The other day my good friend from Malaysia, Seelok Ting, sent me an article from Matthew Parris in TIMESONLINE. The title of the article is As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God: Missionaries, not aid money, are the solution to Africa’s biggest problem – the crushing passivity of the people’s mindset. Click here to view the article.
Having worked for an International Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) for 27 years, I have come to a similar conclusion. It is ironic that the article was written by a self professed Atheist. What Parris has recognized is that mindset transformation is more important than aid money in solving the problems of Africa. This is almost self evident when you look at the rich potential of Africa and her peoples, the massive amounts of aid that has poured into Africa and yet the continuing immense poverty. Matthew Parris is correct. There must be a root cause that the money is not addressing.
This is not to say that aid does not have its place. It does! And it could be argued that there may be a need for more aid. But the significant point is that aid alone has not and cannot bring a transformation in the nations of Africa. What is needed is the comprehensive Gospel of Christ and His Kingdom.
The comprehensive Gospel includes the need for personal salvation, but it does not end there! Christ has made it clear that the Great Co-Mission is to “… make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you …” (Matthew 28:19-20a). It is conformity to the laws and ordinances that God has built into the universe that leads to the development of nations. The Great Co-Mission begins with personal salvation and ends with the transformation of nations through teaching them to obey all that Christ commanded. This includes, but is not limited to, teaching a Biblical mindset (worldview), principles, and moral virtues.
When aid follows the proclamation and demonstration of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, it will find traction to contribute to national development. Until there is a conscious prioritization and connection between a mindset change and the use of aid, tragically, the trend will be to continue to create dependency and de-empowers citizens from developing their own lives, communities, and nations.
We in the DNA have written on this subject. These books that build on Parris’ thesis are Against All Hope: Hope for Africa and The Forest in the Seed: A Biblical Perspective for Resources and Development. Both are available on our website, available for free download or to purchase at our online store.
We have good friends and co-laborers in Africa who understand what Parris is writing about. These wonderful young men and women identify themselves as Samaritan Strategy Africa. They have been teaching, applying, and modeling the DNA school of thought as articulated in the books mentioned above. To see what they are doing, visit their website.
-Darrow L. Miller