I. What is a “World Christian”?
What do you think of when you hear the term “world Christian?” According to David Bryant in his article, “To Be a World Christian,” the term was first coined by Daniel Fleming in his 1920 YMCA book, Marks of a World Christian. Bryant described a “World Christian” as one who is driven to “reach out with God’s love to the ends of the earth.” Because there is a “Gap” between God’s purpose for humankind and the fulfillment of that purpose, the World Christian will re-orient his or her life to help close that Gap. Bryant observed:
Some World Christians are missionaries who stand in the Gap by physically crossing major human barriers (cultural, political, etc.) to bring the Gospel to those who can hear no other way. But every Christian is meant to be a World Christian, whether you physically “go”,or stay at home to provide the sacrificial love, prayers, training, money, and quality of corporate life that backs the witness of those who “go.”
The history of missions in the Church of the Nazarene is filled with stories of men and women who stood in the gap. Some of the personalities are well known and loom large, names such as Harmon Schmelzenbach and Esther Carson Winans. Others are merely a footnote, but each has the common element of answering the call from Isaiah 6:8: “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” To this Isaiah answered: “Here am I! Send me!” (v.9).