Christians Hope to Win Souls in 2004???
- Published by Charisma, August 18, 2003
Christians Hope to Win Souls in 2004 Olympic Games Intercessors aim
to pull down the 'spiritual stronghold over Greece'
World-class athletes will be going for the gold next summer when
the Olympic Games return to Greece, but believers hope to win souls
Thousands of Christians plan to use the event to evangelize a
spiritually needy country, whose language God chose for
communicating the gospel to non-Jews.
Twenty centuries after the apostle Paul made history-making mission
trips to Thessaloniki (Thessalonica) and Korinthos (Corinth) and
eternalized the ancient cities through his letters to the
Christians there, Greece today is anything but a Christian country.
Though 98 percent of the population belong to the Greek Orthodox
Church, evangelical, Pentecostal and charismatic churches comprise
some 0.14 percent of the population, or a mere 15,000 people out of
But as the birthplace of the Olympic Games, Greece is poised for a
spiritual awakening, Christian leaders told "Charisma" magazine in
a forthcoming report on evangelism plans for Athens in 2004.
"The international church will focus on Greece, and there will be a
global wave of prayer for our country that will release a wave of
revival," predicts Johnathan Macris, a high-profile Greek
Protestant and director of Hellenic Ministries.
"I aim at mobilizing 100,000 committed intercessors," he adds. "It
is time for the Western church [in Europe and North America] to
return a measure of the blessing it has received by way of Greece
and through the Greek language."
Macris claims the Olympics are critical not only to saturating
Greece with the gospel -- in August thousands of believers will
come to Greece for evangelistic outreaches -- but also to reaching
the 1.2 billion Muslims in the Asian countries that lie between
Athens and Beijing, the host city of the 2008 Olympics.
Macris views the Olympics as a step toward a unified worship of the
Antichrist as outlined in the biblical book of Revelation, which
was written on the Greek island of Patmos. The worship of idols,
and of man, is a fundamental element of the world's most famous
Macris believes the 2004 Games will be the largest event of idol
worship in world history to date. But he says God's plan is to
mobilize an army of intercessors to pull down the "[spiritual]
stronghold over Greece" for the purpose of opening the door to
evangelism in the country.
Macris and local church leaders, though, anticipate a spiritual
battle. An anti-proselytism law is in place, but church leaders and
missionaries say the government currently takes little action. The
general mentality of the Greek Orthodox Church and the public
remains strongly anti-Protestant.
"The real problem is that the Greek are very skeptical toward
non-Orthodox churches," Timotheos Antoniadis of Thessaloniki, who
pastors a typically small Protestant church, explains. "The
perception of Protestants as a threat is a [spiritual] wall that we
need to breech!"
Antoniadis' congregation attempts to break this stereotype by
reaching out to the needy, the poor, the prostitutes and the
immigrants. In the last four years, the average Sunday attendance
at his church has doubled from 20 to 40. Most of the new attendees,
including Russian-speaking converts, belong to socially
Read the full report on evangelism plans for the 2004 Olympic Games
in the September issue of "Charisma," out now.