December 29th, 2008 Posted in TEC |

By David Virtue, Virtueonline

It took an atheist to finally outwit and tell the truth about what development work works best in Africa. It isn’t the Millennium Development Goals, (MDGs) that are so much heralded and ballyhooed by Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

The “gospel” of The Episcopal Church these days is MDGs. It is no longer the Great Commission. MDG’s are mentioned in nearly every address given by Mrs. Jefferts Schori, whether it is to lowly and slowly dying Episcopal diocesan conventions, upbeat and hopeful parishes or to press clubs and reporters with twitchy iPods and laptops.

Now she has been exposed, not by an orthodox Episcopal/Anglican blogger (like VOL), but by one of Britain’s leading atheists, one Matthew Parris.

After a recent trip through Africa, Parris wrote the unthinkable in an article in the “London Times”. He said that missionaries, not aid money, are what Africa needs. “Now a confirmed atheist, I’ve become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa, Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.”


“I used to avoid this truth by applauding – as you can – the practical work of mission churches in Africa. It’s a pity, I would say, that salvation is part of the package, but Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write; and only the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better without it. I would allow that if faith was needed to motivate missionaries to help, then, fine: but what counted was the help, not the faith. But this doesn’t fit the facts. Faith does more than support the missionary; it is also transferred to his flock. This is the effect that matters so immensely, and which I cannot help observing.”

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