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Witnessing approaches adapted to the needs of the Japanese people

Mitsuo Fukuda : Rethinking Authentic Christianity Network「RAC Network」

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  1. The three needs of Japanese people
  2. Approaches that respond to these needs
  3. Making use of the three approaches

 

Approaches that respond to these needs

Obviously, the three needs listed above are not cut and dried categories. Instead, it is more natural to think that all three of these needs can exist in one person at the same time. But when we are actually witnessing to someone, there is practical merit in discerning which of them is dominant in the person you're sharing your faith with.

 

Let's simulate approaches for evangelism specific to each of these needs. We'll search for concepts that are key to unlocking the heart need of each, look at how we should introduce Jesus to each type of person and then we'll examine what kinds of challenges we will face. Finally, we'll also list two Scriptures that relate to and are useful for each need.

 

The approach for a person who seeks to be filled with spiritual power

The Bible teaches about an unconditional grace that is poured out upon people; it also teaches about an unchangeable calling and gifting. But the idea that cleansing is a manifestation of power should be assumed in this thinking. To the person who is seeking spiritual empowerment, we should talk about “cleansing” (or, purification) and point to Jesus who took on our “filth”(or, sin) in our place. And we should challenge people to not to try and cleanse themselves of their own filth but to receive the cleansing/purification of God.

 

WHAT ARE THESE PERSONS THINKING AND HOW DO WE TALK TO THEM?

  1. There is a God who is “the Holy Father and source of life” who gives breath and sustains the lives of all living things.
  2. God fills “those with clean (pure) hearts” with spiritual power to bring healing and light to our neighbors.
  3. There is deep darkness and filth (uncleanliness) in the depths of the human heart; even if I try my very best, I cannot become clean on my own.
  4. The Father sent his son Jesus, and had him take upon Himself all of our uncleanliness on the cross.
  5. Throw away the pride that says I can purify my own heart; be filled with the Holy Spirit so that you can receive God's purity/cleansing.

Scripture passages appropriate to use with such persons are Ephesians 1:23, “And the church is his body; it is filled by Christ, who fills everything everywhere with his presence,” and Matthew 5:8, “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.”

 

The approach for a person seeking warm fellowship

The person who seeks warm fellowship focuses their attention on how much someone will accept them. These kinds of people think they'll be accepted initially but fear that, in the end, they will be hurt. For them, we must testify that it is “not that He will hurt us but that it was Jesus who was hurt, wounded on our behalf.” We must also challenge them to open the door to the fortress of their hearts and let God protect them instead.

 

WHAT ARE THESE PERSONS THINKING AND HOW DO WE TALK TO THEM?

  1. Nobody can help me, the wounded one. I can only stay “confined” within my own fortress.
  2. Jesus is kind. He received, in my place on the cross, the wounds I should have received.
  3. When I open my door of my heart and accept Jesus, God becomes my fortress and protects me.
  4. God rejoices in you, loves, defends, and protects you, and grows you at your own pace.
  5. I gain peace in my heart and contentment by receiving mutual acceptance, correction, and nurturing in God's family.

Good passages to use for this type of person are Song of Solomon 2:14, “My dove is hiding behind some rocks, behind an outcrop on the cliff. Let me see you; let me hear your voice. For your voice is pleasant, and you are lovely,” and Isaiah 53:5, “But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed!”

 

The approach for a person seeking to be “true to oneself”

For the person who has a life where nothing changes, they seek for “real life” experiences. Those who try to get such experiences are people who know the meaninglessness of their own existence. On the cross, not only did Jesus keep Himself under complete control but he prayed for the deliverance of all people. We must challenge this type of person to become one with Jesus and throw off control of the reins of that horse in their life called “ego.”

 

WHAT WE NEED TO SAY AND WHAT THEY'RE THINKING?

  1. Is life only about eating, excreting, aging, and dying? There is a purpose in life besides just being born.
  2. Even though people think I'm diligent, I cannot control myself.
  3. While hanging on the cross, Jesus released his ego through God's power and prayed for the liberation of sinners.
  4. Let go of the reins of your life. When you join with Jesus, you can really become your own person.
  5. There is a “job that gives a person meaning” (that is, living for Jesus). It frees those who are slaves to sin and gives them true freedom.

Related to this type of person are Bible passages such as Philippians 1:21, “For to me, living is for Christ, and dying is even better,” and Galatians 2:20, “I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”