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Christianity Worth Thinking About

 

Christianity's Real Record

Gregory Koukl
Sunday
April 10, 1994
My Defense:
  1. You can't hold Christianity responsible when so-called Christians violate the rules of Christianity. The fault's not with the religion, but with the people who disobey it. A religion is only responsible for what it teaches, not for what its so-called adherents do contrary to those teachings. (see 1 John)
  2. The crimes have been exaggerated out of proportion.
  3. The greatest evil comes from denial of God, not pursuit of Him.
  4. The alleged destruction is far outweighed by the good.

Education

Human Rights

Acts of Mercy

General Cultural Transformation


Four areas:

1. Education

Our educational system owes its roots to Christianity

"Education was one of the earliest concerns of the colonists, according to the pamphlet New England's First Fruits. This was in the tradition of the Reformation because Calvin and Luther had emphasized the need of education so that the individual could read his Bible and so that leaders for the church and state could be trained. The Bible had first place in their curricula and that of the educational institutions of the early America, and classical training took second place as an aid to the full knowledge of the Bible." p. 365, Earle E. Cairns, Christianity through the Centuries: A History of the Christian Church

"In China...missionaries...operated thousands of elementary schools and hundreds of high schools, as well as thirteen full-fledged Christian universities." p. 167

Missionaries made Africa literate. They created written languages.

"There are 860 known languages and dialects in Africa. One hundred years ago fewer than 20 had a written form, since then 500 have been reduced to writing--all the work of missionaries." p. 166, Kane, A Concise History of the Christian World Mission

"The missionaries had to start from scratch--inventing scripts, writing textbooks, and opening schools....In 1923 only 100 of the 6,000 schools in British Africa were government schools. As late as 1961, 68% of all the school children in Africa were still in mission schools." p. 141, Kane, A Concise History of the Christian World Mission

The first president of Ghana, the Prime Minister Balewa of Nigeria, and former Mau Mau leader and president of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta all praised the impact of missionaries. p. 143, Kane, A Concise History of the Christian World Mission

"At one time or another in recent years Liberia, Ghana, Nigeria, Chad, Zaire, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zambia all had Christian presidents." p. 144, Kane, A Concise History of the Christian World Mission



"In fact, it was the missionaries who invited the European powers to intervene in Africa to stop the iniquitous slave trade carried on by the Arabs."


2. Human Rights

William Wilberforce (1759-1833)

"Slavery was ended in British possessions by an act passed just before Wilberforce's death in 1833." p. 397, Earle E. Cairns, Christianity through the Centuries: A History of the Christian Church

"David Livingstone...by his travels in Central Africa, exposed the Arab slave trade as 'the open sore of the world' and managed to 'open a path for commerce and Christianity' in that unknown continent." p. 100, Kane, A Concise History of the Christian World Mission

In fact, "In fact, it was the missionaries who invited the European powers to intervene in Africa to stop the iniquitous slave trade carried on by the Arabs." p. 94, Kane, A Concise History of the Christian World Mission

"By precept and example [missionaries] inculcated the ideas and ideals of Christianity--the sanctity of life, the worth of the individual, the dignity of labor, social justice, personal integrity, freedom of thought and speech--which have since been incorporated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights drawn up by the United Nations." p. 169, Kane, A Concise History of the Christian World Mission


 

3. Acts of Mercy

CPC's
"The German Inner Mission awakening grew out of the work of Johann H. Wichern (1808-81). The Inner Mission began in 1848 to promote practical social outcomes of revival as well as evangelistic work. Wichern built 'rough houses,' beginning in Hamburg in1833, as homes for orphan boys, homes for the aged, lodging houses, city missions, and institutions to work with prisoners and seamen." p. 405, Earle E. Cairns, Christianity through the Centuries: A History of the Christian Church

"In China [the missionaries] operated 270 hospitals..., more than half of all the hospitals in the country. Today India has 450 hospitals in the Christian Medical Association." p. 168, Kane, A Concise History of the Christian World Mission

John H. Howard (1726-90)
"...devoted his life and fortune to prison reform. Before his death in 1790 from jail fever, which he caught while inspecting a vile prison, he traveled fifty thousand miles and spent thirty thousand pounds of his own money on prison reform." p. 397, Earle E. Cairns, Christianity through the Centuries: A History of the Christian Church

The Salvation Army, William Booth (1829-1912)

Chuck Colson, Prison Fellowship

George Muller (1805-98) orphanages

Mother Teresa



"By all odds the missionaries of the nineteenth century were a special breed of men and women. Single-handedly and with great courage they attacked the social evils of their time"


4. General Cultural Transformation

Boy Scouts--Sir Robert Baden-Powell

1844 George Williams (1821-1905) YMCA

"Historians readily acknowledge that Methodism ranks with the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution as one of the great historical phenomena of the [18th] century, and some subscribe to the idea that Wesley's preaching saved England from a revolution similar to that of France." (instituted reforms so no need of revolution) p. 382, Earle E. Cairns, Christianity through the Centuries: A History of the Christian Church

"Most of the social reforms between 1787 and 1850 were the outcome of evangelical effort for the poor." p. 397, Earle E. Cairns, Christianity through the Centuries: A History of the Christian Church

"Thinking largely of Africa, Professor E. A. Hootan of Harvard said: 'As an anthropologist, I have completely reversed my opinion of missionaries. These men and women have contributed more to our knowledge of the peoples of the world than have the entire ruck of professional travelers and explorers. They may have done more than the anthropologists themselves.'" Christian World Facts (New York: Foreign Missions Conference of North America, 1941), p. 96 quoted in p. 170, Kane, A Concise History of the Christian World Mission

"By all odds the missionaries of the nineteenth century were a special breed of men and women. Single-handedly and with great courage they attacked the social evils of their time; child marriage, the immolation of widows, temple prostitution, and untouchability in India; footbinding, opium addiction, and the abandoning of babies in China; polygamy, the slave trade, and the destruction of twins in Africa. In all parts of the world they opened schools, hospitals, clinics, medical colleges, orphanages, and leprosaria. They gave succor and sustenance to the dregs of society cast off by their own communities. At great risk to themselves and their families they fought famines, floods, pestilences, and plagues. they were the first to rescue unwanted babies, educate girls, and liberate women. Above all, they gave to the non-Christian world the most liberating of all messages--the gospel of Christ. They converted savages into saints; and out of this raw material they built the Christian church, which is today the most universal of all institutions." p. 100, Kane, A Concise History of the Christian World Mission

  This is a transcript of a commentary from the radio show "Stand to Reason," with Gregory Koukl. It is made available to you at no charge through the faithful giving of those who support Stand to Reason.

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Posted: April 18, 1997

 

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