20 Truths: No Longer Strangers
Written by TM of JC on May 4, 2021
Today I want to feature another installment of my ongoing 20 Truths series. This installment features Eugene Cho and Samira Izadi Page’ most recent release No Longer Strangers: Transforming Evangelism Among Immigrant Communities. In this book, curated by Cho and Izadi Page, a diverse group of contributors offer guidance for how to bring evangelism and discipleship to communities who have often been marginalized.
1. “The editors of this volume and the contributors believe wholeheartedly that evangelism is a necessary and beautiful part of our discipleship. However, while the book affirms the important commitment of evangelism, we highlight the dangers when North American Christians, in particular, underestimate how their education, race, language mastery, and other factors impact their ability to love and express the gospel (in word and deed) to refugees and immigrants coming from backgrounds that include trauma, oppression, colonialism, persecution, etc.” Eugene Cho and Samira Izadi Page (1)
2. “This book, . . . will guide churches, individuals, and christian leaders in the ways of healthy discipleship and instruct them in how to avoid evangelism that causes harm to immigrants through abuses of power dynamics and intercultural blind spots.” Eugene Cho and Samira Izadi (2)
3. “[The church] at times feels like it’s lost its footing in the chaos and craziness of our polarized, political world where it seems as if more and more Christians are in a space where their politics inform their theology rather than our biblically rooted theology informing our politics.” Eugene Cho and Samira Izadi (5)
4. “What we are seeing now is a new work of the Spirit. While the pattern of migration and refugee resettlement can be explained factually using social and political sciences, the christian must look above and beyond and seek the purposes of God amidst these facts. In light of the sovereignty of God, why are refugees and immigrants brought to our doorstops?” Eugene Cho and Samira Izadi (6)
5. “We are in the midst of the largest mass migration in human history. . . there are 70.8 million forcibly displaced people in the world. . . . What is God up to? How can I be a part of it?” Eugene Cho and Samira Izadi (8)
6. “Evangelism means sharing the good news, and people who are traumatized are in desperate need of good news that brings them healing and restoration.” Issan Smeir (36)
7. “But can a faith journey with God in the form of a personal relationship bring healing and restoration to those who have been traumatized? The answer in the literature is yes.” Issan Smeir (37)
8. “Evangelism and sharing the good news can bring healing and restoration; however, as we reach out to those who are hurting, we must be aware that their vulnerable status might make them prone to coercion and manipulation. Those who faced recent trauma are more sensitive to any influence or pressure from others. Pressuring people who are hurting to make a quick decision to follow God or luting them by making false promises is immoral, ineffective, and harmful.” Issan Smeir (37)
9. “Church was meant to be the safest place on Earth. Jesus always demonstrated his love before telling people who he was. He fed the hungry, healed the sick, and comforted those who were hurting. He cried with them. Evangelism should always be conducted with compassion.” Issan Smeir (44)
10. “The first lesson we learned about service is that proximity changes everything. We didn’t have to look across the world for the poor, the marginalized, the immigrants, and orphans. We only had to look across the street. They were right there next to us.” Laurie Beshore (48).
11. “People don’t want a handout, they want dignity.” Laurie Beshore (51).
12. “Compassion is always a safe topic; justice is challenging.” Laurie Beshore (60).
13. “Evangelism in a Western context has been seen as communicating truths. Biblical witness is about operating in a way that shows the transformative reality of Jesus.” Sandra Maria Van Opstal (81).
14. “Speaking up and telling the truth about refugees as individuals made in the image of God who deserve our dignity and respect is the first way we can remind people of our common humanity.” Jenny Yang (92).
15. “Advocacy can be carried out in three ways: (1) by the poor––empowerment; (2) with the poor––accompaniment/partnership; and (3) for the poor––representation.” Jenny Yang (96).
16. “Because God is allowing refugees to be brought to America in the twenty-first century, I believe Westerners traveling overseas for evangelism must begin in their neighborhood.” Torli H. Krua (107).
17. “Most Americans are unaware that refugees don’t come to America to live and die; many receive everlasting life and return to their homelands a business and civic leaders and as christian leaders who bring the Word of God to their own people in their native language and cultural settings.” Torli H. Krua (112).
18. “Many of us have treated the Great Commission as if it were the only thing Jesus said, and we have reduced it to a mere call for evangelism. This reductionism can lead to methodologies that prioritize isolated evangelism, often at the expense of loving our neighbors. This then becomes our metric for measuring obedience, and sometimes even maturity. We seem to forget that Jesus also said that loving our neighbor is part of the great commandment and explains all the rest of the Bible.” K.J. Hill (131).
19. “One side [of justice] is retributive, wh