Without using statistics to indicate where the Japanese are on that scale if they are unsaved, we can safely say for the most part that MOST Japanese are at the -8 level with some overlapping into the -7 state. Maybe they attended a ‘Christian’ kindergarten when that age. Maybe they had a Christian roommate in college. Maybe they attended a S.S. for a short period of time. But unless they have actually studied one on one with a Christian or made a decision to attend a church to find out more and attended regularly they would not reach the -6 level. So when we introduce the Gospel to the Japanese people it means first of all one thing: You start with the basic of basics: Who is God; What is the Bible; Who is Jesus Christ, and so forth. If the person is willing, we use a six-week study course (Japanese like set time limited programs) called Christianity Explained. Even this step may be after some time of introduction through conversation and testimony in every day life. (http://www.christianityexplained.com/CE-Complete-Manual-Book)
For others we have included a short Bible study time at the end of the weekly Bible study. Several of our believers have come to Christ as a result of this. But the key in each was being patient and putting for the truth in small bits, piece by piece. So they don’t just add another god to their godshelf but truly come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and reach the “New Birth” step in the chart above.
Another step that has to be overcome in these steps toward a true acceptance of Christ and becoming a repented, born again believer, usually happens between -3 and -2 steps. They may come to understand their need and have a desire–so what stops them—group unity. A desire to not break up the ‘wa’ of first of all their family circle; next would be (depending on the age level of the student) their peers either at school or at work and thereby you have just encompassed their whole life view. Japanese will go clear around a thought in order to not cause discomfort or trouble for another person. The view of others around you begins at home in early childhood years…babies are kept with their mother in their own beds (futon) sometimes until they reach school age. The tie that is begun then continues as the mother watches over that child’s school years day by day, year by year and encourages family ties in various ways until the person as an adult, is an individual but not with individuality. Thereby, creating a ‘chain’ so strong that to break it and embrace ‘Christianity’ and tear that family a part will often keep that person from Christ. Or when having already accepted Christ, but not yet told the parents, will cause a break after the fact.
1. We had worked with a 30 yr old man in a job here in Teshio, which at the most, meant he would be around for about 7 years before being transferred out. After studying for some time and attending the morning service regularly, he told us he wanted to accept Christ and be saved. He was excited about this step and eager to continue in his studies. Several weeks later he said he wanted to be baptized and needed to tell his parents who live in southern Japan. We told him we would be praying for this decision and the action and for his family to accept his decision. Within 24 hrs. he called and said he would not be following Christ any longer; that we were not to come see him; he would not be back again and no he would not tell us what had transpired!! We were heartbroken! With a western minded thinking one cannot fathom that type of emotional stronghold on a 30 yr grown man through his family. We have no idea what was possibly threatened if he went through with his decisions. Several attempts were made via phone and going to the house to see him and he completely refused all advances and said he would call the police. That didn’t stop us but his complete turn around did eventually mean that we had to leave him with the Lord! All we can pray, is that at some point in later years, where ever he was transferred in his job, God built upon this man’s knowledge and he again followed Christ.