Why There Are Less Japanese Christians Than You Think


If you define “Christian” as a person who “follows Christ,” you will find that more Japanese than you might think are willing to do this. I remember vividly a conversation with a pastor here about how it is not hard to get Japanese people to “accept Christ.” The problem is getting them to stay. According to him, most Japanese Christians leave the church within a year after their conversion.

Unfortunately, the sad truth is, if you consider that many Christians here are Christian in Name Only (CINO), the actual number of true Christians becomes even more dismal than the 1% often quoted.  Many organizations here are forced to include halfway converts in their numbers because they are so desperate to fill their pews. If you take away the country-club church building from these converts, many of them would quickly fall away from the faith, because they don’t have a real relationship with Christ in the first place. A huge part of Japanese culture is saying what your listener wants to hear, even if you don’t mean it. That’s why one of the first things you learn about the Japanese language is that “Yes doesn’t necessarily mean yes.” That’s Japan for you.

The CBN article linked above claims that Japan is not yet a “reached” country, but that depends on how you define the term. I would argue that Japan is, in fact, a widely “reached” country. I was taken aback here last Christmas while shopping in the mall, when Christmas music proclaiming Christ’s birth came on with shouts of glory. While America is busy trying to ban Christ from Christmas music, Japan has merrily added it to their holiday repertoire. Christ has already been added to the list of gods to serve. The gospel has and is being preached here in many ways.

Another example would be the black Bible placards throughout Japan calling for Japan to repent. Can you believe that Japanese people actually give permission to have these things put on their property? Some of the signs are put up right next to advertisements for Buddhist family altars! How telling of the Japanese mindset! In America, people are fighting amongst themselves to tear down monuments of the 10 Commandments, but here in pagan Japan, people will gladly put up a sign that says:

God’s Judgment Is Coming.

This kind of sign would get torn down so fast in America! But in Japan these kinds of signs are found everywhere. How prophetic is that? Japan has allowed for the message of coming judgment to be preached to this nation in preparation for the real judgment that is soon to come. Scoffers will have no excuse, because it is written on black and white, ominous signs even in the most remote locations of the Japanese countryside.

Every true Christian out there is supposed to have a testimony of a life-changing transformation. This is what is missing in the lives of so many young people today. So many people, including many Japanese, believe that they can have Christ without changing their lives, but this is simply not true.

If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)

Japanese people are very good at maintaining a good outward image, but, in reality, their inside hasn’t been transformed at all. It’s not difficult to get Japanese people to accept Jesus. If you asked most Japanese if they believe in Jesus, many would say, “Yes.” If you asked them to accept him into their heart, I’m sure still many would say, “Yes.” It’s not difficult to get Japanese people to accept any god considering the huge collection of gods they already serve throughout the country. The difficult part is getting them to follow the 1st Commandment.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (The 10 Commandments)

If you have accepted Christ, but are still living on the fence between your old life and your new life, now is the time to repent! God loves us and does not want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9), but you must turn from your sins or face the impending judgment coming upon this whole earth!

May Japan turn to God with their whole hearts!

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