Sunday, October 30, 2016

No Neutral Ground: Let The Soldiers Of Christ Speak To Our Own Generation!

Fight the good fight of faith... (1 Timothy 6:12 a)

Comrades, let us be resolute. Let us, by whatever name we are called..Some will praise us, some will blame us; let us not care too much about either praise or blame. Let us live looking up, looking on--true by His grace, who has called us.

..Things may be badly put. He will put them perfectly. We may be distressed about what will happen if we act upon the thoughts that are growing strong within us. He will make that all right if only we follow and obey.

-Amy Carmichael, God's Missionary

The Christian is to resist the spirit of the world. But when we say this, we must understand that the world-spirit does not always take the same form. So the Christian must resist the spirit of the world in the form it takes in his own generation. If he does not do this, he is not resisting the spirit of the world at all. This is especially so for our generation, as the forces at work against us are of such a total nature. It is our generation of Christians more than any other who need to heed these words attributed to Martin Luther:

If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.

-Francis Schaeffer, The God Who Is There

In an age of relativity, the practice of truth when it is costly is the only way to cause the world to take seriously our protestations concerning the truth.

-Francis Schaeffer, The God Who Is There

Homosexuality is nothing new. What is new is that it is deliberately and systematically promoted. New also is the pressure to accept it as a valid norm. Political correctness sees to it that society in general and law-makers in particular bow to the agenda forced on us by lobbyists. .......Our need for harmony is so great that anything in connection with punishment seems narrow-minded, harsh, unkind and judgmental. Our Christian duty to love our neighbors is at the forefront of our thinking (Mat.22:37-39). 

However, the first and greatest commandment Jesus gives us sets a specific order for our love. We are to love God first and then our neighbor. There is a good reason for this. We can only truly love our neighbor if we love God first...Sympathizing with human weakness is not the same as sympathizing with human wickedness.

-S.Joela Kruger, Intolerance, Navigating the storm of end time humanism

I can see little consistency in a type of Christian activity which preaches the Gospel on the street corners and at the ends of the Earth, but neglects the children of the covenant by abandoning them to a cold and unbelieving secularism.

- J. Gresham Machen

And so I challenge you. I call for Christian radicals, and especially young Christian radicals, to stand up in loving confrontation, but confrontation---looking to the living Christ moment by moment for strength---in loving confrontation with all that is wrong and destructive in the church, our culture, and the state.

-Francis Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster

When the time comes to die, make sure that all you have to do is die!

-Jim Elliot, The Journals of Jim Elliot

Friday, October 28, 2016

Koto-Nakare-Shugi (=Let’s-Don’t-Rock-The-Boat Principle) : The Root-Issue Of Japanese Churches And Culture

"Koto-nakare-shugi" is said to be an invisible but deep-rooted cultural phenomenon in Japanese society including Christian churches.

Koto-Nakare-Shugi (事なかれ主義 =let’s-don’t-rock-the-boat principle); 
-this idiom means to cause "trouble" where it is not welcome. Causing trouble, or doing/saying something where it would only disturb a situation, that is otherwise satisfactory and "peaceful" as it is.

I have been voicing the gender-feminism issue inside the churches on my Japanese blog for the last two years or so. When I say gender-feminism issue, it includes female ordination issue, homosexual issue, the recovery of headcovering, male headship at home/in the church, creation order, biblical manhood/womanhood and so forth. 

Today, however, I want to confess to you with tears that I am almost on the verge of breakdown because of this particular cultural/spiritual phenomenon called "Koto-nakare-shugi" which is so dominant in Japanese cultural structure. 

This structure looks gentle and polite on the surface but it nonetheless raises a merciless hammer over your head if you dare to go against the cultural tide and say "no!" to its new policies and directions. 

You might wonder, "but, Kinuko, I don't think it is just a Japanese phenomenon. We've seen it in the western evangelical world, too." Yes, you are right in saying that it is seen in everywhere but the peculiarity of Japanese culture is that there is a silent but persistent, overwhelming pressure which suggests we must even avoid pointing out the existence of these controversial issues. 

In the west, on the other hand, whether you are egalitarians or complementarians (or somewhere in the middle), you might feel you are allowed to voice your opinions and discuss these issues freely. And it naturally causes lively and fair discussions and consequently, it helps each of us to listen to both sides of the argument carefully and decide our own course. 

In the Japanese setting, however, it won't happen like that. And if you dare to do, and keep on doing so, then, sooner or later, you are cornered and then start to believe that you are the most weird, eccentric, unmerciful, and obstinate person in the whole world, thus it is better to just shut up your mouth and let the stream go as it wishes.

I ask my dear brothers and sisters to pray for me. My spirit wants to stand up for Him and the Bible truth but my flesh is so weak and powerless. "Koto-nakare-shugi" inside/outside of me discourages/weakens me to go on this gender ideological/spiritual battle and I am almost ready to give up this fighting in the Japanese church setting. I wish I would be a strong soldier of Christ! Thank you for reading this post. May God bless you all.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Heavenly Contemplation

O traveling bird!
O fragile and solitary soul!

Why searchest thy dwelling place here on this earth?

Lift up thy weary eyes and
Behold the everlasting City of God.

O soul, hold thy pilgrim's staff and
Keep marching on Zion!

written by Kinuko

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Comfort Words For Missionaries In Spiritual Chains

When we hear the word "missionaries," we often think of the figures like David Livingstone, Adniram Judson etc who have played active roles in the foreign mission field.

But then, what about Christian servants who are powerlessly lying in sick bed right now? What about mission-minded, spirit-filled passionate Christians who are chained and downcasted under the discouraging circumstances?

Did Paul and Silas stop being "missionaries" when they were chained in an obscure, dark dungeon in Philippi (Acts16)?

Did Hadson Taylor, a founder of China Inland Mission, stop being a  missionary when he was forced to retire in a shabby apartment in London, being forgotten by most of his friends and supporters for nearly 7 years? Was that the "end" of his missionary life?

No! No matter what the situation may be, they had never stopped being missionaries. Because it was He who appointed them to be His missionaries and He has power to keep holding and sustaining us in the darkest period of our lives.

People tend to value our "usefulness" by our outward activities and public displays. However, the Kingdom values tell us something completely different. It's a upside-down value system! In this system, the outward chains, limitations, shortage, lacking, and lamentable situations would rather be considered "blessedness" because those who mourn shall be comforted (Matt 5:4)

Dear Father in heaven, I lift up my hands and pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are in chain. How difficult their situation might be! How easily they may be tempted to sink into the pond of despondency! O gracious Lord, hold them tightly and remind them once more that they are Your missionaries and they shall be until the end! In Jesus' name. Amen.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Just a little update

My dear readers, I just want to let you know how much I miss you and that your precious being has meant a lot to me.

I've been thinking of you and I find it difficult to not communicate with you. I cherich our sincere Christian fellowship. Indeed, I've come to realize more and more that the communication among believers in Christ is something so special, sweet and vital.

"That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship (koinonia) with us: and truly our fellowship(koinonia) is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ." 1 John 1:3

Koinonia= participation, communion, fellowship, sharing in, spiritual fellowship.

Oh, it is also interesting to note that in modern Greek, koinonia means "society."

It seems to me that something in intimate koinonia with the Father and with the Son flows out of our inner sanctum and joints us with the living, everlasting koinonia and its warmth. Where there is a true communion/fellowship, there is a loving communication as well. And I see that this kind of true communion/fellowship cannot endure dissention, dishonesty, disunity, bitterness and sins unconfessed. It drives us to the foot of the Cross and be reconciled. It is a life-giving flow which fills our hearts and spirits.

Several sisters have sent me touching emails. Thank you so much. As soon as I'm available, I'd love to reply to you individually. Just remember how much I love you!

Kinuko from a far land

Monday, October 3, 2016

Neither Egalitarian Nor "Middle East" Way: Presenting The Complementarian Role Of Woman To The Farsi-Speaking Evangelical World

As a servant of God among the refugees from the Middle East, I have been struggling how we can best present the complementarian role of women at home and in the church.

Why? Because the dominant force of evangelicalism in the current Farsi-speaking world is that of the egalitarianism-based denominations and ministries. Though I do respect their sincere faith and their strong Bible-believing stance  which is truly adorable, nonetheless, I have been sadden by the simple fact that most of the main Farsi Christian satellite TVs, magazines are run by egalitarian denominations and the sermons of Joyce Meyer, a female preacher, for example, are being broadcasted dubbed in Farsi. In fact, for many Iranian/Afghan sisters, Joyce Meyer is their role model.

It seems to me that their attraction to the egalitarian version of Christianity is partly due to their confused idea of the meaning of "equality" in the Bible, plus their reactionary impulse against their former oppressed religious circumstances, for which I have deep compassion and sympathy.

Three different views 

The Bible clearly teaches that in terms of nature/essence (ουσία, φύση), men and women are completely equal. However, in terms of function/order (τάξις), men and women are different. The egalitarians, on the other hand, say that we are equal both in nature AND in function/order. Third, their former religion in the Middle East, seems to say to them that men and women are inherently unequal in nature and different in function/order. too. I can summarize these three views as follows;

(1) Their former religion's view:

Unequal in nature and different in function/order

(2) Egalitarian view:

Equal in nature and equal in function/order

(3) Complementarian view (*the view to which the author of this blog adheres.)

Equal in nature and different in function/order

So, we see in many ways, most of the Farsi-speaking women had been oppressed by the system (1) for years. After conversion, however, they are introduced into the egalitarian model of women at home and in the church (system (2)). As a result, there have been tragic disunity, fighting, divorce among them and I have seen their tears over the years. 

Thus, like western Christian feminist sisters, Farsi-speaking sisters also find it difficult to understand the difference between nature and function. When they hear that men and women are different in order/function, they rashly makes a conclusion saying that "well, so, it means that women are inferior to men in nature, too?" No, my dear sisters! It is not true at all.

After much prayer, I finally decided to record my own testimony in Persian language. (You can listen to the voice message and its English translation on my next post.) This is my sincere prayer that this testimony will be reached to the heart of my dear Farsi/Dari speaking sisters who are seeking the Bible truth day and night.