American church in jeopardy over missions, Patterson says

( [email protected] ) May 14, 2004 08:14 AM EDT

On May 11, during a one-hour live broadcast, Southwestern Baptist Seminary President Paige Patterson said that the American church would suffer if it doesn’t begin directing more of its resources to fulfilling the Great Commission. During the broadcast, held at the seminary’s Forth Worth, Texas campus, Patterson told KCBI Christian Radio host Johanna Fisher his views on the global missions and the duty of a Christian.

“The church has been very generous and great numbers of people have gone ... but it is always wrong and will never be right that 95 percent of the world’s resources are spent on 5 percent of the world’s population,” Patterson said. The church’s failure to expend the appropriate resources on international evangelism is “something for which God will judge us."

Fisher asked Patterson if many Christians were not fulfilling the Great Commission because of what had happened to “new millennium martyrs” such as the seven Southern Baptist personnel killed in Yemen, Iraq and the Philippines.

“God doesn’t make any wimps,” Patterson replied. “The worst thing that can happen is for a Christian to be engulfed by fear. Fear is the work of the devil. Of the many ways to die, I can’t think of any better way to die than to give one’s life for Christ.”

One caller to the program asked if parents should be concerned about sending their children on international mission trips. In response, Patterson said parents who have such fears should not allow their children to drive on freeways or visit the nation’s capital, noting that Washington, DC has one of the highest murder rates in the country.

“It is safer in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Patterson said. “The most dangerous thing in the world is to be out of God’s will.” For those who serve in dangerous places overseas, the Lord provides a “double protection,” he said.

Patterson added, “There is no higher calling than to go to people who have not heard the Gospel.” By going, Christians make an investment in eternity, he said.

Concerning the anti-American sentiments currently present in other nations, Patterson shared his thoughts through his recollection of a past visit to the Philippines. Once while he was there, he presented the Gospel to some of the few hundreds who were protesting outside of the US Embassy. Patterson reasoned that although he may not change one person’s thoughts on America, if he could “change [a person’s] mind about Jesus, [they] will change the way [they] look at other people.”

Another caller to the program asked Patterson if it was appropriate for Christians to smuggle Bibles into foreign countries and preach where Christianity is forbidden. In response, Patterson replied, “I hope Bible smuggling is not unethical. I’ve done enough of it.”

As for preaching, Patterson exhorted that Christians must join with the apostles and decide whether is better to obey God or man.

In places where laws prohibit the proclamation of the Gospel, Patterson said Christians must be prepared to suffer the consequences “even it costs us our lives.”

Patterson said that for him, not only was he motivated by the Great Commission to practice missions and evangelism, but also by the fact that he did not want the blood of the lost on his hands at the time of judgment. “I want to be able to say that I had given my all to share the Gospel of Christ with them,” he said.