Jesus Asked Us to Rescue the Perishing and Set the Captives Free
Human trafficking is a topic that I wish I did not have to cover in the pages of Mission Frontiers. It is ugly and disgusting and does not make for a “pleasant” reading experience. But as followers of Jesus we must sometimes face the ugliness of our world head-on in order to do what is right in the sight of our Lord. We have done our best to present this topic honestly, but with a great deal of discretion in describing the abuse that these modern- day slaves experience. Some readers may object to our covering this topic at all, but the sheer tragedy of 25+ million precious people being enslaved in our day demands that we as Jesus followers speak up in their defense.
Many in our day are critical of those people in the 18th and 19th centuries who did not do enough to end slavery. What will future generations say about us if we are silent in the face of slavery in our day? It would be the height of hypocrisy to point out the sin of generations past while ignoring the slave trade in our midst. As representatives of God on earth, we must take action to set the captives free. In numerous places in this issue of MF we provide specific steps you can take to stop human trafficking and those industries that fuel it. We don’t just lament the problem but we provide specific solutions to defeat this global menace. Read and take action.
The Church Supports Human Trafficking?
Our readers may be asking after seeing our cover, “What do you mean, the Church is supporting human trafficking?” As you read this issue you will come to realize that the use of pornography is a major factor driving the demand for human trafficking. The sad fact is that over 50% of pastors view pornography on a regular basis, and a whopping 68% of all church-going men do so as well. See the stunning statistics starting on page 17. This is not just a male problem either; 87% of Christian women have watched porn.
With church members watching porn at the same rates as unbelievers, a sizable majority of church members and pastors are fueling the demand for human trafficking. For the sake of the spiritual health and power of the Church to carry out its mission in the world, this must stop. For the sake of millions in bondage, this must end. Those who are laboring under this addiction must have the courage to come forward and ask for help. Pastors must no longer be silent and ignore this hidden plague in their midst. We need courageous pastoral leadership to confront this issue and bring this hidden sin out into the light with no shame, just a commitment to set free these captives to sin.
A Rich Evangelical Heritage as Abolitionists
Opposition to slavery is nothing new for Evangelicals. The Second Great Awakening, 1790-1870, which led to a massive expansion of the Evangelical faith across the western frontiers of the United States, focused not only on getting people saved, but also on social reform within society at large. These passionate new Jesus followers wanted to prepare the world for the return of Christ. Their passion for reforming society came in many forms including temperance, women’s rights and the abolition of slavery.
Many leaders of the abolitionist movement came right out of the Second Great Awakening. Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was a devout believer and ardent abolitionist along with her husband. After the start of the Civil War, Stowe visited President Abraham Lincoln at the White House on November 25th, 1862. According to the account of Stowe’s son, upon meeting Stowe, President Lincoln quipped, “So you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.” Throughout her life she was devoted to proclaiming the gospel and ending slavery.
It is time for us to follow in her footsteps along with thousands like her and become modern-day abolitionists in opposing human trafficking. It is time for us to act and no longer be silent. See the article starting on page 13 to see how you can be a modern-day abolitionist.
How Does This Relate to Movements?
We are Jesus’ hands and feet in this world. The only way that we can show the world what the invisible God looks like is by living like Jesus, doing what He has commanded us to do. It would be all too easy to focus on making disciples and ignore the evil in our midst. But true discipleship means confronting the sin in each disciple’s life. Establishing Kingdom Movements means confronting the evil in a community as well. When a group of disciples who are making more disciples generation after generation commit to obeying all that Jesus has commanded us to do, this will inevitably bring transformation to a society. And when we see a pernicious evil like pornography invading the Church, all faithful disciples must stand up and say “No!” to it and seek the help and accountability of other faithful believers to break free from this sin. Tackling sin issues like human trafficking and pornography is one sign of a healthy Kingdom Movement.
Support the Work of Mission Frontiers and Frontier Ventures
We added something new this time. We added a “false cover” inviting you to invest in the ministry of Mission Frontiers and Frontier Ventures. As is the case with most publications, Mission Frontiers cannot cover its costs from subscriptions alone. We need additional funds from those who believe in this ministry and are willing to sacrifice to help us move forward in casting vision for Kingdom Movements in all peoples. Like most of the people who work for Frontier Ventures my salary is supplied by the donations of churches and friends who believe in what I am doing. And also like many staff members at Frontier Ventures, there are many months when not enough comes in to cover our full allotted salary. So if you are a supporter of a Frontier Ventures staff person and you are receiving MF for the first time, please be generous and please consider subscribing to Mission Frontiers.
If you are a regular reader of MF, please consider a special gift to help MF cover its expenses and expand its influence. To give, go to http://www.frontierventures.org and click on the donate button. Put MA 030 in the dialog box to cover MF’s general expenses. To donate to my ministry with MF put MA323 in the dialog box. We greatly appreciate whatever you can do to help Mission Frontiers and Frontier Ventures continue working to see Kingdom Movements in all peoples.