The Mystery of the Barbarian Invasions
One of the mysteries of history is why, after the Roman Empire accepted Christianity, God allowed the pagan Germanic people to overrun Christian Western Europe two hundred years later.
The Roman Empire was, of course, not fully Christianized and was suffering from demographic decline and corruption. The Empire was also weakened militarily and had shifted to defensive posture. But the real problem was the Church, which had also adopted defensive posture and was no longer focused on taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
With the Church unable and unwilling to move beyond it’s borders, God had to do something. So he allowed the barbarians to invade the Empire’s borders to bring them into contact with the Church. Amazingly, the pagan Germanic people came to accept Christianity and became the foundation of Christian Europe. Thus, the defeat of the Roman Empire actually led to the expansion of the Kingdom of God.
In America we have (so far) been spared from barbarian invasion. God is continuing to bring people who may be otherwise unreachable into contact with the Church through immigration and student visas. For example, a Pakistani Muslim who has been prevented from hearing the Gospel in his own country can be given the good news about Jesus while working or studying in the United States. Those who accept Christ can carry the Gospel back to their countrymen, expanding the Kingdom of God more efficiently than Americans could.
Recently we were presented and excellent tool to present the Gospel by a U.S. ministry,
Christ for All People. They have made Jesus film DVD’s available in many immigrant languages, allowing our immigrant friends to learn about Jesus in their “heart” language. Check out their website at www.christforallpeoples.org
For our part we must remember Peter’s admonition to explain our faith with gentleness and respect. (I Peter 3:15) Christ For All Peoples suggests packaging the Jesus film with other goodies as a Christmas present.
What better time than Christmas to help an immigrant family learn why “Jesus is reason for the season.”