I’ve been blogging about the Disciple Nations Alliance forum that I attended and the concepts presented there regarding worldview and transformation. The practice of dividing our world into sacred and secular can result in a less than effective church outreach at best and real chaos at worst. Today I have a guest blogger. WGM Missionary, Mark Dunbar, has written about the chaos end of the scale where he ministers in Honduras, Central America. I read with interest his analysis of violent crime spinning out of control in that nation, and in many nations around the world for that matter. Mark himself has been the victim of violent crime on more than one occasion as a missionary. Here is his analysis.
Jeremiah 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.
This is merely one of many promises giving us an answer for the Honduran society and, for that matter, for the world itself in 2010.
The snapshot of Honduras right now is that at least in the larger towns and the cities, the majority of the population is afraid to leave their homes and many times even to stay within their homes because of crime: violent thefts, kidnappings, hired killings, and even massacres.
Three groups within Honduras have joined forces to form a perverse trilogy: the gangs, the drug traffickers, and corrupt authorities.
- Whereas the gangs previously were kept busy struggling between different factions, they now seek to extend their influence and power by taking over businesses, homes, and entire industries as is now the case with urban public transportation.
- Previously the drug cartels used Honduras in money laundering. Now they have formed a complex networking so that no part of society has remained untouched by their violence. It is common to see poor people all of a sudden building a mansion. They are protected around the clock with well armed bodyguards and are untouchable by the authorities because they have more sophisticated weapons then the army itself. To make matters worse, the traffickers are directly linked to and under the control of foreign drug cartels that care nothing for Honduran society.
- Corruption in Honduras has always been among the highest in Latin America. What has changed has been the partnership with people with absolutely no conscience.
This combined onslaught has resulted in that a human life has less value than a simple cell phone. When the authorities do capture and arrest criminals, they are often forced to let them go free with no or little punishment. Once released, the delinquents are free to impose their own punishment on those who pressed charges.
Until now, the church has, on the most part, only gotten involved in a particular case when it affected one of its own members. We have now reached the point that there is no church remained untouched by the delinquency and anarchy.
According to Romans 1, social problems are caused by a mistaken theology or by sin, quite often within the church itself. As evangelicals, we have separated our God from our daily lives, relegating Him to being the God of the spiritual. At the same time we hope and ask for Him to bless our physical bodies, our economic condition, and our emotional lives. But, before seeking God, we generally go to the doctor, the financial advisor, or the counselor. In the case of violence in Honduran society, we have simply turned over all responsibility to the political authorities.
The Bible contains a long list of examples of ordinary men and women whom God used to transform a broken society. What these heroes had in common was that they cried out to God, depended on Him, and were filled with His Spirit.
2Chronicals 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will Ihearfrom heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. I sincerely believe that God has a purpose for the Church in Honduras right now in 2010. It is the role of transforming the society. This promise does not speak to the need of the unconverted and the criminals to humble themselves, pray, and repent, but rather to the people of God to do so.
The time has arrived for the evangelical church in Honduras to be the body of Christ for the transformation of this society. We are in a war in which each Christian and each church uses his weapons against the enemy but not in a strategic way. It’s as though an army left each troop with the order to simply fire when deemed necessary. God has given us the authority won by our Champion. He has given it to His church.
Ephesians 1:18-23. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and has put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all.
Our strategy must be that described in 2Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will Ihearfrom heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Keeping in mind:
- That we are fighting a spiritual war against spiritual beings (Ephesians 6:10-20)
- That God is sovereign; therefore our requests must not be selfish or based on what we ourselves want but rather based on glorifying the name of our God (James 4:3)
- That God’s will is the absolute best (Isaiah 55:6-11)
- That we are called to be united in harmony among ourselves and that unforgiveness and disunity hinders our prayers (Matthew 18:19, Mark 11:22-26)
- That any unconfessed sin in our lives stymies our prayers (Psalms 66:18)
I propose the following strategy:
- Call for days of prayer and fasting on a local, regional and national level. This is first of all for repentance both personally and corporately as a church. It has been our apathy, our selfishness, our envies, our divisions and lack of love, our hesitancy to take and use the authority offered to us by God Himself that has produced this national disaster. (Daniel 9:2-21; I Peter 4:17)
- Call out to God for:
- Boldness to speak the word of God and for God to extend His hand in working miracles in this society (Acts 4:24-30)
- Wisdom, protection, and boldness for our authorities (I Timothy 2:1-2)
- Fear, disloyalty, confusion, division, and lack of trust for the alliance between gangs, drug traffickers, and corrupt authorities (Psalm 83, Psalm 94:23)
- The repentance and revival of Honduran society (Jonah 3:10)
- Start a means of communication between churches with requests and answers to prayer specific to members of churches, their families, and their acquaintances that have been directly affected by threats, kidnappings, murders, theft, etc. (Perhaps on a web-page, Facebook, prayer chains, etc.)
- Extend the movement to other churches in order to hold a large public event calling out to God for Peace in Honduras. Always look to God for guidance on this event.
Daniel 12:3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
Some additional thoughts:
- DISCERNMENT in regards to the focus of prayer to target in on the specific need and God’s will regarding this need.
- HOLINESS is of utmost importance for the pray-ers. Remember Achan!
- Be open to, and humbly seek PROMISES of God for these requests. Careful not to be presumptuous.
- Our MOTIVATION is of utmost importance. Many here are praying for our nation in order to not lose their savings, their security, and their comforts. Our first priority is the honor of God and the salvation of souls. It is easy to fall into a spirit of vengeance. My conviction is that we should focus on what I Peter 4:17 says: “Judgment must begin at the house of God.” If the church is right with God, they will be salt and light for the perverted and cruel world.
- Be careful that our efforts in prayer do not degenerate into prayer groups praying for simple health needs of members in the church. KEEP THE FOCUS.
- As it is fashionable to have “Prayer walks”, do not let this or any other fad take over the effort – do all under the DIRECTION of the Holy Spirit.
So what do you think about Mark’s conclusions? Would you add anything to them in light of the concepts of a wholistic approach to evangelism? How does the church impact its society through the daily lives of its members?
Thanks, Mark for writing about this issue that goes far beyond the borders of one country.