E-book: Jonah, the reluctant missionary

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This electronic book (e-book) is about the theology of missions. Its basis is an Old Testament character named Jonah, a man whose story is often used to teach obedience. These 10 short chapters reflect on what Jonah's story has to say about God's desire that the entire world be evangelized.

1. Are the Heathen really lost?


Lori sat in my office, tears welling up in her eyes. Her voice broke as she spoke. She had just returned to school after the Christmas break. During that time she had attended one of the huge Urbana missionary conventions sponsored by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Along with 15,000 other university students, Lori had joined some Christian university professors, missionaries and pastors in focusing on the completion of world evangelism.

At Urbana Lori heard a speaker say that each day 55,000 people die before they've even heard of Jesus Christ. When she returned to school, she was still stunned by that news.

"I'll never be the same again," she said there in my office.

I know some people would think Lori was a young and impressionable young woman who was teetering on the edge of fanaticism. You cannot, however, dispute the fact that nearly half the world's population knows nothing about Jesus Christ. Still, many think Lori was over-reacting. While they wish some way could be found to get the Gospel to these unreached peoples, they do not feel a driving inner compulsion to do it. They excuse their lack of driving passion by saying that these people have their own religion. Lori need not be alarmed, they argue. Their feeling is that all people everywhere are talking to and trying to serve what will turn out to be the same God.

"Doesn't God accept all people's worship?" they ask. "He is merciful and understanding. So, isn't He going to save those who are sincere in following their own religion?"

The events of Jonah's story give us some answers to these questions. That's because the Ninevites were not Jews. They lived 500 miles from Jonah's Galilee home. Nineveh -- whose ruins can be seen today in modern-day Iraq -- was the capital city of the feared Assyrian empire. God's dealings with this pagan city and its inhabitants help us answer the question: Are people of other religions really lost? [ continue reading ]

Note: The word "heathen" in the title is not used in a pejorative or negative sense. This was the classic wording of questions about the eternal destiny of the unreached or unevangelized.

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How can Jonah's story help us answer the question of the lostness of people of other religions?

Jonah's story gives us four reasons why people following religions other than Christ are lost. [ read on ]

SNU missions course materials and syllabi

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Howard Culbertson, 5901 NW 81st, Oklahoma City, OK 73132  |  Phone: 405-740-4149 - Fax: 405-491-6658

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