Learning from the Past

Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Romans 10:16-21

But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have. (v. 18)

I received an email this week from a coworker. She shared with the company the burden of her daughter, an exchange student in Australia. Apparently only a tiny percent of Australians are Bible-believing Christians, and her daughter wanted prayers for that country.

How can that be? Australia is part of the British Commonwealth, which has a strong Christian tradition. Yet Great Britain itself, along with much of Europe, is not much better. How could the countries that spawned the Reformation have become so secular?

But this is not a new phenomenon. Old Testament Israel had Moses and the prophets, who spoke and wrote God’s Word. Yet who believed them? asks Paul (quoting Isaiah 53:1). The Israelites far too often were “a disobedient and contrary people,” running after false gods. And that has carried over to Paul’s own age in the Jews’ rejection of Christ.

What was God’s reaction? Through the apostle he was turning to the Gentiles, and Paul’s greatest missionary success was among them. Are we seeing a repeat of that today, when the greatest success of gospel outreach today is in Latin America, Africa, and Asia? Thank God for that, but also pray for the secularized descendants of those Europeans who once believed the gospel.


Lord Jesus, I pray for the outreach of the gospel of salvation to all people. Amen.