Jesus’ 2000th Birthday
We applaud efforts being made to stage a massive celebration of the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. A Christian dentist in the California bay area was the first I knew to come up with that idea. Now several others are taking it up, including a brilliant younger missiologist named Jay Gary.
One of the most intriguing contributions is the idea of Robin Wainwright, a New Testament scholar, who would like to repeat the journey of the Magi, and would like to see action start in 1996, building both a visitor's center as well as a planetarium in Bethlehem! These thoughts are contained in a new book, Star of 2000, by Jay Gary, and an article in the current issue of World Christian.
All of these events stirring about will no doubt make millions pause and consider eternity, consider Jesus Christ, and perhaps even consider His driving purpose to encompass the earth with His redeeming Word.
An unfortunate element in these materials is the bizarre emphasis that mission goals for AD2000 are making "zero" progress! Is this justification for forgetting all about world evangelization and celebrating His 2000th birthday instead? I'm sure that does not follow.
However, there is, as usual, a slippery aspect when dealing with statistics.
This is a completely new thought for me. But it is true, actually, that if you focus on a small number of still "totally unreached" people groups you can technically claim that up to now there has been "zero" progress with these particular groups.
But note that this is not to say there has been zero progress in world evangelization in the last few years! It merely says that there is no progress as yet in the case of those groups for which there has been no progress. Is it such astounding news that some groups are as yet unreached?
We may be bitterly disappointed that there are still some groups in the world for which there has not yet been any progress. That is an impelling reason to redouble the already massive efforts reaching out across the world to the unreached peoples. It certainly is not a legitimate answer to the question (in the article), "What progress has been made in the last five years (in world evangelization)."
Let's do celebrate His birthday in the year 2000. Let's also do all we can to present Him with the birthday present He most desires--that His glory might be declared among the nations--all the nations by then, if at all possible.