Archive for the ‘urgency of mission’ Category

I have sometimes seen, in the morning sun, the smoke of a thousand villages, where no missionary has ever been

January 12, 2010

In 1839, after years of service in South Africa, the famous missionary Robert Moffat returned to Scotland to recruit helpers. When he arrived at the church one cold wintry night, he was dismayed that only a small group had come out to hear him. What bothered him even more was that the only people in attendance were ladies. Although he was grateful for their interest, he had hoped to challenge men. He had chosen as his text Proverbs 8:4, “Unto you, O men I call.” Moffat had one stirring challenge in his message: “I have sometimes seen, in the morning sun, the smoke of a thousand villages, where no missionary has ever been.” Moffat felt frustrated as he gave the message, for he realized that very few women could be expected to undergo the rigorous life in undeveloped jungles. In his discouragement Moffat almost failed to notice one young man assisting the organist. That young man was deeply moved by the challenge and heard the call of God. The following year, David Livingstone, that young man who had heard Robert Moffat’s challenge and God’s call, sailed to Africa. For the next thirty- three years, he ministered in the interior of Africa to villages where no missionary had ever been before.

John Mark Ministries

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All our conversation on the subject of religion ended in nothing. He was convinced that he was right, and all the texts I produced were, according to him, applicable only to the times of the Apostles

September 28, 2009

A certain person, though well-intentioned, tried to dissuade Henry Martyn from going to India as a missionary. Martyn remarked:

“All our conversation on the subject of religion ended in nothing. He was convinced that he was right, and all the texts I produced were, according to him, applicable only to the times of the Apostles.”

¬†…When called to encounter the ridicule of those who, not knowing the hope of Christ’s calling, nor the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, nor the exceeding greatness of his power towards those who believe, despised all labors of love amongst the heathen as wild and visionary ; the Lord helped (Martyn) to keep his ground, and to bear his testimony. “With my Bible in my hand, and Christ at my right hand,” said he, “I can do all things: what though the whole world believe not, God abideth true, and my hope in him shall be steadfast.

From, John Sargent, The Life and Letters of Henry Martin, Banner of Truth, 1985, p.60

What Would a Cultural Relativist Do?

September 10, 2009

When Wesleyan missionaries arrived in Fiji in 1835 they found a society “in which infanticide, human sacrifice and cannibalism were endemic”…in 1868 out of a population of 120,000 almost 106,000 were reported to be in regular attendance at public worship.

Brain Stanley, Bible and the Flag, Apollos, 1990, p.112

Presumably this ‘cultural imperialism’ was a terrible thing and the natives should have been left to engage in their ‘infanticide, human sacrifice and cannibalism’

What Would a Cultural Relativist Do? Time to make a few WWCRD bracelets?

(it is an illusion) that indigenous cultures prior to the missionary impact were in a condition of static perfection. This mythical view is itself a peculiarly arrogant form of cultural imperialism, founded on the notion that non-Western societies knew nothing of change or innovation until brought into contact with the modernizing West. On the contrary, almost all cultures exist in a state of perpetual flux, and represent an amalgam of diverse and often contradictory influences. The choice confronting  indigenous cultures has not ben between change and no change, but between a number of possible directions of change, som evidently more beneficial than others.

ibid., pp.170-171

Amy Carmichael’s Vision

September 10, 2009

Amy Carmichael was a missionary to India, and one night in a village in India she wrote these words. Listen carefully: “I could not go asleep. So I lay awake and looked; and I saw, as it seemed, this: that I stood on a grassy sward and at my feet a precipice broke sheer down into infinite space. Back I drew, dizzy at the depth. Then I saw people moving single file along the grass. They were making for the edge. There was a woman with a baby in her arms and another little child holding onto her dress. She was on the very verge. Then I saw that she was blind. She lifted her foot for the next step – it trod air. Oh, the cry as they went over!

“Then I saw more streams of people from all parts. They were blind, stone-blind; all made straight for the precipice edge. There were shrieks as they suddenly knew themselves falling, and a tossing up of helpless arms, clutching at empty air. Then I saw that along the edge there were sentries set at intervals. But the intervals were far too great; they were wide, there were unguarded gaps between. And over these gaps the people fell in their blindness, quite unwarned, and the gulf yawned like the mouth of hell.

“Then I saw, like a little picture of peace, a group of people under some trees, with their back to the gulf. They were making daisy-chains. There was another group. It was made up of people whose great desire was to get more sentries; but they found that very few wanted to go. Once a girl stood alone in her place, waving the people back; but her mother and other relatives called, and reminded her that her furlough was due. Being tired and needing a change she had to go and rest for a while; but no one was sent to guard her gap, and over and over the people fell, like a waterfall of souls.

“Once a child caught a tuft of grass that grew on the very brink of the gulf; it clung convulsively and it called, but nobody seemed to hear. Then the roots of grass gave way, and with a cry the child went over. And the girl who longed to be back in the gap thought she heard the little one cry and she sprang up and wanted to go, at which they reproved her; and then sang a hymn. Then through the hymn the pain of a million broken hearts rung out in one full drop, one sob. It was the Cry of Blood”.

online source

The urgency of Mission

September 10, 2009

In his missionary endeavour in China one of Hudson Taylor’s young converts was a young man called Nee Yung Fa. He was a Ningbo cotton dealer, and he was converted under Hudson’s preaching. He was also a leader in a reformed Buddhist sect – now this was a sect that didn’t go in for idolatry at all, but they were searching for truth and for the real true and living God. At the end of one of Hudson Taylor’s sermons, Nee Yung Fa stood up in his place and turned to address the audience and said: ‘I have long searched for the truth as my father did before me. I have travelled far but I haven’t found it. I found no rest in Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, but I do find rest in what I have heard tonight. From now on I will believe in Jesus’. Nee Yung Fa took Hudson Taylor back to his group of Buddhist believers, and he addressed that group and told his own testimony. Then another individual there was converted, and both of them were baptised. The other member of the group asked Hudson Taylor: ‘How long has the gospel been known in England?’. How long has the gospel been known in England? ‘For several hundred years’, he replied with a great tone of embarrassment. ‘What!’, exclaimed Nee, ‘What? Several hundred years, and you have only come to preach to us now? My father sought after the truth for more than 20 years and died not finding it! Why didn’t you come sooner?’.

Roger Steer, Hudson Taylor: A Man in Christ, p.156 – online source