Is Missions Harmful?
In some secular circles, and even among some believers, world missions is associated with a legacy of imperialism, oppression, and discrimination. Without doubt, terrible things have been done in the name of missions. However, the idea that missions has been—and still is—predominantly destructive rests on faulty assumptions (cultures should be preserved exactly as they are, missionaries are the dominant force of change, Christianity is a Western construct, missionary influence has been primarily destructive, etc.). The gospel is good news for all people in all cultures with no exceptions. When we evaluate the impact of missions on the world, we must distinguish between the core message and the irresponsible, clumsy, and ethnocentric ways it has sometimes been carried out. Let’s acknowledge the mistakes of the past and strive to learn from them, but let’s not allow a negative perception of missions to diminish our enthusiasm for our God-given task.