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The Gospel is Moving West

Date: 04-05-2016

Dear Friends,


I’d like to share an interesting theory with you. 

Church historians have noted a curious feature of the movement of the Gospel. Over the past 2,000 years the Gospel proceeded from East to West around the globe. Never East. Always West. 

The Church began in Jerusalem following Jesus’ ascension. Then the apostles carried the message westward into Asia Minor (present-day Turkey) and then later to Rome. By the end of the first millennia, the Gospel had reach Western Europe, and in the centuries that followed it traveled westward across the Atlantic to the Americaa and then finally across the Pacific to East Asia. 

Even more curious, as the Gospel has moved into a new area, authentic Christianity largely died out in earlier places. For example, when the Gospel took hold in Rome at the end of the first century, it had already died out in Judea. Centuries later, Eastern Europe abandoned the true Gospel for pagan traditions, while the Reformers were championing the true Gospel in Western Europe. In the centuries following the Reformation, Europe slid into a post-Christian apostasy while the Americas became the vanguard of the truth. Today, the Gospel is under attack in the West by false teaching even as it finds a receptive audience in East Asia. 

The theory goes on to propose that the Spirit is working to reach all people by moving the Gospel around the globe like the sun, from East to West. Like the sun's procession around the planet, the movement of the Gospel brings light to one place while leaving darkness in its wake. Certainly, the Gospel is still reaching people in every place on earth, but the theory recognizes that the Gospel is received more readily in some places than in others. 

Most importantly, the theory predicts that as the Spirit continues moving the Gospel westward, it one day will reach Jerusalem again, and when this happens, it will coincide with the Lord’s Second Coming (see Zech 12). In this way, we might say the procession of the Gospel is a clock tracking the end of this age. While we can’t be certain of this theory, it does fit our observations of history and reinforces our view from scripture that we are living in the last days.

Personally, I have witnessed the effect of this theory in our own ministry. As the theory predicts, VBVMI has seen a disproportionate interest in our teaching from among students in East Asia, which is the current “hot spot” for evangelism in the world. We are grateful for every student the Lord sends to us, but we are especially encouraged by the high interest among Asian audiences for in-depth Bible teaching.

For example, in May I will travel to the largest country in East Asia to teach at a Christian seminary. While this nation is generally wary of religious training, the Lord has miraculously opened a door for me to travel and teach in this country without constraint, which is remarkable and precious to me. I will teach a portion of our End Times seminar to these students, offering them insight on the Lord’s return and the Kingdom to come – perhaps for the first time in this region. 

Because of the support from our donors, VBVMI has the resources to respond to this opportunity quickly and without cost to the seminary or missionaries on the ground who invited me to teach. What a blessing it is to bring good news to those who desire to know the truth and to do so without imposing a burden on those who cannot bear it! Thanks to all of you who support our minsitry through prayers, participation and financial support. 

Once I return, I will share more details of the trip and the teaching event.  Meanwhile, please remember this trip in your prayers, as we labor together for the Lord and His coming Kingdom. 

In Christ, 

Steve




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