Posts Tagged ‘Gospel’

The Missionary Legacy

September 10, 2009

Christian missions in India are routinely dismissed in contemporary Indian scholarship as simply an adjunct to colonialism. But, in fact, they were the soil from which both modern Hindu reform movements and Indian nationalism sprang. Most of the Indian intellectual and political leadership of the late C.19th and early C.20th emerged from Christian schools and colleges. Gandhi may have claimed to have been nurtured in the spiritual atmosphere of the Bhagavad Gita, but it was not from this text that he derived his philosophyThe deepest influences on Gandhi came from the “renouncer” traditions of Jainism and the New Testament, particularly the Sermon on the Mount as mediated through the works of Tolstoy. Christians in India have long been in the forefront of movements for the
emancipation of women, with missionary societies from Britain and the United States often giving the lead where the colonial government was hesitant to tread for fear of upsetting local sensibilities….  Some of the finest medical hospitals and training schools in India owe their existence to Christian missions. For many years the entire nursing profession was filled with Anglo-Indians and Indian Christians, as other communities regarded nursing as menial work fit only for uneducated girls and widows.  It has been estimated that, as late as the beginning of the Second World War, 90% of all the nurses in the country, male and female, were Christians, and that about 80% of these had been trained in mission hospitals.

Harold Netland, Encountering religious pluralism:The challenge to Christian faith, 2001 and Vinoth Ramachandra, Faiths in Conflict?, IVP, 1999, pp.78-79

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Benefits of the gospel

September 10, 2009

…in the histories of Asia and Africa over the past 200 years, it is Christian medical missionaries who have frequently been the pioneers of rural health care systems, medical education for women, and other under-privileged groups, and the development of special medical techniques (for instance, reconstructive surgery for lepers) which 3rd world conditions required.

Vinoth Ramachandra, Recovery of Missions, p.57

The benefits of the gospel to China

September 10, 2009

During the 1894 China Japan war over Korea 200 severly wounded Chinese came to the CIM hospital in Chefoo (Yantai, Shandong) from Weihai. Arthur Douthwaite carried out emergency operations on 163 men altogether. At the end of the war a Chinese general came to the hospital, accompanied by a brass band and a unit of soldiers. He erected a gold-embossed inscription expressing the thanks of the Chinese army. When he heard that stone was needed to build a new school at Chefoo he arrnaged for it to be provided from an army quarry and transported by soldiers.

Roger Steer, Hudson Taylor, OMF, 1990, pp.339-340

Also, CIM missionaries John Jones and Hudson Taylor helped opium addicts break their addiction. ibid., pp.144, 156

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 law is spiritual

September 4, 2009

The little word “law” you must not take in human fashion, as a teaching about what works are to be done or not done. That is the way it is with human laws — human laws can be fulfilled by works, even though there is no heart in them.

But God JUDGES according to what is at the bottom of the heart, and cannot be satisfied with mere works. For even though you keep the law outwardly, with works, from fear of punishment of desire for reward, nevertheless, you do all this without willingness and pleasure, and without love for the law, but rather with unwillingness, under compulsion and if the law were not there you would gladly do otherwise. The conclusion is that you hate the law.

For this reason Paul says the law is spiritual. What is that? If the law were a human law, it could be satisfied with works; but since it is spiritual, no one can satisfy it, UNLESS all that you do is done from the bottom of the heart.

But nobody has a heart like that. Only the Holy Spirit can give a man such a heart. Thus it comes about that faith alone justifies a man and fulfils the law, for faith brings the Holy Spirit through the merits of Christ.

Martin  Luther, Preface to Romans

The Gospel Defined – Tyndale

August 27, 2009

Evangelion (that we call the gospel) is a Greek word and signifieth good, merry, glad and joyful tidings, that maketh a man’s heart glad and maketh him sing, dance, and leap for joy… [This gospel is] all of Christ the right David, how that he hath fought with sin, with death, and the devil, and overcome them: whereby all men that were in bondage to sin, wounded with death, overcome of the devil are without their own merits or deservings loosed, justified, restored to life and saved, brought to liberty and reconciled unto the favor of God and set at one with him again: which tidings as many as believe laud, praise and thank God, are glad, sing and dance for joy.

– William Tyndale, A Pathway into the Holy Scripture, 1531

Guilt unrelieved

August 25, 2009

 

…so we misbehaved

Next day at school, in order to be punished,

For punishment made us feel less guilty. Mother

Never punished us, but made us feel guilty.

Harry, THE FAMILY REUNION, Part II, Scene 1, T.S.Eliot

Could self-harm and self-destructive personal habits be a desire to punish ourselves and so relieve, to an extent, our feeligns of guilt?

Grace: What the Church can offer

August 25, 2009

The world can do almost anything as well or better than the church. There is only one thing the world can not do. It can not offer grace.

Gordon MacDonald, in Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace?, p.15

…as long as she remains true to her calling to proclaim and live out the gospel of grace instead of one of the many works-based alternatives around.

Becoming all things to all men

August 25, 2009

Surely no follower of this meek and lowly One will be likely to conclude that it is ‘beneath the dignity of a Christian missionary’ to seek identification with this poor people… Let us rather be imitators of Him (who washed His disciples’ feet).

We have to deal with a people whose prejudices in favour of their own customs and habits are the growth of centuries and millenniums. Nor are their preferences ill-founded. These who know them most intimately respect them most; and see best the necessity for many of their habits and customs – this being found in the climate, productions, and conformation of the people. There is perhaps no country in the world in which religious toleration is carried to so great an extent as in China; the only objection that prince or people have to Christianity is that it is a foreign religion, and that its tendencies are to approximate believers to foreign nations.

I am not peculiar in holding the opinion that the foreign dress and carriage of missionaries – to a certain extent affected by some of their converts and pupils – the foreign appearance of the chapels, and indeed, the foreign air given to everything connected with religion, have very largely hindered the rapid dissemination of the truth among the Chinese. But why need such a foreign aspect be given to Christianity? The word of God does not require it; nor I conceive would reason justify it. It is not their denationalization but their Christianization that we seek.

We wish to see Christian (Chinese) – true Christians, but withal true Chinese in every sense of the word. We wish to see churches and Christian Chinese presided over by pastors and officers of their own countrymen, worshiping the true God in the land of their fathers, in the costume of their fathers, in their own tongue wherein they were born, and in edifices of a thoroughly Chinese style of architecture.

It is enough that the disciple be as his master (Jesus Christ).

If we really desire to see the Chinese such as we have described, let us as far as possible set before them a correct example: let us in everything unsinful become Chinese, that by all things we may save some. Let us adopt their costume, acquire their language, study to imitate their habits, and approximate to their diet as far as health and constitution will allow. Let us live in their houses, making no unnecessary alterations in external appearance, and only so far modifying internal arrangements as attention to health and efficiency for work absolutely require.

James Hudson Taylor addressing a letter to all who would seek to join him in this new work in 1867. Source

It is wonderful to see God’s providence in granting Taylor’s wish for ‘churches and Christian Chinese presided over by pastors and officers of their own countrymen’ through the forced eviction of foreign missionaries by the communist regime. Could he have imagined that tens of millions would worship the true God in China as they do today?

The Gospel is the Cure for despair and pride

August 25, 2009

Some, who regard nature as incorrupt, while others as incurable, have not been able to avoid either pride on the one hand or sloth on the other (which are the two sources of all vice), since the only alternative they have is to give up through cowardice or escape through pride. If they realized the excellence of man, they would be ignorant of his corruption, with the result that they would certainly have avoided sloth, but then lapsed into pride. On the other hand, if they recognized that they managed to avoid pride, they would only fall headlong into despair.

Only the Christian faith has been able to cure these two vices, not by using one to get rid of the other according to the practice of worldly wisdom, but by driving both out according to the simplicity of the gospel.

Pascal