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What Do You Need to Know?
Genesis 14: 14-18

If you are Abraham, what do you assume about the religious insight of a person like Melchizedek, who is “priest of God Most High” but doesn’t know what you know about God? I have friends who have moved to Turkey, and to Central Asia, and to a particular area within the Philippines, and to a particular area within India, and to another Asian country that they don’t even name because the position of Christians there is so delicate. In each case these people want to make it possible for people to know Christ, though they don’t put “missionary” on their visa application, because it would be unlikely to facilitate its acceptance. They need another reason to be where they are, so they might focus directly on ministering to the existent Christian community, if there is one, or on reaching people with social or development needs, as in the past the missionary movement made medicine or education its point of entry into a country. We could talk about the ethics of this economy with the truth, but we will do that another day—probably in Exodus for Everyone when we look at the midwives’ lying to Pharaoh. In connection with this story about Melchizedek, the more immediate question is, What do you assume about the existent religious insight of the adherents of another faith (in our world, the question might arise in connection with people such as Muslims)? Do you assume they are totally benighted? Abraham does not seem to assume this with Melchizedek, though he does imply there is something extra Melchizedek needs to know...

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