Japan is the second-largest unreached nation in the world. Missiologists question why Christianity has not been widely accepted in Japan especially considering its strong growth in Asia and Southeast Asia.
I’ve been reading a book that tries to answer that question. One possible reason is the church’s missiological efforts were too Euro-centric without contextualizing for a Japanese worldview. For example, in Japanese culture ancestors are venerated, so the Japanese frequently reject Christianity when they are told that anybody that has not professed faith in Christ goes to hell. Most of their ancestors have not heard Christ preached, and so therein lies the rub.
To resolve this tension, some have used the “Second Chance theory,” which expounds that those who have never heard the gospel go to Hades, not hell, where they will have a chance to accept the gospel (1 Peter 3:19). Though this doctrine does not originate from Japan, it makes Christianity more palatable for many Japanese. While I disagree with the Second Chance theory, I am very sympathetic to the impetus behind it, as the theory tries to alleviate the pain of loved ones going to hell. This is a very delicate issue mirroring what many of us already pray for: salvation for our non-believing friends and family.
The point of this blog post is to ask for your prayers. I only read one book on Japanese missions and theology, and I already feel overwhelmed. How am I supposed to answer a question like “Where are my ancestors now?” And I have to answer that in Japanese??!! I can barely answer that in English.
I need help; I need God’s help. My entire family will need God’s help in providing comfort and truth for the Japanese people. Please pray for us. Thank you.