In many sermons and apologetic resources we as Christians are given the example of the Apostle Paul preaching at Mars Hill in Athens to the ‘pagan’ intellectuals of the area at that time. Acts 17:22-34 gives the account quite clearly. These scriptures make it quite clear that the Apostle Paul had to present a biblical world view to those that had no idea about what the newly arrived Christianity entailed. He had to start from the account of creation, and was able to move into talking of turning from their old beliefs (repentance). It is similar here in Japan where the average person knows little of Christianity. This takes a lot of time, explanation, and contemplation for the average Japanese person to understand what Christianity is implying. The thought that God can connect with an individual person in a personal way is quite foreign to the communal-oriented Asian mindset. Also, the thought of a loving God (or God at all!) is quite different from a system in which gods are believed to be like human beings, and should be appeased through various actions! From the average Japanese person to the average Atheistic mainland Chinese student here (studying in school) it is quite clear that the biblical worldview is about as strange as hearing a message from an alien from another planet! “God”, “Sin”, and “Salvation” are largely unknown. Though strange as it may seem to them, the reality of the need for finding the truth exists for all people. This article as well as others make it clear that many Japanese are searching for truth.
Local Shinjuku Temple
Therein lies the importance of beginning at Genesis. Fortunately, aside from personal study of the book of Genesis in the past, there are many resources online to really learn about the creation account in order to build a biblical foundation. Websites like ICR.org and AnswersInGenesis.org have been excellent tools for apologetics. (If you have never been exposed to ideas other than evolution, this link sums up some main contentions well.) The people here that I am able to talk to about beliefs have never really been exposed to ideas contrary to Evolution, let alone Christianity! It is likely a shock to have these views challenged. Yet natural doubts about an evolutionary world view exist within the people I have talked with. Thank you for your prayers, because one man that I have been meeting with claimed that he no longer believed in Evolution now that he has been able to have some important questions answered. When confronted with the question of a random universe with no purpose versus a loving God with purpose for man, a person needs time and consideration to come to a conclusion. After this comes the real work of the gospel: actually sitting down with a person and studying from the beginning of the Book of Genesis to build that foundation to even understand what the gospels and the Book of Romans mean.
As “Westerners”, whether we believe it or not, we often take for granted the fact that there are churches everywhere. We also take for granted the Christian ideas built into our culture, having Christians friends or family members, or even access to Christian material! Consider how much knowledge you have in your head about the Bible, Genesis, and other areas of apologetics. Consider for a moment how you could use this knowledge to help others around you come to a clear understanding of your faith! There may be people that you know and see every day who have no clue about alternatives to Evolution or what Christianity really entails other than what they happen hear from media sources. Take some time to talk with them, and if they are open to conversation, then by all means take some more time to talk to them! Pray about it. We may be amazed at how God can use us in simple ways. (Matthew 5:14-16)
Thank you for your prayers, comments, and financial support!