John Piper here comments on the recent study about the impact of missions on the health of nations. Here’s his point:
The implication is that the way to achieve the greatest social and cultural transformation is not to focus on social and cultural transformation, but on the “conversion” of individuals from false religions to faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life. Or to put it another way, missionaries (and pastors and churches) will lose their culturally transforming power if they make cultural transformation their energizing focus.
There are elements in this I appreciate, but I am afraid it may tend back to the old model of not really worrying about systemic issues. In a sense, it reduces God’s purposes in the world to evangelism, but it’s much more than that.It’s more helpful to think in terms of the mission of God; both/and rather than prioritizing one or the other.