Planting Churches in the 10/40 Window
Throw a dart at any one of the 50 plus countries of the 10/40 Window and you will find the “poorest of the poor” and those living with the lowest standard of living on the planet. Look closer and you will find some who have had a Gospel witness for more than 100 years like Turkey (99.8% of the Turkish population is Muslim) and Saudia Arabia (100%) Now ask yourself: “How can they still remain less than 1% Christian?”
How can this be?
Or examine the lack of any real indigenous movements in large numbers anywhere in the Muslim world. I suggest to you it is because the Western missionaries reproduced what they knew – i.e. planted the whole flower pot and not just the gospel seed – in two critical areas
1. Church Structure
Typical Western church vs. Typical 10/40 Window needs
Big buildings vs. Low profile- “house church” style
Big budgets vs. Low budgets- “poorest of the poor”
Highly trained, professional clergy vs. Low entry level for leaders
(i.e. Pastor as CEO) vs. (i.e. working elders)
Lack of Holy Spirit power vs. Fear of demons and in need of healing
2. Western World View vs. Eastern World View
Western world-view (and thereby its influence on western theology) is dominated with a “guilt/innocence” paradigm, with a focal point on being “right and wrong”. This comes from the Roman/Greek world-view in which it was birthed. The gospel, therefore, that we speak around the globe has a prevailing tone of legal terms and logic: justice, sin, guilt, and redemption. The foundation of this paradigm can be seen in the early church fathers. For example:
“Tertullian [b. 160 AD] the early church father who first developed a code of systematic theology, was a lawyer steeped in Roman law. Using his understanding of law, and the need for justice, guilt, and redemption, he laid the basis for Christian systematic theology, as it would develop in the west.” Roland Muller
The Eastern world-view is dominated by a “honor/shame” paradigm, with a focal point on “protecting shame”. Christianity as it grew in the East developed differently from its Western cousins. Eastern theologians did not use “Roman law” as a vehicle for interpreting the gospel. To this day, in most Muslim countries and communities telling a lie is not wrong if your honor is held intact. The greater person is one who protects his honor than the one who tells the truth.
Unless the missionary communities wrestle with this “honor and shame vs. guilt and innocence” paradigm, I fear that 100 years from now men and women will still be lamenting the lack of success in reaching all nations for Jesus.
Yours for the least in the Kingdom,
% of the population is Muslim