The Rastafarri Movement:Evangelistic Tips Essay

3780 words - 15 pages

Introduction During my course of study with on Evangelism and Missions I became aware of the importance of contacting and developing strategies for ministry to ?Hidden People Groups.? I believe that, as Christians we cannot continue to ignore the mission challenge of New Religious Movements in our City and in our world. Some extreme and tragic examples are the ?Heaven?s Gate Group? in Santa Fe, California. We all remember that in 1997 the authorities found 39 decaying bodies in their mission house. We came to find out that it is a new religious movement which combined elements of neo-Gnosticism, science fiction, pseudo-Christian teachings and apocalypticism revolving around UFOs. Following the teachings of Marshall Applewhite, the group?s members did not believe they were committing suicide. Rather they had merely left their ?containers? (bodies) for new, genderless forms resembling popular Hollywood depictions of extraterrestrials residing in a cosmic ?level Above Human.? Unfortunately, as bizarre and tragic as the Heaven?s gate suicides were, they were not the only New Religious Movement? out there to receive media attention in the last few decades. Just a few weeks prior to the discovery of Heaven?s Gate, the latest victims of the Order of the Solar Temple were discovered. Between 1994 and 1997, 74 men, women and children died in a series of fiery murder suicides in France, Switzerland and Canada. We are also very reminded of the tragedy in Waco, where 51 people, followers of David Koresh died as their compound burst into flames.These are just a few of the extreme examples of why as Christians we cannot ignore the hidden groups in our communities and should develop strategies to penetrate these groups with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Rastafari movement, which is the subject of this study is a good illustration of a group that has been around since the 1930s and cannot be qualified as dangerous in the sense that their followers may become so desperate and so alienated that they may commit violent acts or massive suicide. But they are a people that need to hear the Gospel and, as Christians we should find the best strategy to reach them.Background Rastafari is a movement of Black people who know Africa as the birthplace of Mankind and the throne of Emperor Haile Selassie I -- a 20th Century ?Manifestation of God who has lighted our pathway towards righteousness, and is therefore worthy of reverence.? The prime basic belief of the Rastafarians is that Haile Selassie is the living God for the black race. Selassie, whose previous name was Ras Tafari, was the black Emperor of Ethiopia. Rastafarians say scriptures prophesized him as the one with "the hair of whose head was like wool (the matted hair of I black man), whose feet were like unto burning brass (I black skin)".T?s important to note that Selassie was not a Rastafarian himself. He was a devout Christian. In fact, no one is really sure what he thought of the whole Rastafarian movement....

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