Fertile Soil in the Global South
This week we are initiating a new feature called Priority Projects. Several times per month we will bring to your attention a current project aimed at resourcing the global church. We will invite you to become educated on the needs, as well as to prayerfully consider partnering to reach our funding goal.
To kick it off this week we are highlighting a Portuguese relief project in partnership with Editora FIEL. It's been a great privilege for me to work with our friends at FIEL for many years, including two trips to Brazil. God is moving mightily within the church there. Most of us probably think of Brazil as a missions-receiving nation, and this would be true. Increasingly, however, it is becoming a missions-sending country to the glory of God.
Portuguese is a particularly strategic language, more broadly used than you might expect. It is spoken on three continents in Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Portugal, Guinea-Bissau, East Timor, Cape Verde, as well as Sao Tome & Principe. The potential kingdom effect of distributing 5,000 copies of Carson's The God Who Is There in Portuguese is huge.
About the church in Brazil, my friend Rick Denham from FIEL writes:
Today much has been said and written about the growth of the church in the Global South. In countries like Brazil, there seems to be a new church opening on every block. While we are very happy to see this, upon a more thorough analysis, we see much of this growth as the fruit of pragmatism and fragmentation among the historical churches.
The Brazilian soil was found to be very fertile for the prosperity gospel, which so enchanted the North American church in the 70s and 80s. Their success is probably due to what a Brazilian theologian called "the catholic soul of the evangelicals of Brazil," where instead of selling indulgences they are selling prosperity and the promise of a bright future with new cars and good jobs. The result, more often than not, is that these churches are "a mile wide, and a foot deep." Most pastors have little if any theological training, and their zeal to build large congregations and ministries exceeds any interest in the authentic gospel.
The good news is that God's remnant is and has always been present in this country. More recently, the growth of the new Calvinism has been very influential in Brazil. Fueled by the internet, books, conferences, and social media, a new generation of pastors and leaders are now clinging to the old Reformed faith. We are seeing great opportunities to give to these men tools that will foster their knowledge of sound doctrine.
We need books to place in the hands of these pastors and leaders to provide them with understanding of the revelation of Scripture. Books like Carson's The God Who Is There provide a clear explanation of Gods redemptive plan for mankind as developed through the entirety of Scripture. These books help the reader not to rush to conclusions based on one passage, but instead, rely on the Bible as a whole. Partner with us in placing this much-needed book in the hands of pastors and leaders in the Portuguese-speaking world.
Also, please don't miss this video which will give you the perspective of pastors from these regions of the world.