“You might be tempted to ask, ‘do they really need the Gospel?’ but if you can look beyond the high technology, the smiles, and politeness, you will see a nation that is so desperately lost without Christ.” – Michael Oh 2009

This quote from Michael Oh, pastor of Christ Bible Seminary in Nagoya Japan, who we met, is probably one of the most insightful ways of expressing what I believe is a great failing on the American Christian Church. I say this from a heart that did not recognize how much we as American Christians functionally believe the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel. I came to understand this more as I was repeatedly asked, “why are you going to Japan? They have money, comfort, and Starbucks, why do they need missions?” It strikes our Western Christianity as strange to hear that a country as wealthy as Japan is 0.2% protestant, and worships over eight million gods. It strikes us as strange because we functionally believe that only poor nations need Jesus because Jesus will make you materially rich. This is a fundamental deformity in the heart beliefs of what the God-man Jesus Christ has done for us as Christians. Jesus came to pay for sin not a BMW. The result of Jesus’ perfect payment of sin is the reconciliation of his enemies (us) to him to himself, so that as reconciled sons and daughters, we might reconcile others to him through the power of the Holy Spirit, for the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 5:16-21). This is something that God taught me, and continues to teach me through my experience in Japan.