Missionary efforts to spread the gospel to the Islamic countries have received a different opinions, Time magazine reported. In the latest coverstory in Times, 'Should Christians Convert Muslims?', it is talking about missionary activities that are both arrogance an heroic service.
Even though the situation in Muslim countries has gotten worse since the 911 crisis and subsequent US actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, missionaries are more focused on evangelizing in Muslim countries.
Time says "Evangelicals have been rushing to what has become the latest hot missions field." Figures from the Center for the Study of Global Chrisitanity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts reported the number of missionaries to Islamic countries doubled between 1982 and 2001, from more than 15,000 to in excess of 27,000.
Among those, 1 out of every 2 is American and 1 out of every 3is Evangelical. "We're having more now than probably ever before go out to people like Muslims," said George Braswell Jr., a missions professor at the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
However, this doesn't seem just good for evangelism. The restrictions on missionary activities become more tightened and even murders occured several times. Last year four missionaries were murdered and in 2001 some was arreste and imprisoned. In 2001 US missionaries, Heather Mercer and Dayna Curry were arrested in Afghanistan.
However, they has been critized for their actions in Afghanistan. Robert Seiple, the State Department's Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom said "They broke every rule in the book. They didn't think enough. They did not project their idealim to its farthest conclusion."
Time pointed out that "although many missionaries are sensitive to the restrictions that mission fields have, there remains a troubling contingent of indeterminate size that combines religious arrogance with political ignorance."
The magazine also concludes that the charity Christian groups offer "as a cover for evangelism" sometimes brings heroic humanitarian efforts by workers who believed Christians should be aware of being not as a messenger of the gospel but also a feeder and healer.
Also the magazine interviewed with 'Henry' and 'Sarah' who have done missions in a North African country for 20 years. Henry said he approached to people with "relationship evangelism" which is based on the difference between the two Arabic words "tansir" and "tabshir." The former means to coerce people to change their religion but the latter means to share and to be a witness.
In addition, Time also mentioned about the Jesus film, made by Campus Crusade for Christ in 1979 which have been translated into more than 830 languages.
Time reported, "The efforts to dub the film, syllable by syllable, into languages from Adangme (spoken in Ghana) to Zhuang (spoken in China), are legendary," says the magazine, "as are the heroics of three-person teams that took it to five continents, running projectors with old car batteries or screening it on bedsheets -- and the miraculous healings that, by team members' accounts, attended some showings."