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From This Place: Torrey Conference 2012

Being an effective witness in a changing world

On Wednesday afternoon, students crowd in Crowell Hall, for a workshop called "Qualities of an Effective Witness in a Changing World." | John Buchanan/THE CHIMES

Ivan Chung challenged Biola to go beyond the superficial and to dive deeper by becoming a multicultural campus. By purposefully learning and understanding other cultures, we can discover how to give each culture the good news in a way that they can relate to. Chung said that we should see the world around us, be uncompromising about the Gospel and develop cultural desire and humility to understand other’s lives.

Jesus saw the crowds and was moved with compassion. Paul walked in Athens and was distressed because of the idols surrounding him. These emotions caused movement. Jesus taught and ministered to the crowds. Paul preached the Gospel to Athens. But what happens when we see the spiritual deprivation in the world? Chung said we glance at the problems instead of seeing what God sees. If we were to truly see what God sees; the city, cultures, the people - we would be moved into action.

Paul did not charge Athens with a blind passion, preaching and yelling truth at the crowds. Instead, he took the time to understand the culture and experience. He was able to speak in a way that connected with his audience. But his audience’s needs did not alter the Gospel. Jesus’ story is consistent but the way His story is told meets the needs of the culture. 

“Negotiating with the culture in the love of Christ takes time, humility, and a posture of learning.” said Chung. The world around us may be ever-changing, but the love in the Gospel remains the same.

Ivan Chung’s message gave a practical way to begin missions; learning about other cultures and truly seeing the people in those cultures. Instead of limiting the definition of missions to a trip to Africa, find cultures in LA and around Biola to learn about and humbly learn how to tell them the Good News.

In my opinion, this is an appropriate way to do missions. Instead of bringing your own religious culture into a new church, spread the Gospel and allow God to work through the new Christians in a way that means the most to them.

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