A horrible approach that is not only unbiblical but has brought reproach, recriminations and retribution upon true Christians even to this day. However, there were occasional glimpses and glimmers of true missionary lights in the darkness of the Middle Ages that still can teach us valuable lessons in the 21st century. Lessons even in the area of Jewish evangelism — believe it or not!
One of these glimmering lights was a Majorcan reprobate who came to true faith in Messiah Jesus at the age of 30, Raymond Lull (1232-1315/16) and soon sought to change the way missions was done in the darkest period of Church history. He also had a true salvation burden for both children of Abraham – the Muslims and the Jews – during a time when the leaders of the Church proper was more interested in “Convert or Die but Please Just Die” than anything else.
Without going into a lengthy historical treatise/explanation of Lull’s adventures that lasted nearly 50 years, his approach can be summarized in 3 points:
- Sociological – learn everything you can about the people even if it means abandoning OUR comfort zone
- Apological – learn all the arguments and the counter-arguments and the counter-counter arguments of the people so one can answer with a 1 Peter 3:15 response
- Sacrifical – learn the heart of the Messiah even if it costs you everything
I will propose that many times today that we might be successful at one or two of these items but we struggle with achieving all three. And this is where we struggle in where as missions.
For example: We might learn #1 but we want to hold onto to our ways and life or we so immerse ourselves that we cease to be effective of showing a New Way (i.e., Torah Observance as being required). We might learn ALL the arguments of #2 but the humbleness of 1 Peter 3:15 is another thing. The idea of true sacrifice (#3) is too hard and too much and therefore we are not truly effective.
Would we go back to Raymond Lull and learn again from his example. Perhaps we would be more effective.