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What is FONTS?

“It is a great honor for me to introduce to you the work and calling that the Lord has laid on our hearts for the nation of Japan. It is not a natural love that we hold for Japan, but a divine one that can overcome historical, cultural, and spiritual barriers for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

– October 6, 2003, from a letter by Kwang Chin Kim, FONTS Board President

FONTS is playing its part in the story God is writing in Japan. We have been a part of this story since 2003, when we were established as a U.S.-based non-profit organization with a purpose of advocating for CBI. We advocate by praying, connecting, raising resources, and empowering others as senders.

Our scriptural foundation is in Romans 10:14-15:

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (ESV)

What does FONTS have to do with Christ Bible Institute?

In 1999, a man named Michael Oh had a vision for a seminary in Japan that would train up a new generation of Japanese Christian leaders for the Japanese people. In Japan, nearly 80% of pastors are in their 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s.

More than twenty years before the vision for Christ Bible Institute (CBI) was born, pastors in the Nagoya area were praying for a seminary where young people could be trained for gospel ministry.

When Michael Oh shared his vision with his community, several of his Christian brothers and sisters felt compelled by the vision and committed to praying, connecting, raising resources, and empowering others as senders.

The original rough-draft name for the seminary in Nagoya was “Nagoya Theological Seminary.” FONTS was founded in 2003 as “Friends of Nagoya Theological Seminary.” When the seminary was founded in 2005, it was decided that the name of the seminary would be Christ Bible Seminary.

The ministries of Christ Bible Institute have grown to include:

  • Christ Bible Seminary
  • All Nations Fellowship (worship and church-planting)
  • Heart & Soul Café (outreach café ministry) and Heart & Soul Worship events
  • Eikaiwa (English Conversation School)

For more information on the current ministries of CBI, click here.

Why Japan?

There is no country in the world where the church has sown
the gospel so generously, yet reaped so sparingly.

– Doug Birdsall, Lausanne Movement (The Lausanne Movement
works to see the whole Church taking the whole Gospel to the whole world)

Most people do not view Japan as a country with need, due to its highly developed society and first-world status. But there are significant spiritual, emotional, and relational needs in Japan.

Only .2% of the Japanese are Christians.

This places Japan among the most unreached nations in the world.

Shinto (the native religion of Japan), Buddhism (a much-traveled foreign import originating in India), Confucianism (a Chinese import that is less a religion than a code of ethics), Taoism, and even Christianity all play a role in contemporary Japanese social life. Religions, for the most part, are not exclusive of each other:

“Modern Japanese find no contradiction in visiting a Shinto shrine at New Year’s to bow and pray for health and prosperity; and then hiring a Caucasian preacher to conduct their wedding ceremony in a Christian church for the status it conveys; and finally being cremated in a Buddhist temple.” –Shutting Out the Sun: How Japan Created its Own Lost Generation, by Michael Zielenziger

Over one million young people are completely disengaging from Japanese society.

Hikikomori is a profound social disorder where young Japanese men and women (although more than 80% of hikikomori are men) lock themselves in their rooms to withdraw from social life for years.

Japan has long battled a high suicide rate.

Three times as many people die by suicide in Japan as die in automobile accidents. At 24.4 suicides per 100,000 people, Japan ranked second in 2009 among the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations after Russia's 30.1, according to the World Health Organization.

"This is a national crisis, a crisis of the heart.... The suicide rate is high because people do not have God in their hearts."  -spoken by Hiroyuki Itsuki, one of Japan's best-selling authors

To learn more about Japanese history and culture, go to our Advocacy Library.

What does FONTS have to do with you?

"People think that we here at CBI are on the front lines, and that you all at FONTS are behind us somewhere, also in the battle. But it’s not like that. You are all on the front lines with us. We do this work with you.”

- Shohei, Japanese graduate of CBS, current CBI staff member

There is a spiritual battle in Japan, and God is continually calling and equipping His children to pray for the Japanese. Are you called to advocate for the Japanese?

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