Follow the MoneyJuly 1, 2008
You won’t like what I’m going to say. But history backs it up and we all know that those who ignore history (or sleep through it if you took it first period) are doomed to repeat it.
Here is the historical fact: God gives financial prosperity to those places where the Church is most committed to sending the Gospel to the rest of the world. Don’t believe me? I can prove it from history very easily.
During the first century, the only world power capable of transporting missionaries was the Roman Empire. They developed a system of roads and safety systems, language and monetary system that began to tie the world together. Through the Romans, the Gospel went from India to Scotland, from Finland to the Sudan. Curiously, as the church in the fifth century began to stop sending missionaries, the Roman Empire began to crumble from within.
When the impetus for missions was born anew, it was at the heart of the Germanic Kingdoms that were spreading throughout Europe. The Moravians were inheritors of the wealth accumulated in the Netherlands, Prussia and France. As the church in these nations gathered missionary steam, so did the economy of those countries. Curiously, as the Enlightenment and the Naturalism of the French Revolution took away the missionary zeal of the church and they focused on themselves and their own doubts about the Bible, the economies of those countries collapsed. So where did the money go next? To England. It went there at the very time that the British church finally acknowledged their place in bringing the Gospel to the world. Their British Empire allowed the passage of the Gospel into East Asia where it had never come with any strength or power. This continued until the beginning of the 20th Century. British missions had one last hurrah at the end of the nineteenth century with the Edinburgh Covenant (20,000 people dedicating themselves to becoming foreign missionaries). As missions subsided from Britain’s shores, so did their place as the financial power of the world.
Sidenote: No nation has ever been a financial superpower without being a missionary sending nation. More about that in a second.
America, beginning after World War 1 took the reigns of financial leadership in the world. It is no coincidence that this was also the beginning of America taking its place as the number one missionary sending nation in the world. We have maintained that place for many decades and as our financial clout has waxed, so has the fervor we have shown to send and support missionaries.
This fervor began to decline in the late 60s, the first time also that our financial prowess in this world took a hit. Since that time, we have tread water in regards to missions. We have not declined completely, but neither are we advancing. Since that time, our national debt has ballooned and other nations are beginning to show their force economically.
However, starting in 1995, we began to see a serious dropoff in the numbers of missionaries we were supporting overseas. This has continued unabated since then. Notice also that our nation’s place as a financial superpower began its erosion around that time as well. We weren’t told about it until this recession, but the roots of our problems are more than a decade old.
So who are the great missionary nations at the moment? Who are beginning to send out the missionaries at record rates? It should come as no surprise to economists reading this that it is the Chinese Church. Their “Back to Jerusalem” movement says that they believe God has chosen the Chinese church to complete the Great commission. The British brought the Gospel to them and it is now their calling to take it to the nations between China and Jerusalem. Not coincidentally, this is where the majority of the world’s non-christians live. As the Chinese church began to send out missionaries in the late 90s, their economy began to surge and take off. The other nations to watch economically because they are also sending out more missionaries than ever are: Korea, Japan, Brazil, Philippines and Russia.
So if you’re not done with wanting a great economy and place for America on the world stage, then pray the church will wake up and take missions seriously again (meaning not just taking stylized missions trips).