Tite Tienow, a West African professor of missions and theology, was confronted by his physician during a medical exam. The doctor disagreed with the work of the professor and said that he was teaching Americans to “colonize” his native land. But Tienow pointed out that the aim of missionaries is not to change culture but to lead people to faith in Christ.
It’s true that when people become believers they abandon some of the practices that mark their culture. But that’s a result, not the goal. For example, when people of the Udek tribe in Chali, Sudan, became Christians, they rejected the practice of burying a live baby with its mother if she died during childbirth. These new Christians didn’t set out to turn their culture upside down. But United Nations officials have publicly noted the difference between the Udek believers and their non-Christian neighbors.
The apostle Paul saw the gospel at work in the society of Ephesus. When sorcerers turned to Christ, they burned their occultic books valued at 50,000 days’ wages (Acts 19:19). And the silversmiths who made shrines of Diana were almost put out of business (vv.23-27).
It’s not our responsibility to change our culture. Only the power of God through the gospel can do that!
Christ frees us from the penalty
And power of our sin,
And He will change society
As hearts are changed within. —Sper
The gospel produces a change within that breaks the chains of sin.