Shining Christ’s Light in the Shadow of Christendom 

Christ’s call to faithfully steward the gospel includes proclaiming it in places where Christian influence has seemingly faded.

From Message magazine issue "Post-Christian? Missions in the Shadow of Christendom"

When Martha and I recently visited one of our ABWE mission fields situated in what is often termed a “post-Christian” context, we were privileged to witness a baptismal service that left an indelible mark on our hearts.

The church we partnered with joyously baptized several new believers, each of their testimonies displaying God’s amazing, saving grace. Among these accounts, one particularly resonated deeply with us. 

Imagine the scene: a young lady, fresh from the waters of baptism, shares her testimony. She spoke of her relentless quest for spiritual fulfillment, a journey that led her through the labyrinths of psychology, New Age philosophies, paganism—even to the dark alleys of Satanism. Yet, in each avenue explored, she found only emptiness, a void that no human wisdom or mystical experience could fill. Then she encountered the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Through her testimony, we witnessed the transformation that occurs when a sinner encounters the living Christ. The joy on her face radiated the hope she felt—a hope not found in the ideologies of this world, but in the person and work of her Savior. Her beaming expression reminded Martha and me that, in a world that offers myriad paths to enlightenment, Christ alone is our wisdom, righteousness, and peace. 

As we reflected on this baptismal service and the broader landscape of post-Christian culture, we sensed that our mission has never been more crucial. Though we may find Christianity suddenly marginalized where it once held sway, Christ’s marching orders to his people have not changed. And remarkably, it’s in these very dark places where Christian influence has seemingly faded that the light of Christ can once again shine brightest. 

In this issue, we’re exploring the possibilities and opportunities for gospel proclamation in these post-Christian contexts. From bustling urban centers to remote, rural villages, these stories delve into our missionaries’ unique challenges and triumphs laboring in these rocky soils. Our prayer is that you would embrace with us the call to faithfully steward the gospel—even in places where Christ has previously been known—boldly proclaiming the unchanging message of hope and salvation in a world desperately needing Christ’s love. 

Be inspired by these stories of faith and emboldened to engage effectively in the mission of reaching the post-Christian world for Jesus Christ. He is indeed the hope of the world, and through our faithful proclamation, his light will continue to illuminate the dark. 

Paul L. Davis

Paul Davis is president of ABWE. Prior to his appointment in 2017, Paul served as senior pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Holland, MI. He attended Liberty University and Dallas Theological Seminary and holds a master’s degree from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. Paul and his wife, Martha, have been married for 28 years, and have both served in numerous roles in Christian ministry and education. They have four adult children. Follow Paul on Facebook.