Sow the Seeds of Faith
Sow the Seeds of Faith
We continually get feedback from Thai churches that ordered Prince of Peace in 2015 and 2016. We are using their comments to refine and improve future editions of Prince of Peace to be an even better tool for evangelism and discipleship.
THAI WORD is working on developing a new book that combines Genesis creation story with the Gospel of John's story of New Creation. Our goal is to introduce God the Father and Jesus as the Giver of Life to the Thai people.
After centuries of Christian missions in Thailand, it has become apparent that the Thai people group is very resistant to the Christian Gospel. Thailand is a country where Christians are free to proclaim the Gospel without religious persecution. Yet, there are only about 1% Christians in Thailand.
However, disadvantaged ethnic minority people groups such as the Karen hill tribes are very receptive to the Gospel. Therefore, missionary efforts in evangelism have been, in recent times, directed almost entirely toward these minority groups with wonderful results. In fact, according to research by the ESTAR Foundation, a disproportionate 35% of Protestant Christians in Thailand belongs to these minority groups.
In the famous parable of the lost sheep, Jesus shows us what the heart of God for the lost is like. Our Lord will go all out to look for the lone lost sheep until it is found. In Thailand, we have the parable in reverse. Only one sheep is safe. The rest have lost their way.
It is our conviction that Jesus wants his people to do whatever it takes to bring the Christian Gospel to the 99 Lost Sheep of Thailand.
We can't continue to use the same tools that have been employed in the past decades and centuries. They have not worked well. At THAI WORD, we aim to-
Our Lord Jesus commands us to make all nations, including the Thai nation, into disciples. Evangelism in the Kingdom of Thailand is the proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to the Thai nation, so that those who hear, and believe, can become disciples.
THAI WORD develops new tools for evangelism to the Thai people with the awareness of the following important considerations.
We cannot proclaim the Christian faith without the Scripture. However, giving copies of the standard Thai translations of the Bible to Thai people is not effective for the following reasons:
"But I am a Thai. I can't be a Christian."
This is the usual refrain from a Thai person who has heard, understood, or even agreed with the Christian Gospel. Anyone who has done any close-up evangelism in Thailand would be familiar and perhaps exasperated by this reply.
Any visitors who have been to Thai homes or businesses would have noticed that Thai people are very spiritually minded. Although, Thai people don't generally discuss truth in religion, they honor sacred objects, sacred days, and sacred places. The reverence for sacred objects poses a challenge for Christians.
Thai people pick auspicious days and times for every important occasion. They consult monks, astrologers, and other holy persons for a good day to get married, build a new house, and even when a baby should be born. (Elective Caesarean birth is very popular in Thailand.)
Normally, Thai people are not very open to hear about the Christian faith. In recent years, however, Christmas is now celebrated along with New Year season in mid to late December. THAI WORD promotes Evangelistic outreaches on Christmas by partnering with churches and Christian organizations.
In the book of Acts, Apostle Paul introduced the one true God to the Athenians. This is something completely new to the Athenians, so the Apostle Paul used many touch points that existed in the Greek religion and quoted Greek philosophers.
The Thai world view is significantly different from those in the West. There are many matters in life that can be used as touch points between the Thai world view and the Christian faith. THAI WORD continues to create new Christian literature that will explore these touch points, such as the sacredness of marriage, spirits that rule the land, work ethics, etc. The end goal is to use these touch points to communicate the truth of the love of God through Jesus Christ.
Here are some features of the Thai world view that Westerners may not be familiar with.
As part of Buddhist/Hindu belief, Thai people believe that humans and other living creatures experience birth, decay, sickness, and death in endless cycles until nirvana. Good deeds and bad deeds will result in corresponding rewards and punishments in the next reincarnation.
It may be difficult for Westerners to grasp that the belief in reincarnation is real and pervasive in the Thai psyche. Oftentimes, when Thai people experience suffering, they will blame themselves that perhaps they have done something really bad in their previous life. This fatalistic tendency can lead to a certain attitude of helplessness to fight against evil.
Thai people are much more keen to see spiritual powers as influencing everyday life than those in the West. They try to appease the local spirits, and attempt to use spiritual powers to gain worldly advantages (money, love, career, etc.). Some of the practices are outright black magic. This belief is pervasive from all facets of status, poor and rich, ignorant and educated, honored and despised, and in all occupations from top politicians to common laborers.
From a Christian point of view, this is a wonderful touch point. God the Creator is the source of ultimate power, wisdom, and beauty. Christians can point out that no power in the world has the authority to overcome God the Creator and his chosen Christ.
Attitude toward Attachments
Buddhism teaches that attachments cause suffering. The ultimate goal is to rid oneself of all attachments.
In the Christian world view, some attachments are ordained by God and can be a huge source of blessings.
For example, marriage is viewed by Buddhists as a mere social convention. It is a form of attachment that Buddhism deems ambivalent. Marriage is not deemed to be a spiritual blessing and therefore not especially spiritually sacred. But marriage is sacred to Christians, because God specifically created male and female and blessed them in a strong union. Christian teaching on marriage is rich in experience and truth. This can be a wonderful touch point to lead Thai people to the loving God who created marriage to be a tangible form of sacred spiritual attachment.