This book thoroughly discusses the positive and negative impact that well-meaning Christians have on foreign cultures when they serve in the name of the Great Commission. The authors contend that often these efforts do more harm than good. Many times missionaries and churches set out to aide or help nationals, when in fact, they do greater long-term damage.
The first third of the book is a wonderful analysis of the biblical mandate that calls every Christian to be involved in bringing the gospel to the world. The authors do a thorough job of analyzing what the bible has to say to us all regarding missions.
Unfortunately, the remainder of the book provides little biblical support for its hypothesis. The authors provide great political, philosophical and economic justification for limiting humanitarian activity, but little biblical rational. While their views are sound from a secular perspective, their viewpoint has little theological support.
The authors are concerned that many missions efforts create dependency and rob the recipients of dignity. If one looks at Jesus’ life, never once did Christ worry about creating dependency before he raised the dead, healed the sick or fed the hungry. Jesus’ ministry, and by extension ours, is to show mercy and love to those in need.
The book discusses the commendable labors of many secular philanthropic organizations and the wonderful work they have done without creating dependency. However, no mention is given to the fact that those well-intentioned organizations do nothing towards bringing glory to Christ, which as Christians should be our first priority.
This book imposes secular views on Christian ministry with insufficient biblical justification. Christians are called to provide mercy to the needy. We should not rob Christ of his glory by reducing those efforts.