Feeding birds

Around Abidjan Center

A view of the area around the building where we work in Abidjan

A man living around the place where we work in Abidjan feeds the birds morning and evening. When one of our office staff asked him why, he said that it brings him good luck and increased income. In fact, he spends 2,000 CFA francs per day feeding the birds, which is about $3.50, or about $105 per month. Many Africans believe in mystic or magic causality. In this way of thinking, the causes of good and bad things in our life is solely related to what happens in the spirit realm. It is not dissimilar to ideas like karma.

These beliefs would be quaint, but they keep people from what really creates wealth as recommended in the Bible. The book of Proverbs teaches hard work, honesty, being wise in relationships, getting good advice, being generous and trusting in God.

Unfortunately, many churches in Africa are getting caught up in the Prosperity Gospel. Some forms of the Prosperity Gospel teach purely mystic causes of prosperity. In this teaching financial stability or success comes from tithing, blind faith, and direct divine intervention, but not from hard work or the other teachings of the book of Proverbs. In some cases prosperity teaching effectively erases the teachings of the book of Proverbs. It’s another reason to translate that book into more African languages.

I have a small collection of humor about the mystic prosperity gospel as one finds it on Facebook. Here’s one.

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Transcendent language

At Vatican II, the Catholic Church decided to start saying mass in local languages. Until then it had always been said in Latin. I was only 13 when Vatican II concluded, but a Burkina Faso friend of mine said that many of the more educated Catholic lay people in that country were unhappy with the change. They felt that hearing in everyday language removed the mystery, the transcendence, indeed the religiousness of the experience.

A woman leads a worship song in a local language during a gathering of believers from northern Ghana in a city in the south

A woman leads a worship song in a local language during a gathering of believers from northern Ghana in a city in the south

This feeling about language is widespread. Indeed, proponents of the King James Version cite the grandeur of its words. Many want their religious experiences to be infused with the feeling of transcendence so they like cathedrals, liturgy, clergy in special clothing, and stained glass windows. They may also want the Bible read from a translation that also seems transcendent. I identify. I love the poetic passages from the Psalms and from Isaiah. They send my spirit soaring. When they are sung in English that is out of date, as in The Messiah, they become all the more spiritual to me. Africans have more exuberant ways of experiencing transcendence.

Official_Languages_-_Africa_HL colorsI occasionally meet Africans who object to translating the Bible into their languages because they want to keep the mystery and the religious experience of reading and hearing in the official language (French, English or Portuguese depending on the country.) To them, the Bible in their language just seems way too simple and down-to-earth to be truly religious.

But what are we to make of this common human yearning for special religious language? After all, not all human religious yearnings are endorsed by the Bible. Is this yearning good or bad?

My favorite statement on this issue comes from C.S. Lewis. Writing about the objection to modern translations that their language is too “everyday”, he wrote:

A sacred truth seemed to them to have lost its sanctity when it was stripped of the polysyllabic Latin, long heard at Mass and at Hours, and put into ‘language such as men do use’—language steeped in all the commonplace associations of the nursery, the inn, the stable, and the street. The answer then was the same as the answer now. The only kind of sanctity which Scripture can lose (or, at least, New Testament scripture) by being modernized is an accidental kind which it never had for its writers or its earliest readers. The New Testament in the original Greek is not a work of literary art: it is not written in a solemn, ecclesiastical language, it is written in the sort of Greek which was spoken over the eastern Mediterranean after Greek had become an international language and therefore lost its real beauty and subtlety.

If God himself thought that it was okay to have the Apostles leave classical Greek aside and write the New Testament in the common language of the day, why would we think that we need something else? God’s big concerns appear focused on something other than provoking blissful awe through the use of religious-sounding language.

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. (James 1:27)

I still listen to The Messiah and it still transports me, but I don’t expect that it will do the same for everyone else, or consider them less if it does not. I certainly do not expect that such transports fulfill my obligation to practice true religion nor that they replace listening to God in the everyday words of my heart language.

Not my religion

MosqueA number of years ago, I helped at a workshop for translators working in a country where the dominant religion is not Christianity. One of the national translators told of becoming a Christian. He had believed all his life that to be patriotic he had to follow his country’s dominant religion. Everyone from his country followed that religion. So religion and national identity were fused. It took him a long time to realize that he could still be a faithful citizen of his country and become a Christian.

In 2012, I attended a conference on evangelism in Ghana. One of the speakers, told a story about William Ofori Atta, one of the founders of modern Ghana. He had traveled to a town in northern Ghana to help with evangelism. With a church member from that city, he was witnessing in the streets. He started talking to someone. The church member stopped him, saying: “Don’t talk to him, he’s a Dagomba”. The Dagomba are one of the larger people groups in Ghana. Almost all Dagomba follow a world religion other than Christianity. The church member, himself a Christian from the south of Ghana and not a Dagomba, considered it natural that the Dagomba people follow a different religion. The Dagomba man thought the same because after listening for a minute, he said: “As for me, I am Dagomba.” Many Dagomba think that being Dagomba means following a religion other than Christianity.

Sisaala chiefs

Sisaala chiefs

Many people in northern Ghana have woven themselves an identity in which language, ethnicity, culture and religion are part of the same cloth. Following a particular religion, speaking their mother tongue and following their ethnic customs are all part of an immutable identity. In their minds, religion is not a matter of personal conviction or choice any more than being born a member of their ethnic group is a personal choice. One particular religion is seen as part of their identity. They cannot imagine being authentic members of their ethnic group while following another religion.

Worse, some Christians from other ethnic groups believe the same, like the man who stopped William Ofori Atta from witnessing.

Local languages are not morphology and syntax, they are a people’s identity
– Prof B Y Quarshie

B Y Quarshie

B Y Quarshie

Before translation, decades of missions and evangelism in northern Ghana did not change these perceptions of identity and religion. Sometimes, the way evangelism is done aggravates the perceptions – such as when evangelism is done by members of an ethnic group that is mostly Christian and they do it in their language. Or missionaries do evangelism only in the language of one of the largely Christian ethnic groups in Ghana. So, how does one break down perceptions that Christianity is a religion for only some of the peoples of Ghana?

We are working with churches in northern Ghana on a program which has been shown to change those perceptions. The key elements are:

  • Using the heart language (mother tongue) of the people including the Bible in their language
  • Holding church services and evangelism in the heart language of the people
  • Organizing literacy classes for anyone, in their heart language

Research has shown that these methods are effective in breaking down perceptions that Christianity is a religion only for others. Language is also part of peoples’ identity. When a message or teaching is “at home” in their language, people no longer think that it is foreign, or only for others.

We are rolling out this program, including seeking funding for the first three years from Ghanaian Christians. Prayers appreciated!

Our religious world

ReligionsIn 2013 the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon Conwell Seminary released a results of research entitled “Christianity in its Global Context, 1970–2020: Society, Religion, and Mission“. One of their findings is that the world is getting more and more religious. The graphic to the right shows the details. The report states:

In 1970, nearly 82% of the world’s population was religious. By 2010 this had grown to around 88%, with a projected increase to almost 90% by 2020.

This finding contrasts sharply with some in the West who seem to believe that religion is dying. Dr. Rodney Stark, internationally known author, and co-director of the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University is authoring a book entitled “The Global Religious Awakening” because, he says, “there is more religion going on in the world than ever before”.

Rene Padilla, a leading Latin American missions leader has written:

..there is plenty of evidence to demonstrate that we are today in the midst of a great religious revival. The order of the day is not irreligiousness but religious pluralism.

It does not surprise me that the Western press seems unaware of growing religiosity in the world, but it does bother me when missions, missionaries and churches don’t take it into account.

Today, most Christians in the world have neighbors who are highly religious. Many live in an environment where there are two or more competing religions.

A colleague of mine working overseas sponsored a young man he met to go to Bible School run by a mission agency. When he returned after the first year, my colleague asked him what courses he had taken. The young man responded that he had taken a course in proofs the existence of God. The thing is, everyone that young knows believes in God, even the non-Christians. Here is a young man taking a course in his first year of Bible school that is relevant to the place the missionaries come from, but which is quite irrelevant to his life and ministry. The world in which we are doing mission is a religious world. All Bible translation programs in Africa are carried out in very religious environments.

Akan proverb (from Ghana): Obi Nkyere Abofra Nyame
Translation: No one points out God to a Child
Meaning: It is obvious even to children that God exists. Even to children, the fact that God exists is self-evident. (Note that this proverb existed before missionaries arrived.)

Christian books, TV broadcasts and Bible school courses designed to reach atheists and agnostics are irrelevant in this context. Films like “God is not dead” which address real issues in the West don’t fit the context in which I work, where I would have to search a while to find someone who believes that God is dead, and many don’t even know that some people think God is dead.

When Dayle and I were last in the US, we ran into publications and believers talked to us about creationism and intelligent design. That is all well and good, but I meet very few Africans who do not already believe that God created everything. That’s just not an issue here.

Historic Mosque

Historic Mosque

In addition to the mission field being a very religious place, many Christians around the world live in places where there are two or more competing religions, and quite a number live in places where Christians are a minority. Christianity has been dominant in the West for so long that Western Christians have little practical teaching to offer to believers who live where another religion is the dominant feature on the religious landscape. Let me even suggest that the church in the US is still figuring out how to react to the fact that the majority culture is increasingly hostile to its beliefs and values. If we haven’t figured that out for ourselves, how will we teach others?

I had an interesting talk with a church leader in Ghana who told of places where the Bible is now in the language of the people and a good number of Christians have taken literacy classes so that they can read. He said that this results in places where those promoting other religions have no success because of ordinary people who read the Bible for themselves and can therefore explain their faith.

Rather than exporting our answers to the issues we face as Western Christians, we need to do mission in a way that is relevant to an increasingly religious world – one where some of the key battles facing the church in the West are not very relevant. Our mission efforts need to help believers develop answers relevant to their environment. The Bible in people’s language is a key resource for that.

Apollo

When we were working on translation into the Cerma language of Burkina Faso, Dayle and I both got pink eye(conjunctivitis). One of our friends saw the condition and told us that we had Apollo. We thought that was a rather strange name for a disease, but what did we know. We asked around and discovered that there had been a widespread outbreak of pink eye in West Africa at the same time that Apollo 11 was landing on the moon. Local urban legend (yes, that happens in Africa too), linked the two events and ever since West Africans have called the disease Apollo.

Blessings come from God's Great Covenant - Hair salon.

Blessings come from God’s Great Covenant – Hair salon.

The association made between the Apollo 11 moon landing and an outbreak of conjunctivitis might seem strange to you, but keep an open mind for a minute. Different cultures have different ideas about the causes of events. We in the West have largely adopted the enlightenment idea that causes are physical, not mystical. We think that science completely explains causes. Many Africans accept mystic causality. If you think that education will change that, you are wrong. Studies have shown a slightly higher percentage of educated Ghanaians accept mystic causality than do uneducated Ghanaians. But don’t roll your eyes. Consider the following illustration of Ghanaian thinking which I have adapted from  well-known Ghanaian churchman Peter K. Sarpong.

A boy always walks to school following a certain path. He always goes with his friend who comes to his house and they walk together. One morning, his friend comes a few minutes later than usual, and so they set off late. As they are walking their usual route, a large tree falls on the boys, killing them.

A westerner will look for a scientifically sound cause for the tragedy.  So we might say that the boys died because recent, heavy rains had loosened the earth around the roots of the tree, so it fell. A Ghanaian might agree, but he would make other observations. He wold note that the boys set off late that morning. If they had been on time, the tree would have fallen after they passed. So what made them set off late? Also, the tree’s roots were loose, but why didn’t it fall an hour before or an hour after? Why didn’t the rain come more slowly in a way that would not loosen the roots? The questions go on and on. It does not take long for such questions to defy answers from a perspective of pure, scientific causality. Many Ghanaians conclude that even though scientific causality explains some things, it cannot bring answers that really satisfy.

This sign asks a question about causality

This sign asks a question about causality

Working effectively across cultures means not dismissing or making fun of what people say and believe about causes, even if at first you just want to roll your eyes. For one thing, people might stop telling you what is really on their minds if you make fun of what they say. And if you think about it, you will find that educated, scientific Westerners are not very different. The not uncommon view that “everything happens for a reason”, for example, cannot be justified by pure science. It is fundamentally a statement of mystic causality. Yet one sees and hears it all the time from educated Americans.

In Jesus’ day, many thought that sin caused all disasters and disabilities. See Luke 13:1-5 to see how Jesus dealt with that.

I find that I have learned from African viewpoints on causality. Besides, I still remember the  shocked look on the African pharmacist’s face when I told him I needed a treatment for Apollo. A white guy is not supposed to know that kind of local legend.

An outstanding example for Bible translators

Cornelius Van Dyck_2On this day (August 13) in 1818, Cornelius Van Dyck was born in Kinderhook, NY. As a young man, he dreamt of being a medical missionary; a dream he realized after his studies at Jefferson Medical College. He went to Syria under the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

While he was a doctor, what distinguished his service as a missionary was not his excellence as a doctor, but rather his love for the people of Syria. That love lead him to become an expert in their language and culture. He took time to undertake studies of Syrian language and culture from renowned Syrian experts. He put this knowledge to use in many ways, including doing a translation of the Bible in Arabic based on a translation started by Eli Smith. It is still one of the most popular translations in Syria today.

His love for Syria and its people lead him to write medical textbooks in Arabic in internal medicine, physical diagnosis. But his work went well beyond that. He also wrote textbooks in subjects as diverse as geography, navigation, and mathematics. They were used in Syrian schools for many years. All this time, he kept up his medical work and studied theology. From the start, he had started new churches and done mission work. These activities eventually came to take most of his time and efforts. He even founded a school for training ministers of the Gospel.

His accomplishments are such that he appears prominently in a publication about graduates of the Jefferson Medical College who have had an impact around the world.

But Van Dyck was not just an academic. He really loved people. So much so, that 50 years after his arrival in Syria, people threw a big party to commemorate his coming. People from many religious persuasions came from all over Syria to attend the event.

His obituary in the New York Times reads:

News has been received in this city of the sudden death in Beyrout, Syria, of the Rev. Dr. Cornelius Van Allen Van Dyke, who was known throughout the civilized world as the translator of the Bible into Arabic. His death was due to old age and an organic trouble with which he had suffered for many years

The way Van Dyck combined love for, and desire to understand, those to whom he was ministering is a good reminder, especially in these days when some promote a confrontational approach to mission work and other religions. Just consider the years of hard work he put into medical school and then the in-depth study of Arabic and Syrian culture. His love was played out in a life of putting hard work into understanding them. His academic accomplishments were not done for personal academic reward, but in order to pour himself into peoples’ lives. He is an excellent model for Bible translators and missionaries even today, even for those of us who are far from matching his intellect.

Observations of a church conference

DSC04536The 13th Annual Conference of the Northern Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana was held just south of the city of Tamale at a Presbyterian Lay Training Centre. I attended one of the 5 days. Here are my random observations of that day. They have little to do with the content and more with the “color”.

  • Solomon Sule-Saa, chairman of the northern presbytery, in clerical collar and traditional smock

    Solomon Sule-Saa, chairman of the northern presbytery, in clerical collar and traditional smock

    All of the Presbyterian ministers wore clerical collars. Quite a few wore them under the traditional northern garment called a smock – a wonderful combination of traditional and Western dress.

  • The prayer time, lead by a Presbyterian minister, had distinct Pentecostal overtones – all praying at once, prayers against spiritual forces that might come against the conference.
  • Mention was made several times of living peacefully with Muslims who are the majority in the Northern Region. This is important, because there have been sporadic religious clashes. I was reminded that in North America we have never had to live out our faith in a place where most people follow a different world religion.
  • The chiefs wonderful hats

    The chiefs wonderful hats

    The Association of Christian Chiefs sent a delegation to the conference. Their leader was installed as the chairman of the meetings, even though he spoke in English only through an interpreter. In the past, chiefs were the guardians of traditional belief and practice. It is not a small thing for a chief to break away from that, so much so, that I have heard some Ghanaian Christians say that a chief cannot be a Christian, just like I have heard Americans say that a politician can’t be a Christian. They came in traditional garb. I especially liked their hats!

  • The leader of the delegation from the Association of Christian Chiefs opened the meeting. He said that he is so full of joy that he could only offer a prayer of thanks to God for all the good work the church is doing. He prayed right then, including asking that  God would get glory for it all.
  • The meeting was conducted in English. After each person spoke, however, there was a summary translation into Dagbani. A few, such as the leader of the Association of Christian Chiefs, spoke in Dagbani (the most important local language) and were translated into English. However, none of the prayers, songs done by choirs, or congregational singing, was in English. They were mostly in Twi and Ga (languages of southern Ghana and the languages of Presbyterians from southern Ghana now living in the north), with some Dagbani. African languages are still alive even in high-level meetings.
  • One of the invited guests was a Gynecologist. He said that the most vulnerable people at the hospital were pregnant women and unborn children. In the pas,t mortality in pregnancy and childbirth was very high, being almost a daily occurrence at the hospital. He had instituted changes that brought that down 300%.
  • Second best teacher receives an award

    Second best teacher receives an award

    A teacher at a Presbyterian secondary school in the area had been named the second best teacher in Ghana. The Presbyterian Church here is known for quality education. The teacher thanked God for the fact that he serves in a a well-organized school, which allowed him to succeed, and the conference acknowledged him with an award.

  • Invited guests brought greetings from the church or organization they represent. Most bring an envelope, literally, with money to help with conference expenses, which they all call a “token”.
  • A Presbyterian choir in robes sang in Ghanaian languages (from the south of Ghana, not from this area), but in a European style, which they master. It is beautiful. Then a youth choir sang in Dagbani, but in a very traditional style, marked by accompaniment only with a drum, unison (no harmony), complex rhythms, a lead singer singing in solo, with the others coming in on the chorus. This shows that the traditional music forms are still in vibrant use among the youth.
  • There were several mentions of problems with the financial viability of the Presbytery. It appears that many see the solution to the problem coming through church businesses, as much as through the giving of church members.
  • The Director of GILLBT and the head of the northern presbytery exchanging the description of the literacy program

    The Director of GILLBT and the head of the northern presbytery exchanging the description of the literacy program

    We were there to present a literacy proposal. The vote to adopt it passed unanimously, with much waving of hands and fanfare.

  • A representative of the national office said that he hoped that the ladies choir (which sang beautifully in the Twi and Ga languages of southern Ghana) would be compelled to sing in local languages in the future because of the number of local women joining the church. He called this a vision for the coming years. He said that faith is not in any one language, but that true faith reaches out and brings in others.
  • The speech from the local political envoy was based on fruits of the Spirit and the fact that society needs them, because otherwise selfishness, crime, conflict, etc. abound. The conference theme was “The Fruit of the Spirit and the believer” Gal 5:22.
  • When asked to speak, one lady quoted a proverb, “When the elder takes his bath, then the water is finished”. I had no idea what it meant or how it applied to the context. I think that she was saying that she was being asked to speak out of turn.
  • In addition to the chiefs in their wonderful hats, and the ministers in clerical collars and smocks, some ladies were in traditional Africa dress, but others in smart, Western business attire. Some men were in suits with ties, and others in traditional wear, including a local member of parliament. So, a person wanting to dress in style has lots of options.

Click on any image to enlarge it and start a slide show.

The foremost translation

Merry Christmas - animated banner

Christmas. That’s when we celebrate the fact that God came to earth in the person of Jesus.

EmmanuelGod coming to earth in the form of a man is central to the Christian faith. The core of our faith is not a set of doctrines or principles. Rather is a person, Jesus the Christ, whose story we read in the Bible. The simple Bible words, “he became a man and dwelt among us” tell us that God chose to tell us what he is like on our terms. Another translation puts it this way:

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood

We do not need to understand all the eternal mysteries of God; but only the man Jesus. No early language would be able to fully explain God, but all of them can repeat the story of Jesus.

Christmas tells us a lot about God, but it also tells us a lot about how we can be. Jesus crossed the gulf toward us. So, we can cross the gulf of beliefs, culture and language. God did not require that we adapt to him, instead he adapted to us. Too often, Christians expect those outside the faith and those of other languages and cultures to make a journey toward them. But that is not God’s way. This is:

As she was hearing the Christmas story in her language for the first time, an educated Cape Verdian woman put down her Portuguese Bible.  “I let the words fall over me,” she said. “For the first time in my life I felt washed by the Word. I thought I knew the Christmas story by heart, but I must confess that today I feel like I’ve heard it for the very first time.

Christmas animation - mixedSome have said that Jesus’ coming to earth from heaven is the foremost example of translation. They even say that it proves that the message of Jesus is translatable in all languages. After all, the gulf between my language, English, and the language of many Ghanaians, Twi, cannot be bigger than the gulf between us and God. The same is true for all languages. Or are we to say that the message, in the person of Jesus, came one million million miles but cannot go another inch?

The argument sometimes advanced that some language is too humble to contain the lofty truth about God, fails before the lofty God coming and speaking one of our humble languages. Christmas silences it.

Jesus came to common people in his incarnation, and translation into vernacular languages is the only way Jesus will reach common men, women and children today (Desiring God)

This Christmas, may you renew your wonder at God translating himself into human form, and may that rejuvenate your confidence that God speaks to you, and all peoples, in the way each of us understands deep in our hearts.

Manger banner

Trick or Theses

Some people celebrate an alternative to Halloween based on something that happened on this day (October 31) in 1517.

95 Theses in Latin

en 95 Theses in Latin

Monk and scholar Martin Luther nailed a piece of paper to the church door at the Wittenberg Castle, Germany. This event sparked a giant controversy which resulted in profound religious and political changes that are with us to this day. On the paper, Luther had written 95 statements reflecting his opinions about practices in the church during his day. They are often called the “95 theses”.

Many societal reforms we take for granted would probably have been impossible without Luther’s opinions. Some people celebrate the event as Reformation Day, complete with very cute costumes (see below). In the spirit of a day celebrating documents that changed the world, one family made a Declaration of Independence costume.

It is a natural outcome of Luther’s theses that he went on to translate the Bible into German.  He held the opinion that everyone should read and interpret the Bible for himself or herself. That could not happen until people had a Bible in a language they knew. Translating the Bible into the minority languages of the world continues that thinking. So, Bible translation and the day on which Halloween falls are linked in a round-about way.

If you liked this, you might also like, The Day Tribal Ended, Nida, or John Agama.

 

Contextualization

Congolese translators struggle to contextualize the Bible into their language and culture

Congolese translators struggle to contextualize the Bible into their language and culture

Contextualization is a big word to say that the Gospel is presented in the local language and cultural forms. It can also be understood as making the Gospel message and the church relevant to society or to a culture. In this conception, forms of worship, music, and church programs are changed to make them fit contemporary society or a different culture. Eventually, this may extend to modifying what the church teaches where older teachings are considered out of touch with, or even reprehensible to, society at large. The goal of this kind of contextualization is to draw in more people – to be more relevant.

Some assume, wrongly, that this is what everyone means by contextualization. But there is another kind of contextualization. The church planter, speaker and researcher, Ed Stetzer, says it well:

I have said it many times, but it always seems to bear repeating– contextualization is not watering down the message. In fact, it is exactly the opposite. To contextualize the gospel means removing cultural and linguistic impediments to the gospel presentation so that only the offense of the cross remains. It is not removing the offensive parts of the gospel; it is using the appropriate means in each culture to clarify exactly who Jesus was, what He did, why He did it, and the implications that flow from it.

I subscribe to this kind of contextualization.

An Africa translator revises a draft translation

An Africa translator revises a draft translation

A while back, I heard a preacher criticize Campus Crusade for changing their name including dropping the word “crusade”. This preacher saw that as an act driven by fear of offending a certain group. But the word “crusade” does not appear in the Bible. For me its primary meaning is a large evangelistic meeting. But for much of the world it brings a message of forcing people to change their faith through military action – something quite against Jesus’ message.

I have seen other cases where fear of watering down the message was applied in such a way that it distorted the real message. I know that the message of Jesus can be controversial. That does not bother me. What bothers me is presenting something that is controversial and alienates people, but which is NOT the message of Jesus. It seems to me that the word “crusade” can do exactly that.

I am sad to say that some people seem more concerned that they make a clear stand against certain people or groups than that they accurately represent Jesus. Standing against a certain group makes a message look strong and uncompromising, but it almost inevitably distorts it all the same. Our approach to translating the Bible focuses on accuracy – “removing cultural and linguistic impediments” so that only the original meaning remains. Pleasing any particular group is not our concern, nor is standing against any group.

I am proud of the good news! It is God’s powerful way of saving all people who have faith (Romans 1:16)

I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some (I Cor 9:22)