Why does the sun rise in the east?
There is this something about the east! The sun rises in the east. Jesus is returning from the east. Many if not most great philosophers are from the east. So what is the significance of these things being from the east?
The Apostle Paul while in his early 40’s set out on his first missionary journey. He arrived at the island of Cyprus. There he converts Sergius Paulus, his first gentile convert, and jettisons his Hebrew name forever. Saul of Tarsus is no more. The Apostle Paul, the Apostle to the gentiles, steps forward to his life work.
Many have commented on the choice of Paul over other Apostles for this world task. Why Paul? It is my opinion it was for his philosophy. His doctrine was the same, his heritage was the same if not better, so it seems to me it was his philosophy that tipped the scale in his favor.
Paul was able to be eclectic when he was before high-ranking Romans, or even Governors and Caesars. It was his Hellenistic learning and background that made him the candidate to reach the population of Asia, Achaia, Macedonia, and Galatia.
I would like to be able to witness to all people about Jesus Christ. As I have traveled this country for the last 35 years of preaching, I have seen very few Asian people in our churches. It is a rare occurrence.
Why has the sun not risen in the east like it has in the west?
Could it be that we have not trained ourselves to reach the eastern mind set? Do we understand how to reach out to them? The Buddhist? The Hindu? The Muslim? How many of us strive to understand these eastern thinkers?
Are we as exclusionary as the Jews of the New Testament? Is heaven reserved just for the American, or English and Latin-speaking peoples? I thought I read that in that celestial city there were people there from every tribe and nation.
Are the eastern people of your area being reached with this gospel?
Let me challenge you. Have you ever read the Tao de Ching? It is the second most read book in the history of the world! It is the basis of all thought and doctrine for 3/5 of the world we live in. Many of you who read this will never have heard of it. When I have been with many pastors, and even bought it for them, they have smiled indulgently and said people here don’t read that.
How many Apostolics could effectively witness to a Buddhist? How about a Muslim? How about a Hindu?
I do not expect this blog to start a stampede on the bookstore, but if there are any who are interested in being the most effective witness you can I am going to recommend some reading.
The “The World’s Religions” by Huston Smith is the standard textbook used on many campuses in America. It is a distilled overview of the major religions of the world. It at least explains the Bagadavita, (The religious book of the Hindu faith). It explains the Diamond Sutra and the Sutra of Hui Neng (Buddist books). It explains the Koran, (Muslim book).
I also recommend the Tao de Ching. The version I favor is by Stephen Mitchell. There are many versions available. The Tao is a small volume that can be read in less than an hour. The principals in it are similar to the principals in our Bible.
For many who read this blog today, this is nonsense. I understand that, but Paul was the best-prepared man on planet earth to reach people of diverse views. He stood toe to toe with the intellects of Greece on Mars Hill. He could confidently say, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it is the power of God”.
Maybe it is time to consider why the sun has risen in the east every day for millenniums in our natural world, but has never risen in the east in the spiritual world!
Thanks for reading today.