African conversions: Houston, we got a problem...
Two days ago, my friend Lucas Weeks returned from a summer in Ghana working with his missionary parents. He told me this story and I asked him to write it up. Gullible American evangelicals should always keep in mind the old saying, "Thems that pays the piper calls the tune." When rich westerners arrive with free medical treatment and start doleing out wads of money, they're likely to find everyone pretty agreeable...
Anyhow, this from Lucas:
On a flight from Accra, Ghana to London this week I sat next to a Texan from a Houston megachurch. He regularly goes on short term mission trips to Africa and he'd just completed his latest--an evangelistic missions trip with a group from his church that was a combination of medical ministry and door to door evangelism. He told me that they were able to share the Gospel three times before the Ghanaians received their treatment.
With his Southern drawl in full effect, my Texan seatmate was very excited to tell me how effective their trip had been. When they asked Ghanaians if they wanted to pray to receive Jesus, almost every single one of them answered "Yes" and "accepted Christ."
"There were some days when we were batting 1000!" he announced.
I paused for minute or two, and then replied, "My parents have found Ghana to be one of the most difficult countries in Africa to do ministry. They've said Ghanaians are often warm and friendly, and that they readily acquiesce to whatever demands you make of them. The problem is that they rarely follow through. They'll agree with almost anything you say just to be nice."
The man looked down for a second and then looked back up. "So you think it's possible not all of the conversions were genuine?"
Yup, that's what I think.