Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Being a missionary in New Testament times was a dangerous occupation (2 Cor. 11:23-26). Yet in the past three centuries the missionary has been looked upon as a purveyor of health, education and Good news. But the “Religious Freedom in the World 2016 Report” paints a dangerous but essential future for outreach as large swaths of the world are forcibly experiencing a religious monoculture.
The U.K. Guardian newspaper explains, and then quotes, the report:
“(The report) argues that the ‘Islamist hyper-extremism’ of Isis – a phenomenon whose hallmarks are systematic attempts to drive out all dissenting groups, unprecedented levels of cruelty, a global reach and the effective use of social media – is having a devastating impact around the world.
‘In parts of the Middle East –including Syria and Iraq – this hyper-extremism is eliminating all forms of religious diversity and is threatening to do so in parts of Africa and the Asian subcontinent,’ says the report. ‘The intention is to replace pluralism with a religious monoculture’.”
Read the complete report here: http://www.religion-freedom-report.org/
Here is how The Message bible translates Paul’s missionary work:
“Since you admire the egomaniacs of the pulpit so much (remember, this is your old friend, the fool, talking), let me try my hand at it. Do they brag of being Hebrews, Israelites, the pure race of Abraham? I’m their match. Are they servants of Christ? I can go them one better. (I can’t believe I’m saying these things. It’s crazy to talk this way! But I started, and I’m going to finish.)
I’ve worked much harder, been jailed more often, beaten up more times than I can count, and at death’s door time after time. I’ve been flogged five times with the Jews’ thirty-nine lashes, beaten by Roman rods three times, pummeled with rocks once. I’ve been shipwrecked three times, and immersed in the open sea for a night and a day. In hard traveling year in and year out, I’ve had to ford rivers, fend off robbers, struggle with friends, struggle with foes. I’ve been at risk in the city, at risk in the country, endangered by desert sun and sea storm, and betrayed by those I thought were my brothers. I’ve known drudgery and hard labor, many a long and lonely night without sleep, many a missed meal, blasted by the cold, naked to the weather.”
“And that’s not the half of it, when you throw in the daily pressures and anxieties of all the churches. When someone gets to the end of his rope, I feel the desperation in my bones. When someone is duped into sin, an angry fire burns in my gut.
If I have to “brag” about myself, I’ll brag about the humiliations that make me like Jesus. The eternal and blessed God and Father of our Master Jesus knows I’m not lying. Remember the time I was in Damascus and the governor of King Aretas posted guards at the city gates to arrest me? I crawled through a window in the wall, was let down in a basket, and had to run for my life.”
– 2 Corinthians 11:23-33 MSG
“‘Islamist hyperextremism’ could bring world to brink of catastrophe – report” by Sam Jones, Guardian Newspaper, 11/15/16 retrieved from http://www.religion-freedom-report.org/