“The death of Dr. Ralph Winter marks the passing of a giant from the scene of missions,” said Dr. K.P. Yohannan, founder and president of Gospel for Asia, “and GFA owes him a tremendous debt of gratitude for his influence on our ministry.”
Dr. Winter, 84, who died Wednesday night of cancer, was the founder of the U.S. Center for World Missions and, later, William Carey International University.
“Most of all, he caused a paradigm shift in the focus of global missions,” Dr. Yohannan said.
“I don’t think there was anyone more significant in the 20th century world of missions or anyone who brought as much change to how missions were strategized than Ralph Winter.”
Dr. Yohannan explained that before Dr. Winter, the focus of missions was on reaching countries–“coloring in the map of individual political entities.”
“But Dr. Winter pointed out that when Matthew 24:14 says the Gospel will be preached ‘as a testimony to all nations,’ the Greek word for ‘nations’ is ‘ethnos,’ which means a distinct people group,” the GFA leader said. “It was a whole new paradigm of missions thinking! We all began to understand that missions needed to be specific and targeted to reach people groups who had never before heard the Gospel, regardless of what country they lived in. He created a whole world of fresh missions thinking.”
Greg Burnett, of the Zadok House of Prayer, described Dr. Winter as “… a hero in the faith [whose] impact on our understanding of biblical missions was profound. Ralph and Roberta (his wife) were ordinary people who sacrificed and loved in amazing ways. I bless the Lord for His grace and kindness in touching their lives and, through them, us as well.”
Below is a video of Ralph Winter discussing unreached people groups: [Link to Video]
“What is God’s intention for these people? What are you trying to see happen to them and to their societies, from the standpoint of God’s will?” These questions raised by Dr. Winter are key, whether we are discussing a people we travel “18,000 miles” to reach, or the people we are a part of where we currently reside. Let’s honor him by asking these questions of the people we are called to, and bringing about the change God desires to see.
CARROLLTON, Texas, Mar. 19 /Christian Newswire/ — A large mob of anti-Christian extremists brutally attacked two Gospel for Asia-supported missionaries in Himachal Pradesh, India, on Saturday, March 14. After stripping them naked and beating Murari Jay and Atul Rajesh, the vicious group burned all their belongings and then had the missionaries arrested.
The mob of about 30 people barged into the place where Murari and Atul were staying. Humiliating the missionaries, the group tore the men’s clothes off and beat them. Murari sustained severe injuries to his back after mob members repeatedly kicked him, and Atul suffered acute head trauma. Other members of the mob set fire to everything the missionaries owned.
After assaulting the missionaries, their attackers grabbed Murari and Atul, forcing them to go to the police station. Authorities took the two men into custody. When GFA leaders in the area heard about the attack, they immediately went to the police station to help the missionaries. After much discussion, authorities released Murari and Atul at 11:30 p.m.
Even in this difficult situation, the missionaries were praising Jesus and told the GFA leaders that they felt the experience increased their faith in Him.
“It was a great privilege to be persecuted for the Gospel of Christ,” both missionaries responded when asked about the attacks.
The next morning, the two missionaries had to go back to the police station to clear the case. After investigating the situation, the police found no fault in the mob for the unproved beatings, and the missionaries were not charged with any crime.
Murari and Atul also received treatment at a local hospital following the attack. They are now home and, through medical care, are recovering quickly.
Gospel for Asia is an evangelical mission organization based in Carrollton, Texas involved in sharing the love of Jesus across South Asia.