christianity and was then "Reformed." I confess I don't understand how Reformed theology supports Reformed evangelism. (I think) Reformed theology and evangelism should be based on regeneration temporally preceding conversion, conversion temporally preceding sanctification.  NOT convincing people to "believe in . . . ."

Thus the purpose of Reformed evangelism should be to identifying those whom the Holy Spirit is "working on," regenerating, and then inviting them to join the fellowship of those whom the Holy Spirit is also "working on." I was happy to support the (old) CRWRC because their philosophy seemed to be to  first earn the right to be heard through doing good works without any hope of gain for ourselves. Not even of earning higher status in the next life but simple because it is what Christians do. The (old) name "said it all." 

A coalition of CRC agencies have done some work on the challenges that you are describing. #1. They recommend partnering with a trusted agency--the agency will have a had a long term relationship with the community and help to ensure that (a) the participants are properly trained, (b) that the group's work plans, learning, and relationship building opportunities line up with a vision that the community has created for itself, (c) that the short term group plans ahead for how they will take their learning and experience back home and use it towards continued long term investment.

#2. They also created this video curriculum that groups can use to dig deeper into healthy practices for short term missions: http://www.bechangedforlife.org/

 

 

Thanks for this article, Anthony.  I think it also applies to who goes on short-term mission trips.  How much preparation is given to those who go on these trips?  Almost none.  My one and only service trip overseas was to the Dominican Republic, where I helped with school construction for about one week.  I knew very little about the country and culture of the people we were visiting in order to properly engage even the women who served us two hot meals per day.  I do not regret having gone on this trip, but if I were to go again, I would at least want to have cultural and language knowledge so that I would be a greater help.  Really, the air fare for a one-week trip would be better spent to equip nationals and well qualified others to do transformational work.

What is an 'ordinary Christian'?  In my opinion that pretty much covers all of us. The pastors I know fit into that category as well.  Our daughter and her family have been in Africa for five years working with a group Take Action which is a Word and deed ministry.  Check that blog out as well as thefeyfamily.blogspot.com. Then go to Money saving Mom who is Crystal Paine and read what she just did and is doing. My husband, a very ordinary Christian, goes to Africa and Ethiopia twice a year and does TLT with pastors and other OC's. Besides that we have been in Cambodia five times, China and Korea. None of the above people are scraping buildings and putting on a new layer of paint.  There is way too much to do in God's Kingdom.  The world is so big so every ordinary Christian, of which I am chief, is needed both here and abroad.  Imagine if we did 'pray and give and go!' We are all capable of one of those.  Lastly every Christian, ordinary and extra ordinary, read another life giving book by Chris Marlowe 'Doing Good is Simple'.  Let us all get out to change our world one person at a time.  My e mail is pjvs50@gmail.com love to talk with you. Willie Van Schepen

Hello Alireza Amiri,

 

Thank you for your question and your interest in our discussion. I can say that there is no biblical evidence that Jesus pointed people to the appearance of Islam. I think that sometimes Muslims misunderstand Jesus' words that he would send a comforter - the Holy Spirit to come after him. So you may actually be referring to the Holy Spirit, who is indeed our comforter and helps us to follow our faith.

I hope that clears up any misunderstandings. Sorry to dissapoint you but Jesus is the only way.

Blessings,

Greg

 

 

Hey greg!

I appreciate that you make these things clear for people im a muslim myself and they thought us to love everyone and Christian people especially because they have a good religion

and we both believe in the only god, now i heard that Jesus told Christian people that a greater and better religion is going to appear(islam) and that they have to be muslim is that true?

Thanks for this. It reflects a lot of the same things we have thought and felt during our tenure in Japan 35 years and still ongoing). But yesterday we said goodbye to two very precious grandsons, and we're sad about that. And in a couple of weeks we will be saying goodbye to an aging parent, whose needs remain on our mind all the time. Still, the "benefits," if that's the right way to say it, are so much greater than the "sacrifices." 35 years ago, an international phone call from Japan to the US cost $9.00 per minute! Today we can Skype for free. Travel schedules are much more flexible than in the 1980s and 1990s, so we do get back more often. Sure, we have our frustrations and "if only" moments, but the Lord is faithful and gives us encouragement in so many ways. We're just finishing up home service, having spent almost 6 months meeting scads of people who care deeply for us personally and for the work of missions. We are indeed blessed! 

posted in: Do I Sacrifice?

Excellent article.  I have the same thoughts.  We of course need to share our faith with love and grace, but we also need to get over our fears and share the truth of the good news!

Go and Tell is a three hour evangelism seminar and is an easy and practical way to equip you to become a fisher of men (Matthew 4:19) based on the Heidelberg Catechism.

Go and Tell Testimonial from Chet Swearingen (President of Beautiful Feet ministry):

"Go and Tell is an inspirational and practical seminar on how to effectively and compassionately communicate the Gospel. The facilitator, Pastor Jim Halstead, goes beyond communicating methods and facts about evangelism, he transfers his passion and life experiences as well. I highly recommend this seminar to any church or denomination.”

 

The Go and Tell evangelism seminar is a free online seminar and includes videos, audio, booklet, and additional free resources. To access Go and Tell free online go to www.fortwaynecrc.com and Click on the Go and Tell tab. 

If you have any questions about the Go and Tell evangelism seminar or if you would like to host a seminar-please contact me.

 

Delighting in God,

Pastor Jim Halstead

www.fortwaynecrc.com

Muchas gracias!

Que Dios les acompanye.

 

Good post!

Hi Rick, 

Thanks for feedback! The video download has been fixed and the other materials should be easily viewable. 

Thanks again!
Staci 

 

posted in: Missions Tourism

Thanks for letting us know, Rick. We'll get these back up and running and keep you posted! 

posted in: Missions Tourism

Awesome Resource!!  But the Video download does not work and all the other information is shown in a very narrow window that cannot be enlarged.  I look forward to reviewing all the material.  Thanks to those who authored this resource.  

God Bless!!

posted in: Missions Tourism

The links are fixed now! Thanks, Anthony.  

posted in: Missions Tourism

Thank you for the article and for sharing this great resource.  However, I think the links are broken.  But I was able to find the website online still.  Maybe the links just need to be tweaked.

posted in: Missions Tourism

Joel, teams should be mainly used to handle specific problems. “Teams” as ongoing workgroups tend to breed bureaucracy.   If your mission and strategy are clearly stated the leader(s) in the organization should be able to carry out the mandates. That is why I was happy you folks spent a lot of time on this. But also unhappy that you did not show how the work to achieve the mission would be organized.

I am assuming that CRCNA staff is probably 95% CRC. The diversity of opinions/beliefs (and this is particularly true in church organizations) could be problematic.  We have seen this at work (both positive and negative) in the structure of the CRCNA and how it governs itself.

Having spent 7 years on one of the church Boards what struck me was that the key leaders in the 6 main ministries (HM, WM, BTGMI, CC, CS and WR) were not a team.

Thanks, Fronse, for your comments.   The question of how we best can walk alongside of churches and classes is one we will need to answer together as we go forward.  This is why we want to emphasize the posture of listening.  Your point on wise use of social media is a good one and we do need to become much better at that.   I like your emphasis on reciprocal relationships with the global church.  We do intend to embed this in all our strategies and it is already happening in places like Sierra Leone where we are working jointly with the Christian Reformed Church of Nigeria.

Thanks, Harry, for your comments.  We thought it important first to work on our mission, vision, values first precisely because we are developing a flatter, more geographically dispersed structure. But you are correct that organizational framework to which you are responding just represents the initial stage of the structure we will be presenting.  I do agree entirely with you that ultimately it will depend on the people we put in place.  I would like to explore further with you why you see the word "teams" as "ominous."  Could you elaborate on that more?

Thank you for this very informative article laying out the Christians role in caring for undocumented and documented immigrants.

 

An interesting conceptual word document.

Church and Classis are mentioned, yet who, what and how will the NMA blend information and recommendations into the structures of church and Classis?

Often I respect denomination presentations, only six months or a year later the communicated 'help' is time consuming.

Targeted use of email, messaging, Facebook is very effective and saves time.

I continue to not see reference to the 19th and 20th century planted churches as co-participants WITH our North American body of Christ.

I pray this New Paradigm will represent ALL of the global Reformed Body of Christ.

Respectfully Fronse

Thanks to the authors for putting this frame work together. It is hard work. Would like to make the following observations:

The use of undefined terms like: a) catalyzing 2) contextual missions 3) incarnational missions. Having just visited a couple of Buddhist countries, the last term is very interesting.

Your vision and mission statements are presumptuous as the CRCNA still has BTGMI very involved in “International” (meaning both home and world missions).

The list of “shifts” is interesting. f) to me this is only made worse by what you are trying to do; g) I have seen a lot of evidence in my extensive world travels of this, so nothing new.

Be careful using Addington’s “Sandbox Strategy”.  It sounds childish to me.  When I first got wind of the possible amalgamation I suggested in this space that CRCNA hire McKinsey. The church needs a real good look at what it is all about. These folks, while very expensive, would give it an effective outside view. Besides, they have probably never been asked to do a church!

The framework is too wordy. With no organization charts it lacks clarity. None of the words you have used will work without people in place. The word “teams” look ominous to me.

Harry Boessenkool

We do a regular blog, so a lot of people read most of our blog posts.  But a good number of our supporters don't have the time or interest (we understand and aren't bothered by that!) to read every post.  So many of them just read the quarterly newsletters, and some supporters make a point to tell us that they don't read the blog but read the quarterly prayer letters.  Because of this we use our blog for the more detailed posts, and the prayer letter usually doesn't have anything new that is not in the blog, but it will be a sort of summary of everything we've been doing and need prayer for.

Good post.  Mission trips can be done well.  I have critiqued them a lot, and rightly so.  But on the other hand, they were formative in my own life, and they can be formative for the communities as well if done well.  I hope that the Western churches can plan half as many or less short mission trips, but then those that they do could be done with very good preparation, a good strategy, and done with real partnership of the community.

When I consider the three outcomes, I appreciate the focus of deepening, growing and connecting. Particularly, for outcome 1, I am wrestling if “invite” is more fitting than introduce. We want Jesus to encounter people and come home in hearts and cultures to awaken and make life full. There is an amiss if we stay at the level of introductions. Our desire is to have Jesus enter in and host the feast.

Hi Steve...as one of the authors of the Framework document, just wanted you to know that WM/HM staff are using the next few months leading to April board meetings to begin to give clarity about what the new agency will look like.  This will certainly get us into more of the nuts and bolts of how we will be equipped to come alongside of congregations and partners.

And yes, although the framework does seem quite conceptual and the process perhaps a bit slow - it reflects a lot of input and feedback from staff and stakeholders over the last five months.   Having buy in and clarity about vision, values, postures etc. will go a long way towards shaping a new organizational culture and living into a new way to serve congregations and leaders as we step into mission together.  

We share your passion to see all of this translate into becoming an agency that learns to come alongside our congregations and leaders to do 'kingdom building' work!  Thanks for your comments as we work towards this.

The document is not an easy read. Not to say that it's not understandable-- in fact, it's quite well written and thoughtful, and speaks to many realities of an evolving mission environment. But my frank side leaves me wondering after reading the document, "And?" Perhaps this arises from my desire to see what the practical application of the framework looks like. Or perhaps it's because it's being manifested from the proverbial ivory tower of the CRC. We love that stuff-- we really do. And it's important. But if you're looking to capture the energy and excitement of an organizational transition, perhaps reduce the scope, be more succinct, and provide a clear answer to how this framework will support the future mission agency and why that's something to get excited about.

I echo Chad's sentiments. Relate this back to our Gospel call to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ in our communities, and how we translate the NMA to 'Kingdom-Building' work.

Certainly there was a great deal of thought in putting this together - thank you!  Our landscape has certainly changed and the need for de-centralization has become apparent.  So thanks for those considerations.  One glaring omission, in my opinion, is that the name of Jesus Christ is not mentioned in the grounding vision and mission statements.  The vagueness of just using the term "God" leaves it too open ended.  Our intention is to proclaim Christ to the nations - He should be front and center.

I support missionaries because they do stuff that I don't want to do. I am not a Type 1 personality. More like a 3 or 4.

Thanks for sharing this resource.

Were the people tithing before the program began? 

What to start with? As for me a key to a good missionary newsletter is it to be written by a person who truly cares about the issue he/she is addresses to you with and if it is personalized. People do not want to see bare information but thoughts, feelings, and experience (like in this source). I would like also to add that despite paper letters recalls warm feelings I still prefer emails: in this case you won't harm nature as no trees will be cut to make paper. Here is only one tiny nuance: be careful them not to be recognized by a system like spam.

World Renew is also available to help churches prioritize their missions support.

In the US: Wendy Hammond whammond@worldrenew.net

In Canada: Rhonda Elgersma relgersma@crcna.org

The writer should make plain if she means any type of Newsletter (printed or digital) or just the printed newsletter when she types Newsletter. Obviously the answers will be different.

Hi Wendy, As someone just returning to overseas missions and who is working on a prayer letter this morning, I am very interested in responses to your article.  I am planning to send most prayer letters via email and have a Facebook group as well.  To me, the biggest question is whether churches are actually distributing the letters to congregations.

I love reading missionary newsletters, but I'm also very involved on a missions team, so that might explain my high level of interest. Photos and stories that give cultural context are the most interesting.  Stories of people's lives being changed by the gospel are essential, but harder to come by.  

I print them out to be picked up by church members, but the paper copies are rarely taken home.  Most are recycled. I take excerpts,and photos from them and put them in our church newsletter as updates. That may catch the most readers.

I haven't put the newsletters on our church website, but it may be worth a try. Only some of them would want their writing available for the rest of the world to read.  To me (older generation) that brings with it a serious lack of privacy.

We get newsletters from all our missionaries by email. You can sign up to receive them yourself. They do get photocopied and put in members mail slots. It works well saving a lot of time and money for the missionaries. Dispersing the newsletters among our members is an easy way to support the missionaries.

I like newsletters that tell about the things that the missionary is doing as well as a bit about daily life. I like learning about the countries they are serving in. Pictures are nice too. Mostly I want to hear how the missionaries and the family is doing, things to praise God for and things to continue to pray about. 

I think I need to be more invested by communicating with them more. Email is so easy and a note now and them would probably be very welcome. 

Good questions, Wendy. Like you, I also enjoy reading. Updates from missionaries were always exciting to find in the church mailbox. I appreciate images (the more the better!) and stories of daily life. I also like to hear of specific needs and ways to get involved. 

As far as format, I think it makes sense to send the newsletters digitally. That being said, there are still so many things that I enjoy reading hard copy (magazines and the newspaper) so maybe the newsletter is worth keeping around :) 

Hi Salaam, I’m a little late (several months) noticing your posted article.  I think you post some challenging questions.  But I doubt that other religious adherents feel challenged by Christianity any more than Christians feel challenged by other religions.  They all propose different pathways to God and are not meant to be stepping stones to anything except to God.  In fact, most religions are mutually exclusive, therefor not stepping stones at all.  Few religions try to accommodate any other religion.  For example Christians claim there is no way other than Christ to win God’s favor and acceptance.  As Christians, we don’t see any other religion as a stepping stone to Christ or God.

Another important question that needs answering, is who is to say that other religions are false and only Christianity is true?  That seems to be the assumption that you are working with.  We might claim that only the Bible is the inspired word of God and therefor completely true and trustworthy, and therefor lays out the only valid pathway to God.  But that is also what every other religion claims, as well.  What makes the Bible true and not the God inspired writings of other religions?  Or is that just a matter of opinion?  Is there anything that validates one religion over another, Christianity over all other religions?  

Why are the claims of other religions false and not our claims?  As Christians, we may assert that the claims of other religions are not logical, are nonsense.  But is the Christian assertion that Jesus is God and has come down to earth from heaven and taken on a human nature, lived a perfect life, was crucified but rose from the dead and has now returned to heaven from which he will return one day to earth in all power and glory, is this any more realistic or logical?  Other religions likely say that our Christian claims make little, if any sense.  So what is the basis of us saying our religion makes sense but other religions don’t, therefor we are the only true religion?

And now for the crux of G. Anderson’s concern, winning Christian converts from within other religious beliefs.  Of course that points to the exclusivity of the Christian religion.  If Christians believed that there are many paths to God, they wouldn’t be concerned to pull Muslims, Hindus or Mormons away from their own religions to make them adherents of Christianity. But of course Christians are quite willing to see a Muslim convert suffer the anguishes of hell on earth (persecution) and to rejoice that they have become a Christian.  That’s exclusivity at any and all costs.  And that exclusive attitude by Christians is because our understanding of salvation is directly opposed to the teachings of all other religions.  Other religions are hardly a stepping stone to Christianity.

Much more could be said, but I’ve gone on for too long already.  Thanks for sharing your concerns.  I think they are valid, but not easily answered.

We will miss you, Abby! We hope you can still give us some guest posts about your experiences this summer.

Abigail, thank you so much for sharing your experience and insight. You've been a blessing to this community and I look forward to "seeing" you around still!  

Thanks Salaam for adding more material from Luther. Very interesting that he was worried about losing people to Islam because they were "disposed to much less splendid errors," and that he advocated fortifying the people with more sturdy arguments.

Thank you Greg for this enlightening article. I think you an I would agree with Luther that it is important to understand Islam. :

       Alongside of your article, I read Sarah Henrich and James L. Boyce, "Martin Luther—Translations of Two Prefaces on Islam: Preface to the Libellus de ritu et moribus Turcorum (1530), and Preface to Bibliander’s Edition of the Qur’an (1543)" in  Word & World , Volume XVI, Number 2, Spring 1996. It can be found on-line.

    These two Lutheran scholars translated two of Luther's works from Latin into English, and I thought they might give your readers a more nuanced view of the fact that Luther was not entirely enamoured with religiosity or papist--and made a critical distinction between someone who worships a generic Creator, and someone who worships the Trinity.   Here are a few excerpts from their document:

[at times I have put the word "Turks" in brackets as that is how he referred to the Muslims of his time]

 

II. LUTHER’S 1530 PREFACE TO THE TRACT ON THE RELIGION AND CUSTOMS OF THE TURKS

p. 259 

"Nevertheless, they  [i.e. the Turks] continue to deny and ardently persecute Christ,

p. 260  

.." these evils [i.e. of the Turks] are concealed by such a beautiful, effective, and robust show of ceremonies, good works, and false miracles..... the religion of Christ is something other than ceremonies and customs and that faith in Christ has absolutely nothing to do with discerning what ceremonies, customs, or laws are better or worse, but declares that all of them squeezed together into one mass are not enough for justification nor are they a work for them to perform. Unless we learn this, there is danger that many of our people will become Turks, disposed as they are to much less splendid errors.

p. 261-261

These defenses are the articles about Christ, namely, that Christ is the son of God, that he died for our sins, that he was raised for our life, that justified by faith in him our sins are forgiven and we are saved, etc. These are the thunder that destroys not only Muhammad but even the gates of hell. For Muhammad denies that Christ is the son of God, denies that he died for our sins, denies that he arose for our life, denies that by faith in him our sins are forgiven and we are justified, denies that he will come as judge of the living and the dead (though he does believe in the resurrection of the dead and the day of judgment), denies the Holy Spirit, and denies the gifts of the Spirit. By these and similar articles of faith consciences must be fortified against the ceremonies of Muhammad. With these weapons his Qur’an must be refuted.

 

III. PREFACE TO THE QUR’AN OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER, PROFESSOR OF THEOLOGY AND PASTOR OF THE CHURCH AT WITTENBERG

 

p. 264

Muhammad acknowledges, however, that he is devising a new belief that dissents from the prophets and apostles. Therefore, as you firmly repudiate the beliefs of the Egyptians who worshipped cats and of the Arabians who worshipped dogs, so you shall denounce the new creation of Muhammad, because he himself openly admits that he does not embrace the teaching of the prophets and apostles.

 

p. 264-5

But since this punishment is already in sight, may it warn us, as I have already said, to separate ourselves in prayer from the Turks, from the Jews, and from the other nations, and to invoke the eternal and true God, the creator of all things, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was crucified for our sake and raised from the dead.

 

p. 266

The following corollary assertions provide a source of great encouragement: Just as the church of God is eternal, so it is fitting that the church’s teachings be eternal; yet this book witnesses that this creation of Muhammad is a new thing. The church of God by necessity embraces the prophets and apostles; Muhammad rejects their teaching. In the church of God from the very beginning this voice of the gospel has always been handed on: that the eternal Father willed that the Son of God become a sacrifice for sins; Muhammad scorns this sacrifice and propitiation.

Therefore, it is of value for the learned to read the writings of the enemy in order to refute them more keenly, to cut them to pieces and to overturn them, in order that they might be able to bring some to safety, or certainly to fortify our people with more sturdy
arguments.

 

 

Thanks for the information, Julia! 

Apparently, Canadian donations received by Candian charities (World Renew in Canada should qualify) before May 25 and earmarked for the Nepal Relief will be matched 1:1 by the Canadian government.

Kim--Thanks for your comment and pointing out 2 Cor. 12:9--love that verse! So encouraging for us when we face discomfort. 

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