Missions Articles

  • Cuando Ayudar Hace Daño

    Cómo Aliviar la Pobreza, sin Lastimar a los Pobres ni a Uno Mismo

    Oscar Merlo — 

    La tesis del libro Cuando ayudar hace daño (When Helping Hurts--WHH) es un llamado cristiano a "las congregaciones norteamericanas y sus misioneros...

  • How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor

    An Analysis of "When Helping Hurts" and Other Relevant Works

    Oscar Merlo — 

    The thesis of the book When Helping Hurts (WHH) is a Christian call to “North American congregations and its missionaries to participate in poverty...

  • Dave Keehn — 

    Politicians, civil leaders and concerned citizens continuously debate the causes and potential cures for the extreme poverty that has trapped many people-groups in a vicious cycle of impoverished lifestyle choices. Theologian Wayne Grudem and economist Barry Asmus have partnered to present a sustainable solution to poverty at the national level ...

  • Thaddeus John Williams — 

    The 16th century church was in dire need of a Reformation. What about today, a half millennium later? Is the 21st century church due for another Reformation, a Re-Reformation? Professor Williams shares his thoughts ...

  • Dave Keehn — 

    A brief look back over the history over the world or turning on the nightly news will reveal the pain of people caused by the actions of others. It can be simply stated: People have caused the impoverished lifestyle experienced by so many in the world through harmful acts. Some cyclical poverty is the result of well-meaning assistance that has perpetuated dependency, unintentionally making things worse. Other people are trapped in communities of poverty through corrupt policies and a lack of rule of law. Worse, history is full of the evil of some to oppress, steal from and enslave people resulting in deadly poverty ...

  • Daniel Kim — 

    I had the occasion to watch a six-part DVD series called PovertyCure, produced by the Acton Institute. It is indeed an eye-opening series that I’d encourage you to watch. Each part is less than 30 minutes long and is available in the Biola Library (BV4647 .P6 P68 2012 DVD). It challenges the effectiveness of the traditional model of helping the poor through foreign aid in regions where there is wide-spread poverty and the economy is largely depressed. This aid can come in the form of government sponsored foreign aid, through global agencies such as the IMF or World Bank, and even from NGO’s (both secular and Christian). By the end of the series, I think most would at least pause to consider if “aid” (as a “handout”) helps to alleviate poverty, or whether it actually exacerbates the problem ...

  • Dave Keehn — 

    Where does inspiration come from? Where does the motivation to use one’s gifts and passions to make a difference begin? Jane Goodall said, “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” Are we the source of action or does that spark come from something else? I would like to propose God is the beginning of movements that bring change; history is the record of mankind’s response to the divine prompting ...

  • James M. Petitfils — 

    Don’t you just hate it/love it when a book takes a long-standing ministry practice or cultural disposition you’ve unwittingly nurtured and totally applies the ol’ command-option-esc (or control-alt-delete to be P.C.) to completely reset things? A text I’ve been reading for the Kern Reading group at Talbot School of Theology--namely, Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert’s, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor...and Yourself (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2012)--just pulled this on me. Let me explain ...

  • Dave Keehn — 

    With the globalization of everything in today’s society, the concept that the whole world is my “neighbor” to love (i.e. help) is a valid mindset. I can see images of impoverished children on my phone; I can visit communities with economic challenges on the other side of the globe through international travel. Organizations such as ONE (whose celebrity advocate Bono rallies millions of his fans to sign its petitions and give money at U2 concerts) and Compassion International (which enlists millions of church-goers to sponsor a child in need by allowing a donor to see pictures of the children and pick the child based on looks and/or the desired country the person is drawn to) have rallied countless Christians and non-Christians alike to eliminate poverty in our lifetime. All of these streams of conscious-searing “voices” call me to get involved to help the less fortunate, which I can do, they say, “with minimal effort” on my part: simply give a few dollars a month, about the same amount I spend on coffee each week. So how can I resist this simple call to help? ...

  • Daniel Kim — 

    Undoubtedly, Christians in America should be commended for the growth of missions in the last two to three decades, and specifically the growth in short-term mission trips (STMs). In 1989, there were 120,000 American “short-term missionaries.” This number has exploded to 2.2 million at a cost of $1.6 billion in 2006.[1] This statistic comes from authors Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert in their somewhat controversial book, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor … and Yourself. The natural question that the authors consider—and one that we all should as well—is whether we are being good stewards of God’s money and resources with each STM.

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    Poverty. It is no respecter of persons. It is a global reality that exists in Calcutta and Compton; Tokyo and Timbuktu; San Francisco and São Paulo. Poverty is seen in nations and neighborhoods. It ravages urban, suburban, and rural areas. And despite the enormous wealth of some areas, make no mistake: poor people reside in Beverly Hills, Dubai, and Midtown Manhattan. Destitution is not limited to places like Dhaka and Detroit. Quite simply, there are examples of poverty everywhere. That isn’t to say poverty is equally distributed or equally affecting. In some areas poverty is more relative and sporadic. In other places, it seems absolute ...

  • Mark R. Saucy — 

    One of the benefits of being part of a Christian university is the opportunity for collaboration with colleagues across the disciplines. For theologians this is gold. Questions for integration of faith in science, history, politics, or psychology? I’ve got specialists across campus, all with the same mission, who have been thinking about such things for a long time. One recent opportunity in this direction was participating a colloquium with the faculty of Biola’s Crowell School of Business. Among many topics opened that day, one in particular has haunted me these days in the interim. It was a question that revolved around a start-up competition the Business School sponsors. Students are encouraged to submit business plans for the hope of some start up seed money to launch. But what should be the criteria for judging “better” proposals? Beyond certain received best practices for the business side, does God prefer some business plans to others? Following is my original Yes and No answer to the question; what comes after is now another rather late Yes for the conversation. God does prefer some businesses to others ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    The title of this post is the exact title of a new little book written by Andrew David Naselli & J. D. Crowley and published by Crossway. This new book is intended for a general Christian (non-academic) audience, addressing an oft-neglected subject: the conscience. Discussions of this topic have been few in recent years, despite the fact that the Greek word for “conscience” (συνείδησις) appears 30 times in the New Testament (20 times in the writings of Paul). The book is short (142 pages without the appendices and indices). Thankfully, it is also clearly written. One can easily imagine a book dealing with the so-called grey areas being less-than-clear. The authors have done a fine job in making a complicated subject easy-to-understand.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Following are seven reasons you might be struggling to love Muslims. The seventh reason is probably the most important ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    I was serving as a worship pastor in a church in one of New York City’s suburbs when the attacks of September 11, 2001 were launched. Soon after the attacks, a small contingent of vocal church members began to demand that we start to sing American patriotic songs during our worship services. That suggestion didn’t sit well with me so I began trying to work through some of the relevant theological and practical questions one by one. I wrote these questions and answers on September 29, 2001, only 18 days after the attack on the World Trade Towers in New York City. The following is by no means the final word on the question, but it might provide categories you can use to think through this subject for yourself ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Today is my 30th wedding anniversary. Thirty years ago I vowed faithfulness, friendship, and my entire future to Trudi Lynn Wilson. Apart from following Christ, it was the best decision I ever made. Trudi has shown more love, compassion, and grace than I could have ever hoped for, and far more than I deserve. She has willingly tramped all over the world with me, setting up home, family, and ministry in Portland, Berlin, two cities in Turkey, Los Angeles twice, Philadelphia, and New York. But this post isn’t a veiled attempt to get you to send notes of congratulation (though gifts are welcome). I decided today might be a good day to share a song I wrote for Trudi about five years into our marriage ...

  • Dave Keehn — 

    Images of extreme poverty motivate those with financial resources to donate their money to help alleviate poverty; or that is what the producers of the images hope occurs. However, reducing the terrible and often deadly ramifications of poverty is not as simple as signing the ONE petition or buying RED products (both of which I have done). The problem is also not as straightforward as the global 1% of wealth (the “haves”) giving of their means as handouts to the “have-nots.” The position of wealth in the Global West often leads to a mentality that says we know what is best for the Global Rest – we assume that if they just do what we did then they will get the same results. However, this classification of foreign aid ignores the resources of the Global Poor and their local churches, and instead creates an unhealthy dependency on handouts undermining the dignity of the materially poor, while “their poverty is actually deepened by the very churches and organizations that are trying to help them” (Fikkert & Mask, From Dependence to Dignity, 2015, p. 20) ...

  • Karin Stetina — 

    As the Gospels proclaim, the poor will always be with us (Mt. 26:11) and we are called to help those in need (Mt. 25:31-46). The problem is—how do we do that without causing more harm than good? Anyone who has served in charities in a long-term capacity can recognize a common pattern that author Bob Lupton points out in Toxic Charity ...

  • Dave Keehn — 

    Let me begin by saying I am passionate about exposing teenagers to the work of God around the world, as well as to using their talents to help continue that work both where they live as well as other locations both near and far. However, I am concerned about how most short-term mission trips are planned, administered and experienced in ways that demean and undermine the people and ministries we seek to serve, while impressing upon our teenagers “missions” is something you do (i.e. an event) rather than an attitude or lifestyle. I am concerned because for many years as a youth pastor, I was the problem ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    More than a generation ago, Don Richardson popularized the idea that Christians who share Christ across cultures might encounter—and even ought to look for—“redemptive analogies” in those cultures. The idea was that God has pre-placed customs or stories into cultures that prepare people to respond to the gospel ...

  • Mick Boersma — 

    It was Christmas 1984. The snow was flying and the roads slippery, but Rolane and I had paid $120 for four seats to take our daughters to the ‘Nutcracker’ in Seattle and nothing was going to stop us from enjoying the show. We crammed into our old VW and made the opening curtain. What great seats they were! Front row, first balcony – the kind of view reserved for royalty! ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Praying for peace is good. Praying for justice is good. Praying for your Christian brothers and sisters who are facing torture and death is good. Praying for non-Christians who are facing torture and death is also good. But there is one crucial thing you can pray about that could change the course of history in the Middle East.

  • Joseph H. Hellerman — 

    I came to Christ as a last resort after a year-long quest to find God back in 1975. With two thriving evangelical churches just a few blocks from my doorstep, why did I explore the Christian faith last instead of first? The cool factor, of course! I was a long-haired, pot-smoking keyboard player in a rock band. Eastern and New Age religion were “spiritual” and cool — Christianity definitely was not ...

  • Mick Boersma — 

    This past spring my wife and I traveled to five states and visited nearly 50 Talbot alumni. Our journeys found us in the San Joaquin valley of California, the Flagstaff-Casa Grande corridor of Arizona, parts of Illinois and Indiana, and the Colorado Interstate 25 from Ft. Collins to Colorado Springs. And while our grads were doing all kinds of ministry in a multitude of settings, some basics about life and ministry came through loud and clear. Here are some of the most prevalent ...

  • Joy Mosbarger — 

    For many of us who are not pastors or missionaries, integrating our walks of faith and our vocational callings can be a challenge. Throughout church history, there have been some remarkable men and women who have excelled at meeting this challenge. One such example lived in the early centuries of the church. Her name was Bathild (c. 630-c.680), and she found herself in various vocational situations at different stages in her life. In each of those situations, she found opportunities to be a blessing to others and to advance the kingdom of God ...