Evangelism in Japan: An Uphill Struggle

LOL! Yes, we love this AWFUL place, don’t we? It disturbs us during hour work, during rest, during sleep. ALL the time… :wink:
Hey Steve, you are one of the best taskmasters here, “believe me, believe me”… LOL


In the past, Bible Correspondence in connection with our radio ministry and English Language Schools seemed to have produced excellent results not necessarily in terms of baptisms but providing a bridge to the community.

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I believe many Jesuits lost their lives in Japan trying to evangelise the Japanese

I hope the Jesuits on Spectrum are safe… :wink:


I attended a church that grew from 400 to 7000 with ZERO evangelistic campaigns.
All growth was due to laity referrals. The preacher taught the bible competently , verse by verse, going through bible books.

The audience invited people, who stayed, because their previous pastors were inept.

Someone needs to tell Jerry Page , who is on a prayer kick…

Teaching is for comprehension
Prayer is for the power of application

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My wife grew up in Japan as the daughter of a missionary. I have visited Japan 3 times. One of the problems is with the food: eel, octopus etc. in the Japanese diet. I ate years ago at the SDA hospital in Tokyo. It was vege, but not tasty. That food would not appeal to Japanese for sure as it did not appeal to me. There are Japanese who take their oriental religions seriously but not many. Civilized people there and elsewhere dont take religion too seriously unfortunately.

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In society, Japan included, the goal posts have changed. A church that only attracts mature age or older people is destined to struggle. The biggest proof of success is when the young are engaged and consistent in attendance…particularly boys who we are losing at a very rapid rate.

People dont care what you know until they know that you care…our work needs to be more grass roots with the reaping side done at churches and not public halls…this story proves it.

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Really ? Perhaps it is the message

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During the Second World War the Japanese troops massacred our unarmed prisoners of war and any of our civilians trapped behind their battle lines. They marched our nurses out into the sea and machine-gunned them. They cut up our fallen soldiers for sushi. The Americans stopped them by dropping a couple of atomic bombs on them. Has either side learned anything from the experience?
What are the moral values of Shintoism and Buddhism? Are they any better than American Christianity?

Culture and approach in-context are lacking in our evangelism. People in Japan have none of the culture identity or background that are leveraged elsewhere in the world. Context and approach is everything. After 30 years in Japan as a business and culture change consultant to many companies here I have some in-sight. Buddhism and Animist tradition and a strong sense of Japanese identity are a reality. In modern Japan the view is that non-traditional religions are cults at best and a threat to identity at worst. Can the Advent message be spread in Japan? Yes it can. Can we measure success of or apply familiar cultural norms in evangelism? No we cannot. Demonstration of Christian values and applied lifestyle are in fact much more successful. Demonstrate to the community that you are not a cult or a threat to Japanese identity will make the audience receptive to the Advent message.


Is it possible that all evangelistic activities around the world are pale in results because we as corporate identity (as Christ’s body) did not take the 1888 sin seriously and fully into consideration as Wieland and Short stated? I don’t see the glory of the angel from Rev.18:1…

I hesitate to engage with you, honestly, because I read your posts and I feel we are so far apart from each other. However, i want to reach out. I want to be brothers in Christ and I want to start with you. In front of all here. You in?


This will be very interesting. If it ever happens… :thinking:


I am curious to know what approach would be used by those who don’t believe American evangelism will work in Japan. If tasked with bringing in 100 people, what would they do, how long would it take, and how much would it cost? Now that we have a benchmark the other side should be given the opportunity to validate their approach.

What are the distinguishing features of Adventism when compared to Shintoism and Buddhism? What benefits does a convert to Adventism realize?

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One “benefit” that is guaranteed is increased mental activity, which can be good to combat Alzheimer’s. With the amount of intellectual discussions about theological and doctrinal issues, and the disagreements on many biblical(and non-biblical…) issues, one gets a lot of beneficial mental activity. Some here will live up to 120 years…:laughing:


Ah, just the minor point that pagan religions lead to eternal death, while true Christians have eternal life.

You raise an interesting point and the issues we face have several contributors. I think that one of the major issues pointed out by the author as well as those who contribute are pointing out that the American Evangelism is the issue. Evangelism as we know it is from 18/9th century Protestant culture. So belief in or use of such cultural constructs in a country like Japan where such culture is entirely absent and cannot rationally be expected to have the same impact or result. When arriving in Greece Paul did not employ the same approach he did with Jews but instead adapted to present the message in a manner that captured the audience in context with their culture. With decades of direct evidence and feedback from those impacted has provided evidence which should be convincing that the approach has to be rethought. As to number goals and associated cost to achieve them has also provided evidence that the approach has to be rethought. As the author pointed out the Adventist members largely felt that approaches being employed would not be effective however this seems to have fallen on deaf ears. The feedback to local church members and the response from those in charge implied that the members were the stumbling block. The leadership felt if only members would drop their resistance to the American evangelism approach things would be different. The thing is that this very lack of cultural context and expectation and that it need not take this into account is in fact a contributing cause to the failure. In Japan it is not an issue of the population being uninterested, far from it. I have found them to be very interested and receptive. As a church we should not expect people in each culture to respond using the same approach and cultural identity cues as we have in North America. The message itself transcends culture and tugs at the heartstrings of all, but how you present this makes all the difference in the world.

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First notice Jack liked my post. Now, what is your goal since brothers in Christ is ambiguous religious lingo. What is your concern? I have interacted with various types of SDA people, at all levels of the institution