Week 5: Christianity and Japan May 4-10

Week 5 Christianity and Japan

Reading:

  • Chapter Eight: A Brief History of Christianity in Japan
  • Chapter Nine: Christianity in Contemporary Japan
  • Chapter Ten: Japanese Theology

Listening:

Writing: Weekly Paper: “Impressions and Points from Your Reading”

  • Reflective Writing
  • Read as many of the other students’ writings as you have time and comment on at least two of them.

Pray:

  • Pray daily for Japan and Japanese, using Operation Japan. Make a note in your blog concerning the information and/or your prayer.

Extra Suggestions:

Discussion

  • 3

    week 5 - Brandalyn

    Brandalyn
    Reply

    Oops – I’d gotten a week ahead of myself. I had accidentally posted this is last week’s

    My heart has been broken over the last year or so as I have learned the history of Christianity in Japan! The great dis-service done to the name of God by early missionaries and colonial powers who, in times of distress, implied or outright stated that the missionaries had been planted within the Japanese nation to be able to take over and create an uprising from within! Talk about a way to set a nation against your God (clearly this kind of act shows humans and human desires being more prominent than surrender to the gospel of the Lord!). I got particularly captured with the concept of indigenous Christianity last year while living with kanako and her family for 2.5 months and wanting to talk to her extended family about their beliefs and about the God of the Bible. I learned very quickly that you can’t just start with a salvation tract, because, given the different worldviews, we are not starting on the same footing. I am not coming from a polytheistic worldview where it isn’t obvious that God is the #1 ultimate creator God, I am not coming from a shame-based society where the concepts of sin and guilt are perceived differently than in Canada. As discouraging as this was in the short-term to keep me from having more immediate, effective communication, it launched me into this mission for learning and identifying how to set the right foundations to introduce the creator God of heaven, ruler over all. I get very excited, because I can see so many elements of Japanese culture, religion and society that seem to be “paving the way” to make the concepts of Christ and his redemption on the cross understandable for Japanese. I feel so strongly that the Japanese need a Japanese Christ and not a north american one. The concepts of the gospel and Christ need to be presented and understood in the context of their personal and cultural needs and desires – Christ needs to be the answer to the hole in our hearts – not convincing people that they have different needs and different holes. I have had great conversations about this with kanako over the months and it is exciting. Every culture seems to recognize their need to be better, to be purified in some way, but they all have a different way of trying to achieve that. I think that a Japanese gospel addresses so many great needs – and it makes me laugh that missionaries bring western Christianity to nations, because we, ourselves, got our Christianity from the Jewish nation in Israel! Our bibles aren’t originally English! They’re originally Hebrew and Greek! I guess that is another reason that I get very excited about the historical links that seem to be there between the Japanese and the Jews – because the connection has nothing to do with north america – nor should it!

    • Brandalyn

      So many of Gordon’a principles, I believe, apply to evangelism here in Canada – and especially youth ministry. I sat under the teaching of a key teacher of youth workers in Canada this new year – Sid Koop- and he was telling us that some of the main reasons that youth don’t retain their belief in God and engagement with church as they transition from childhood into adulthood is because:
      a) they lack adults in their life who are demonstrating an authentic, relevant Christian walk that entices them to want that reality for themselves
      b) there is not good mentoring/support when they graduate from high school and move to new towns and communities for University. They have MUCH MUCH higher success when the youth pastor of their current church connects with the church in their new town or the Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship and creates a mentoring-hand-off to the new church. Doing this greatly increases the chances that the youth will engage with the new church and youth/young adults group. This all makes perfect sense to me and I can see it being all the more important in Japan where there is a cultural difference and they don’t have friends and family already in the church. Being able to forge relationships from afar and get them as engaged as possible with believers in their home town who will connect with them and invite them and check in with them would be a huge benefit to getting them to actually stay engaged with church and Christianity when they get home.

    • Brandalyn

      Something from Naoko’s message really struck me – or stuck in my mind: The need to show/demonstrate grace to the Japanese. Somehow I came across this video in the last few months and it has REALLY made an impression on my heart because I think it speaks a very important truth – the Japanese are a society where there are few (if no) second chances. What if they were introduced to a God of grace and second chances. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6sQzk414Ns And so Naoko’s message about first demonstrating grace to them I think has power and merit. The Japanese need to see that the Lord is the solution to the longing of their hearts – the answer to their needs – the place of grace, forgiveness, second chances, the home to the prodigal, the place where they are “good enough” to come as they are and allow him to clean them up. Many in the west need this too of course!

    • Naoko Brown

      Brandalyn, I imagine you are doing so much great work in Kanako’s heart as well as her kids’ and husband’s hearts. As Lily said last week, we need a lot of patience and prayers to see the fruits, but be encouraged. I know you mean a lot to them and their world view has been expanding because of your love. I am looking forward to hearing about their salvation story in the future!!

  • 0

    PRAYER FOR FAMILY MINISTRIES

    Shibu AV
    Reply

    PRAYER FOR FAMILY MINISTRIES, MAY 5
    Bible Club Association for Junior High Students (Chugaku Seisho Kurabu Kyoryokukai), sponsored by Scripture Union, teaches the truths of the Bible to junior high school students, leads them to faith, and encourages them to read the Bible daily. One important ministry they have is sponsoring junior and high school camps. These are normally held during the summer and spring breaks.

    Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so much for this ministry, I pray that you would use this ministry to reach the young people for the your kingdom, bless everyone that are working with this ministry, pray for protection over them, provision for every activity, many fruits from this ministry may come in the days to come, your name will be lifted among the younger generation, thank you Lord for hearing my prayer, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • 0

    PRAYER FOR PROTESTANT MINISTRIES

    Shibu AV
    Reply

    PRAYER FOR PROTESTANT MINISTRIES, MAY 8
    Japan Evangelical Association (JEA)
    is a community of evangelical churches in Japan, representing 56 church organizations and 41 para-church organizations in Japan. As of 2018 there were 1,679 local churches and 295 evangelistic stations represented. It was founded in the year 1968.

    Pray that the Lord will bless the various cooperative meetings, like evangelism congresses, forums, youth rallies, etc.

    Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so much for all the dear brothers and sister who are working in various places of Japan, involving in the church planting efforts, Lord I pray that you would bless this endeavor, and reward them, it may grow and extend your kingdom around Japan and many would turn to Christ through all the activities that they are undertaking, Lord they may see many fruits, many more churches would be planted, Lord also I pray that you would send more workers into Japan to share the gospel, Lord also I pray that you would protect the Christian workers from Covid-19, and also God provide all their needs, thank you so much for the leadership and all the wonderful things that are going in in this country, thank you Lord for your favor and all the good things, I bless your name, in Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

  • 2

    Alma Bermejo - Chapters 8, 9 & 10

    almabermejo
    Reply

    Reflecting writing

    I am thankful that Catholicism didn’t succeed in Japan. As a Mexican, I know the damage that that religion has caused to my country and Latin America.

    Catholicism tends to mix with the culture and religion of the country that wants to “evangelize” and uses local idols or beliefs to make people accept it. The names of idols or gods change to those that Catholicism reveres but remains the same that people previously worshiped.

    It is a mixture of a little truth with many lies as it uses only certain portions of the Bible mixed with teachings from its representatives and popular culture. She is also a polytheist because she accepts and promotes the veneration of saints, especially Mary, since, according to her teachings, she is the mother of God. Mary is also co-redemptive with Jesus and whom the believer can look for in times of need since God the Father is angry with us.

    The event to which the book relates to Catholics who lived in hiding for 250 years during the Meiji period and the fact that they began to develop their religious practices demonstrates the fact that Catholicism does not use scripture to instruct people. about God but his catechism.

    I very much regret the death of all those who were persecuted during the Tokugawa period. I am sure that many were sincere in heart and followed the teachings of Francisco Xavier thinking that they were correct. I still think the missionary may have been. I acknowledge that Catholicism has greatly helped the development of education in many countries and this has been beneficial.

    I had previously heard the fact that the apostle Thomas evangelized India it is known and much commented on among the believers in that country. It would not seem strange to me that its influence has reached other regions of Asia such as China and Japan because the Word of God is that powerful and there have always been disciples of the Lord willing to fulfill the Great Commission

    I have had several experiences while sharing about Jesus with local Japanese. I lived with a Japanese lady in her home for 5 months, I do believe she liked me, and the main reason she allowed me to rent a room in her home was that she wanted to practice her English with me. We did all kinds of things together like visiting museums, flower expositions, etc. She joined Bible study I gave to her and her friends and even came to listen to me in some of my training sessions in churches. She once was deeply touched by the Holy Spirit while I was preaching, but still, she doesn’t want anything with Jesus, absolutely anything. I have had other similar experiences, and it feels like they know how far to go with you and when to pull back. As long as it is safe and it does not require a commitment.

    The book mentions the following while referring to the Reformed Church in Japan: “… it must instill the gospel in its young members whose leadership can form the foundation of Japan’s reformed faith”. I do agree with that statement, that’s why my ministry in Japan is among Bible school students, children, and youth. This country needs believers that are willing to take risks for God, to pay the price, and to stop compromising. I do disciple children and youth, I am not teaching Bible stories or fast-paced meeting to engage them, I do Bible studies and to my surprise, they are willing to sit down and learn! The old generation of leaders in the church will die sooner or later, the young ones need to be prepared.

    Every culture has its obstacles or beliefs that are opposite to the teachings of the Bible. In my opinion, the only way to overcome this and help them to get strong and rooted is discipleship. Leaders in Japan must find ways to disciple believers and not only have meetings on Sundays or answer their intellectual questions about God. It is by faith and with the help of the Holy Spirit.

    • Emily Frey

      I love thinking about the next generation and how the time will be ripe to share the Gospel and watch it take root. As the wartime era passes and the next generation has great interest in global issues, there is a wide window of opportunity for them to know and share the love of Christ. May an indigenized Gospel look like that of what Takeda Kiyedo envisioned, “a grafting approach in which Christianity confronts indigenous Japanese culture by burying itself in and becoming fused with Japanese soil while at the same time maintaining a posture of confrontation as suggested by the parable of the grain of wheat.”

    • Naoko Brown

      Alma,
      You said, “it feels like they know how far to go with you and when to pull back. As long as it is safe and it does not require a commitment.” I totally agree that many are like that. There are many stories like yours. Recent one I can share is about a Japanese friend of mine who went to a church Christmas service with an American couple, who are also my friends. Toward the end of the service, the pastor explained about the meaning of communion, and the American couple told him not to come to the communion UNLESS he wants to follow Jesus. Then the Japanese guy stood up and took the communion, so the American couple were soooo excited!! They celebrated his salvation and planned a bible study together. But after that, whenever they contacted him, he said “I am so busy.” Finally they contacted me and I talked to him. He said, “I took the communion to show respect and appreciation. But you know I am a Japanese! I am a Buddhist and no intention to commit to Christianity.” I hated to break the news to the American couple. Both of them meant well, but he did not understand the significance of communion. For him, it was like we go to Shrine and bow down. After that, their relationship became a bit awkward, but the American couple continued to show their Christ like love, so I believe they are still friends. And who knows. Maybe he will indeed come to Christ one day.

  • 1

    Emily's Notes on Christianity in Japan

    Emily Frey
    Reply

    Chapter 9’s brief discussion of contemporary Christianity is key to our understanding of how to reach Japan’s next generation. The trends discussed have been visible among the young Japanese students I have encountered visiting the US. Yet, these students are a unique percentage of Japan’s future young people–open to engaging and embracing many facets of Western culture. I have seen opportunity to share the Gospel by exposing students to custom-rich American events like weddings and holidays, utilizing high tech developments like the Bible App by YouVersion, visiting international churches, and enjoying more charismatic worship settings, especially those with Black Gospel music.

    Kaneda shared several useful things to remember when sharing with Japanese that emphasize their distance from understanding the Gospel in American-contextualized ways:
    Ignorance—never heard this story
    Unfamiliarity—with Christian church in Japan
    Language—no words for Christian concepts
    Contextualization—avoid uncomfortable experiences, give some expectations
    Church Experience—make it positive and fun, not organs and rituals
    Have Discussions—to debrief the experience and contextualize the Gospel
    He made any interesting note that in Acts at Pentecost, God FIRST allowed for tongues and language to be understood before signs and wonders. This should be a key point for us in remembering on how high a value God puts on hearing and Gospel proclamation with understanding. Kaneda’s tips on the timing of evangelizing 10 month groups of Japanese students visiting the US in our homes and churches. This included taking time to prepare them to return, providing church connections back in Japan, being patient but also pushing forward with a sense of urgency to “make disciples” (and not church goers). He admitted to sometimes feeling like he ran out of time waiting until the last minute to share the Gospel before students left. His practice had been to build trust in relationships first and then wait to share the Gospel but that was not always best or obedient.

    . By far, the most interesting and polarizing topic was that of Uchimura Kanzo and his Mukyokai non-Church movement. Second, Takeda Kiyedo’s descriptions of Christian indigenization and a grafting approach based on the parable of the grain of wheat connects perfectly with some recent Church Planting movements with No Place Left and the “4 Fields” diagram (4 Fields Manual).

    “Japanese Christians have often desired a theology that is simultaneously intellectual and inspirational,” claimed Lee in chapter 11, Japanese Theology. This seems so contradictory to previous statements about Japanese receptivity to the Gospel being very much anti-theological. Therefore, I think it is important to point out that there are Japanese men and women searching for answers that their culture and ways of thinking do not provide. There are some drawn to strong absolutes, assurance, and hope of eternal life with Christ, while there may be others that are not.

    It’s kind of weird to read about so many Japanese theologies when most of my life I have been inundated with the message that Japan was unreached and unengaged. Yet, there is a short history of Christian thought that has emerged since the latter 1800s. None of these theologies have taken root in ways that overturned current religious beliefs and practices in dramatic ways. But if there is one thing I know about the Japanese, they do not change fast but rather slowly over time, if willing. There are many obstacles to them receiving a message of hope and love from an American because of war and cultural differences. However, I have great hope in this next generation as it moves away from traditional everything, and especially any religious loyalty and practice. I think Christianity can be reframed as a lifestyle change that gives hope, purpose, eternal benefit, and provides a practical spiritual relationship with power over everyday kami, fate, and fortune, and wherein one has a place to turn when chaos consumes.

    • Naoko Brown

      Emily,
      I appreciate all of your comment. I agree that this next generation of Japanese would be more open to the Gospel. However, they are also open to other things, so we would like to take any opportunity to show His love to them and show how faithful and trustworthy Jesus is compare to other gods or idols.

  • 2

    Reading Report on Christianity and Japan:

    Shibu AV
    Reply

    A Brief History of Christianity in Japan:

    It is very exciting to read how Christianity came to Japan, and it is a big surprise to know that even before 16th century Christianity was introduced to Japan, but it did not thrive in the Japanese soil.
    The conversation between Francis Xavier and Anjiro was interesting to notice. When Xavier asked Anjiro if Japanese welcome Christianity, he responded, the Japanese will observe first, watch how you live and do things, if it matches with what the Christians are preaching, then they will accept Christianity! It is true, Paul says we are the letters that read by everyone, “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone” 2Cor. 3:2. Christians are watched everywhere, and they are under check, so we have to lead an exemplary life in order to win the non-Christians. It is very noticeable how many people turned to Christianity including many Landlords called daimyos during the 16th century by Xavier’s led missionary work in Japan between 1949 and 1595.
    It is very sad to see the disunity among the Christian communities and foreigners using Christian presence for the various trades, and persecutions from the various political and social sectors have been the real causes for Christianity not growing in many of the Asian nations.
    It is quite shocking to see that for 250 years a group of Christians was isolated from the other Christians in Japan!
    The intensity of the persecution towards the Christians since the first century has been a tool of the devil in order to stop the growth of the church, but the church grew stronger than ever in the midst of the persecutions. I feel sorry for the people who had to deny their faith due to the severe persecutions but praise God for the people who gave their lives for their faith and praise God for those 26 beloved people who were crucified on the constructed crosses in Nagasaki during the Tokugawa period, and I believe their reward is greater in heaven Matthew 5:11-12.
    I believe it is the result of the severe persecution during the Tokugawa period that the great revival took place during the Meiji period. The coming of the protestant church made a big impact in many countries around the world, I see this in Japan too, people standing on their knees and weeping in the presence of the Lord, and it is quite clear that the Holy Spirit moved in a different way during the Protestant movement in the various nations around the world.
    It is quite shocking to see that during both Tokugawa and Meiji period, many people turned to Christ from different classes, even many leaders from various communities like daimyo and samurai, and the great revival that took place in the Meiji period, and many Christian missionaries traveled to Japan, and Christians established many Christian based institutions and mission agencies in Japan, in spite of all these the church did not thrive and spread Christianity across the Japanese soil, that shows how strong are the stronghold and spiritual battle in Japan!
    Christianity in Contemporary Japan:
    I noticed many of the things that stop the Japanese to embrace Christianity are the same things that stop the Hindus in India to accept Christianity. I think it is quite prevalent in many countries especially wherever people have an established religion of their own people and communities, people are afraid to leave their family religion and practices due to the fear of rejection from the families and societies.
    The Hindus believe Christianity is a white religion, it is a foreign religion, it is an imported faith, they say since they have their own faith and practices, they are not willing to accept something of a foreign origin.
    Quite shocking to see the statistics of Christianity in Japan, the country needs a huge revival, they need creative strategies to encourage young people to turn to Christ and attend the church. It is also quite shocking to see the growth of the Islamic community in Japan, though they move to different countries for work and business purposes, they are growing rapidly everywhere!
    The bad examples of the Christian communities in the past centuries caused many problems in many nations, they gave a wrong picture of Christianity to the pagan nations, instead of showing a loving Heavenly Father, and the Lord Jesus who sacrificed Himself for the whole world, they used the Christian views and influence to build their empress in various countries, people became bitter towards to Christians in general as time passed by, India is a prime example too!
    I am also concerned about the lack of young leadership in the Japanese churches, which can cause huge problems in the future, I pray that God would rise up many young pastors and leaders to get involved in the ministry and help the churches grow.
    It is very helpful to know the barriers in regards to evangelism, many things are similar to India, many gods and goddesses, the exclusive claim that Jesus is the only way to God, I think one of the greatest challenges we face today is the job-based lifestyle of the people everywhere, which makes them busier and tired and Sunday the day they would like to relax and rest with their families and friends.
    Japanese Theology:
    One of the problems we see in the past with the Christian missionaries and their activities in many countries that they were willing to give education, food, and medical aids and established transport and communication facilities but they did not give the complete gospel to the people, they were busy in giving material things, and they missed the opportunity to proclaim the truth of the gospel!
    I think we have to be very sensitive when we share about heaven and hell to any peoples’ group, we know Bible has a great deal of teaching on both of these topics, but we have to ask God how to explain this truth to the people groups like Japanese and others who have similar religious backgrounds. It is quite interesting to read the response of the lady that says “it is god to be with her ancestors in hell than going to paradise!” That tells me how deeply it is rooted in Japanese soil the idea of ancestral worship! So we have to be very sensitive in terms of presenting the gospel.
    One of the things we have to remember is that we should not promote any sort of false teachings like Kozaki Hiromichi, Ebina Danjo, Uchimura Kanzo, and others did in order to connect with the pagans, no matter how difficult is the work of evangelism, even if it takes many years to bring one person to Christ, still we have to hold onto the Truth of the Word of God, I was reading the life of Adoniram Judson, who was a missionary to Burma/Myanmar a Buddhist nation, he waited six years to see the first convert!
    It is also quite encouraging to see the people that God used to create some balanced theology on the Japanese soil, but the saddest part is the differences between many theologians and theological institutions created disunity and split among the Christians! I think this is almost everywhere we see it, this is also one of the main reasons many non-Christians do not want to accept Christian faith. Indigenous theology though took a lead in the Japanese soil, one of the things I noticed was the Non-Church movement by Uchimura, I think this kind of movement also might have caused the problem to the growth of the churches in Japan.
    We have to believe the promise of Jesus, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it’ Mt. 16:18. Jesus has promised that He will build the church, we have to pray and trust Him and it seems to be impossible for us but it is possible with God. Let’s pray for the church in Japan, God may rise up many young people and families and many workers to carry on the work and expand His kingdom in Japan, His coming is closer!

    • Naoko Brown

      Shibu,
      I really enjoyed your comment because your background gives a different kind of understanding and passion for the unsaved Japanese people. I am sure Japanese people are very curious to know about your country, your religion and your faith in Jesus. Looking forward to see how the Lord use you and your wife among Japanese for His Kingdom!

    • Shibu AV

      Thank you, it is encouraging to hear from you. We pray and trust the Lord that one day we get to Japan and see what the Lord has for us there, I enjoyed my little time that I had in Japan during the ship Doulos visit, since then it was a prayer request to get back, hope in God’s time we will be there, we really appreciate your prayers.

  • 2

    PRAYER FOR JAPANESE CHURCHES ABROAD

    Shibu AV
    Reply

    PRAYER FOR JAPANESE CHURCHES ABROAD, MAY 10
    There are at least 372 Japanese churches outside Japan. Pray that the Holy Spirit will strengthen each pastor and leader as they minister to the permanent residents and seek to reach out to those who are temporarily living in the area.

    Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so much for all the Japanese churches that are outside of Japan, Lord you may multiply them, increase them in number, you may use these churches to reach out others who are outside of the chruch, not having any relationship with the Lord, protect these churches from false doctrines, bless the Pastors and families, continually provided their needs, your name be glorified through their ministry, we pray many people will go out of these churches as missionaries to Japan, to share the gospel to the Japanese people and help the churches that are looking for people to help them in the ministry thank you Lord for allowing me to pray for these churches, God you may bless all these important work, in Jesus’ Name I prayer, Amen.

    • Emily Frey

      Thank you Jesus for the small Japanese population here in OKC and the faithfulness heart of Stanley O’Shiro to love and serve them. Be with his family during this time. Give them strength and provide for those who love you. We pray for healing for Stanley in the wake of his strokes. We pray you give direction and leadership to the group as they continue to meet and worship you. Help them have a heart for our students and find ways to share about you. Thank you for our partnership in the Gospel.

    • Shibu AV

      Amen!

  • 0

    Alma Bermejo - Audios and prayer

    almabermejo
    Reply

    Audios and Prayer

    I heard the two audios suggested for the week about cultural barriers. I learn better when I listen, so they very helpful, thanks.

    I have heard about similar barriers in other cultures even with a Catholic background. I want to be aware of the specific needs of the Japanese culture since I am serving in this nation but I also don’t want to be obsessed with so many details. The Gospel foolishness to the unsaved, salvation is by faith. It is the Holy Spirit who brings conviction and we need to rely on Him.

    There is nothing wrong with loving people and being patient, that is what Jesus did. But telling the truth in love as well.

    Japanese do pay a high price when they become Christians, that is true. But people from other countries do too, like Chinese.

    I think that there is a time to be friendly and there is a time, to tell the truth in love as well. Sometimes we won’t have the time to develop a relationship with the person. That is why to depend on the leading of the Holy Spirit is crucial to share the Gospel.

    I was glad to read in Operation Japan about Child Evangelism Fellowship! I took some training with them about 21 yrs ago in Mexico. I couldn’t pray following the guide every day but I did pray for all the topics covered during the week.

  • 1

    Lily - Week 5: Christianity and Japan

    Amarilys Vega
    Reply

    Interesting to know the view of Christianity from the Japanese perspective. And I think, no just Japanese, many of the Asian countries see Christianity as a foreign religion or Western religion.

    Many countries had resentment against Christianity for the memories during the time of colonialism. For some time, Latinamerica also felt that Christians forced them to accept their faith, and they suffered so much at hands of those who called themselves “Christians”. Of course, they don’t know the differences between Catholicism and Protestants, for them any person that comes from Europe or America, are Christians.
    I was watching a video, and a Japanese person said, “Japanese see the community, not just the individual”, I guess, that is one of the reason that they associate all the Western as Christians and will take a long time to see a person differently than what they think or to know-how is a believer.

    Another problem has been the ineffective evangelism. Many people don’t know how Japanese society works, this is very important to know the background of the people and history, what they believe. Some of my Japanese friends (some of them now believers) and even people from other countries have mentioned to me, that, when missionaries come to their places, the first thing they do, it is to criticize their culture, their food, their religion and it creates a negative attitude towards Christian people. Another thing, they mentioned is, they feel some missionaries act superior to them.
    In another post, I shared a video where some Japanese Christians said, that they know some people that go as a missionary to Japan without having discipleship themselves.

    Some times we would like to have fast results, but in some countries, it takes a little longer than others. And there is not a specific formula that will work with everyone, we need to know the person first, God works differently with each person. But as I mentioned in another post, prayer, meditation in God’s Word will be reflected in our testimony, and our testimony speaks more than words.

    In the book, the author mentioned that there are some churches where Asian and African pastors have been planting churches in Japan. I think both Asian and African people, understand a little bit of Japanese culture, they have similar religions and have some knowledge about spirits and ancestor worship. This help them to approach the Japanese in a way they can understand. It is just my opinion, of course, I have been in Japan for a short time, but I see India with many similar scenarios.

    Some Barriers:

    1. They have difficulty accepting Jesus as the only deity, they may consider Jesus as one of the gods, but not God.
    2. Right and wrong/good and evil makes it difficult to believe there is one God.
    3. They claim that Western wanted the Emperor to deny his deity as part of democratization process. The Japanese believe the Emperor to be “descendent of Amaterasu Omikami”.
    4. The Japanese find difficult to go to church due to their long working hours.

    Early Cultural Theological Tensions

    1. The Christians trying to explain hell to the Japanese, but some of them said, if their ancestors didn’t have the opportunity to be saved from hell, they would rather spend all eternity in hell.
    2. They believe that the Bible may be inspired by God, but this doesn’t mean that is literally infallible.
    3. There is a lack of a bridge between Christians and Japanese religions.

    Japan seems a difficult missionary field, but for the Lord, nothing is impossible, when He opens the doors, He will give us the wisdom and creativity to reach out those ones that are seeking Him.
    Patience, love, and the main thing, our good relationship with the Lord. This will lead us to wait for God’s timing, to love as God will love them, and to show them through our testimony what the Lord can do in a person.

    • Naoko Brown

      Lily,
      I used to go to a Messianic Jewish congregation for a while and enjoyed the service. There I learned a lot about historical and cultural frictions between Jewish people and Christians. They were using a Christian church building for their worship, but they covered the cross with a banner , because the Cross remind them of the negative effect of the Crusade. Although they love Jesus so much, they don’t call themselves “Christians”, but they are called “Messianic Jewish people”. Their understanding of the Word and love for Jesus are different and deep.

      I wanted to share with you another example of prejudice and difficulties among different cultures. Anyway I enjoy your comments and view point!!