The One Versus Millions

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Through the Global Theological Initiative at Southeastern Seminary, we have the privilege of engaging in educational, leadership development partnership cohorts on five continents. We are literally training trainers for the international church all around the world and North America. God continues to raise up faithful church leaders. We have and can continue to learn much from one another.

Because of our partnerships, I travel around the globe. Not too long ago I was in India meeting with a potential partner. While there, I also observed a huge Hindu festival in the city in which I was staying celebrating one of their millions of gods. The festival featured beautiful flowers and brightly colored lights. The city was brilliant with color each night. The irony hit me — thousands of people, or even more, celebrating darkness with light.

I found myself in a conversation at one point with a man who had been Hindu his entire life. We spoke of the Gospel and of Christ. He was very interested in the discussion but was not ready for any further steps at that point. He told me how superior Hinduism is to Christianity because they have my God “outnumbered millions to one”.

“The irony hit me — thousands of people, or even more, celebrating darkness with light.”

In contrast, I also had the great privilege of observing a village church dedicate their new building. This village is composed of an unreached gypsy people group. As we drove through the simple homes toward the celebration, I saw idol after idol. Each home had a small wall around it with a gate. “Guarding” the gate on each side were small tiles with images of Hindu gods. They had the Christians outnumbered “millions to one.” Darkness.

Then I could hear the sweet singing of children, praising Jesus as we arrived at the building. Church members surrounded us with a joy and excitement that words cannot describe. It is always amazing to me how language barriers slip quickly away when two people know the Holy Spirit. These new friends escorted us in and the building was dedicated with prayer and worship. The singing and service continued long after we left. That building will be more than a meeting place —  it will be a center of ministry and Great Commission fulfillment. Light.

I look forward to one day, standing in a throne room with people from “every tribe and every nation” celebrating the one true God. I hope to see other members of that village, a village where light overcame the darkness. A place where the One far outnumbers the millions.

“I pray we will have a desperate love for the church like I witnessed there, a love driven from the One out to the millions.”

As we continue equipping leaders and preparing students to serve the local church and fulfill the Great Commission, I pray we will have the faith, the endurance, the joy and the sense of dependency those gypsy believers displayed. I pray we will continue to have the passion to train other leaders like my new friends have. I pray we will have a desperate love for the church like I witnessed there, a love driven from the One out to the millions.

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Did you know that proceeds from the Annual Southeastern 5K go toward supporting the Global Theological Education? Well, now you know! GTI seeks to use the resources at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary to do just this. As you consider ways you’d like to make a difference this upcoming year, will you consider running in our race so others can be equipped to say #iamgoing?

The race is February 29th, 2020 right here in the beautiful town of Wake Forest. Learn more and register here.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on September 6, 2016 and has been edited for clarity.


Dr. John Ewart is the Associate Vice President for Global Theological Initiatives at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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