The Grand Narrative–Part XXVII
Be on the lookout for a new series … THE PATRIOT … COMING SOON!
“If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
Psalms 11:3 ESV
At the moment I cannot recall how I came to discover the vision and writings of YWAM missionary, Landa Cope. But I am glad that I did and I like what she is doing. Landa is the founder of The Template Institute (TTI), an organization “committed to providing seminars and materials for the development of Biblical thinking in the professions as well as a comprehensive Biblical approach to issues in the public forum.” Currently, Landa serves as the Executive Director of TTI.
I stumbled upon Cope’s book titled The Old Testament Template in 2008. I read it and I highly recommend for you to do the same. The book lays out the case for God’s interest and involvement in all of aspects of our lives, not just our salvation. She writes …
“I knew what I must do. At first chance I must buy colored pencils and a new Bible to start studying the Scriptures from the perspective of what God taught about each of the areas of influence in society. So, for example, what did the Word teach about government, economics, family and so forth? I would start with the books of Moses because it was obviously his job to teach a nation these things. Then I would work my way through the rest of the Bible to see the whole counsel of God’s Word on any given domain. I don’t think I had been this excited about something since the invention of television.”
For those of you who know me, you certainly understand why reading something like this would get my heart pounding. This has been my my quest for nearly thirty years.
OK … enough rambling. I want you to read some of what Ms. Cope has written in The Old Testament Template. Here’s the first of two parts. The second part will come on Wednesday.
“I began my overseas life in North Africa, four wonderful years in the land of the Pharaohs. I loved Egypt and would gladly have spent my entire life there. More than twenty years later … I was on my way to a more expansive exploratory trip on the African continent. Two months would be spent traversing from West to East and to Southern Africa: Togo, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and South Africa. Africa is enormous and I spent hours in airplanes looking down on its vastness.
“As I visited primarily Christianized nations, Togo, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda, my anguish increased. Missions statistics that I had quoted with joy burned in my mind. ‘Africa, 80% Christian south of the Sahara by the end of this century.’ ‘Africa, the most evangelized continent in the world.’ ‘Africa, the most churched continent by the end of this century.’
“In each nation, the story was the same: poverty, disease, violence, corruption, injustice and chaos met me at every turn. I found myself asking: ‘Is this Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven?’ Is this what the blessing of the gospel brought into the community looks like? Is this what a nation looks like when it is ‘reached’? In this southern part of Africa we have nearly ‘reached every creature.’ Churches are planted and full. African evangelists abound and continue the work. Is this what it looks like when our work as Christians is finished in a nation? God forbid! My anguish increased.
“You may say, ‘This is unfair. These were poor countries before the Gospel came!’ You are right, but they are poorer and more diseased now, after the Gospel has come. I spent many hours asking God how this could be. How could we, as Christians and especially missionaries, be patting ourselves on our backs for a job well done in Southern and Central Africa? How could we speak so glowingly of the Gospel’s great reformation of Europe and North America and not see that none of that nation-changing reality is being experienced in Africa? How could anyone conceive of this utterly devastated Africa … as finished? How could anyone conceive that Africa [is an] example of the impact of Christianity? How could we hold up the condition of the so called ‘Christianized’ nations today as trophies to the truth, as proof of the fact that where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is spread, blessing accompanies it?
“My heart was heavy as I traveled Africa as I thought about my own nation. My prayer became, ‘Lord, what has gone wrong?’ Nearly two hundred years of concentrated missions effort on this continent – how could it result in this? God spoke, simply and with a dawning revelation that would change my understanding of missions and my life calling, fundamentally and permanently. He said this, ‘The devastation you see is the result of the Gospel of salvation!’”
I hate to leave you hanging like this. … No wait … I … I love leaving you hanging like this! How could you not want to come back?