It is politically incorrect to discriminate against anyone by statement or action in our contemporary world, but it happens inadvertently or perhaps intentionally in many spheres. If God expects us not to show favoritism or preference to special groups (James 2:1), it is because He does not show preferences to special groups or peoples.
The Early Church faced a crisis of focus. The early believers were all Jews, at least for the first ten years or so. They were greatly concerned to bring their fellow countrymen to Christ and rightly so. They reached out on a few occasions to share the Good News with the half-Jewish Samaritans and an Ethiopian Jewish proselyte, but there was no concern for the vast Gentile world.
In fact, it was worse than no concern; they despised them and could care less about the Gentile world. They were like Jonah. Admittedly they were great evangelists, but for many years their focus was too narrow. “Now those who were scattered after the persecution…traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only” (Acts 11:19). I
It took a special intervention of God to make Peter aware of God’s attitude toward the Gentile world. He commanded Peter to think of the Gentiles as He does (Acts 10) by going to an unconverted, yet pious, Gentile named Cornelius and his family and friends.
Jesus made it clear that Israel was not God’s only focus when He said, “And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold [Israel]; I must bring them also, and they shall hear My voice…”(John 10:16).
George Peters, in his book Theology of Missions, demonstrated that God reiterated 175 times in the OT that the intent of God was always to bless all nations equally with the amazing knowledge of God so they could walk with Him as well, but Israel refused to be as concerned as God has always been for the entire world.
If we say that God calls everyone that goes into the ministry with a heavenly calling, and He is supposed to be non-partial toward any people group, there should be a nearly equal balance of a focus between domestic and foreign ministries( US=4% of world population and rest of world is 96%). How can you explain God’s impartiality if He calls 96% to stay home?
It is easy to criticize the Jewish Christians of 2,000 years ago, but the concluding chart reveals that the Gentile Christians today continue to show a preferential treatment toward their own people, rather than seriously focusing on the different people groups of the world.
Furthermore, of the 42,000 North American missionaries today 92% are evangelizing among already nominal Christian populations (that is, “In name only”). Of the 2.2 billion global Christian population approximately 660 million are born-again
evangelicals or about 11% of the world’s population. Admittedly the rest of the 1.6 billion of the Christian world are unsaved leaving a large unevangelized “Christian” populations that are ripe for evangelism.
The total number of the “Christian” population represents only about 25% of the world’s population. This number is made up of nominal followers of Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox, Protestants, cults, and other ancient or indigenous Christian populations. Yet 92% of the overall missionary forces target the Christian world.
The remaining 8% of the missionary force currently available is split somewhat evenly among the remaining 75% of the world’s population, which is divided among the major religious groups of Buddhist, Chinese folklore, Hindu, Muslim, tribal or animist, Non-religious and other indigenous religions. These have no comparisons to Christianity.
The original question must surface when exposed to this evidence: Does God show a preferential treatment to Christendom? Is God calling 92% of His missionaries to reach the 25% Christian world population because they hold similar beliefs? If God has control of the hearts of His servants, surely there would be parity or a reasonable equality of laborers across the world scene.
It gets even worse when the overall Christian ministry in America is included because the 42,000 North American missionaries represent only 4% of the overall full-time ministry involvement. Thus 96% of those committed to a career of evangelism and ministry will remain within the continental US borders reaching primarily a Christianized population (75% say they are “Christian,” though only 36% claim to be “born again,” according to George Barna—www.barna.org).
When students today say, “I can’t go to the mission field because I’m called to the pastorate [or evangelism, youth work, children work, etc.],” they imply, almost as an excuse, that they can not consider a foreign ministry (even doing the same thing) since their “calling” only applies to US-type churches in their minds. Is it really God who is continually adding to the ranks of the 96% already serving in America?
Could it be that it is not God who has a preference for a particular nation or ministry, but rather His workers, who remain more like Peter, who wanted to preach to “the Jews only”—his own countrymen (Acts 11:19), than like Paul, who planned to “preach the gospel in the regions that lie beyond…” (2 Cor 10:16).
Can we live in harmony with a God who impartially and equally loves every people group on earth (while maybe we do not) and who deeply desires that someone go to them with His message? Shouldn’t we ask God to give us His heart for the whole lost world?