In this episode, Thomas Paul speaks about his most loved bible verse.
Thomas Paul’s week is also available on YouTube.
This is my most loved Bible verse: Revelations 7: 9-12: „After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no-one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice, „Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.“
Insiders know that this theme is woven throughout the book of the Bible called the Revelation of John. Over and over we read about „all peoples and languages.“ And Insiders know, that this is the fulfillment of Jesus’ Great Commission, of Paul’s theology, of the whole Old Testament. All ethnic groups, all language groups of this world will hear the Gospel.
The Gospel has spread out into the world more than anything else. I‘m not just a theologian, but also a sociologist of religions. That is actually a very worldly science; and on of their doyen’s and main representative was Peter Berger from Boston, who recently died in his 80ties. He was and still is a world famous person, and he has carried out many scientific studies globally. He liked to show his students a movie about people who lived in the Brazilian jungle ten meters above ground and obviously practiced their religion there. They have built their houses and their meeting rooms in the trees. Then he said something like, These people belong to a certain world religion, and there is only one religion they could possibly belong to when they live up there in the trees. Which religion would it be? – His students rarely could answer his question, so he continued: „Those are Evangelicals.“ And then he told them that no believe system exists that has moved farther ahead and spread itself out more among the ethnic groups and languages of this world.
No faith can be found among more ethnic groups. Of cause I do not mention this in pride or being in competition with anyone. It is the work of the Holy Spirit anyway and Evangelicals always have to often been bad in counting and research anyway, so they often hardly know this.
Yet this is, why I love to travel the outer ends to the world, to the inner heart of continents, to the tropical rain forests on several continents, which all host hundreds of ethnic groups with churches, and praise God in Hundreds of languages. In Papua New Guinea alone our churches worship in several Hundred languages. I love it, when they meet for worship and pray the Lord’s Prayer each one in his language at the same time.
In Greenland, on the top of Ecuador’s mountains, in the hot and sparsely inhabited desert of Namibia, in cold Kazakhstan, to name just some places I visited recently, ethnic people worship Jesus Christ in their mother tongue.
This all is not the result of exploding populations like with Hinduism or Islam, the world religions with the most children. It is not the result of Evangelicalism being the state or majority religion in countries and forcing its beliefs on others. The spread of the gospel and the church among the majority of ethnic groups of this world is the result of believers witnessing to others, is jumps from one man to the other, from one woman to the other.
But it is also the result of translation. Translation is part of the essence of the church. God speaks our language and translates everything to us, in giving us the Bible and in speaking to our heart. He wants us to speak the language of those, we witness to. And he wants the church to be an indigenous church, where people worship God in the language of their heart, in their mother tongue, niot in the language of a political dominating power.
Bible translation and distribution comes out of as a core ministry of the church, radio, TV, social media in many languages comes out of it. Daily evangelism in the churches around the world takes place in more than a thousand languages.
For several decades I worked with Gospel Recordings, a global mission society started by Joy Ridderhof in 1939, providing the gospel in any given language. They have over 6000 languages available. Originally on vinyl, then on cassettes, than unto CD’s; and now it is available everywhere electronically.
When every you travel, praise God, that the Gospel is their already, and open your eyes of the beauty of a multiethnic Church of Jesus Christ.