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Missions 101

Posts By: Evan Burns

Spurgeon's Missiology: "Go and Teach Them"

Nov. 11, 2016By: Evan Burns

Charles Spurgeon equally upheld a passion for converting lost souls and for making disciples of all nations.  In his sermon on April 21, 1861, Spurgeon unpacked the role of teaching disciples in missions.  Here is an example of his missiology from the sermon entitled, “The Missionaries’ Charge and Charter”: 

First, my Brethren and very briefly, indeed, a few things about the COMMAND.

And we must remark, first, what a singularly loving one it is….  [Christ] says to His disciples, as He is about to ascend to Heaven, “All power is given unto Me in Heaven and in earth; go you, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” It is the voice of love, not of wrath. “Go and teach them the power of My blood to cleanse, the willingness of My arms to embrace, the yearning of My heart to save! Go and teach them. Teach them no more to despise Me, no more to think My Father an angry and implacable Deity. Teach them to bow the knee, and kiss the Son, and find peace in Me for all their troubles, and a balm for all their woes. Go—speak as I have spoken—weep as I have wept; invite as I have invited; exhort, entreat, beseech and pray, as I have done before you. Tell them to come unto Me, if they are weary and heavy laden, and I will give them rest…. 

Note, too, how exceedingly plain is the command, “Go you, teach all nations.”…  Why, it is the mother’s work with her child! It is the tutor’s work with the boy and with the girl—“go you and teach.” How simple! Illustrate; explain; expound; tell; inform; narrate! Take from them the darkness of ignorance; reveal to them the light of Revelation. Teach! Be content to sit down, and tell them the very plainest and most common things. It is not your eloquence that shall convert them; it is not your gaudy language or your polished periods that shall sway their intellects. Go and teach them. Teach them! Why, my Hearer, I say again—this is a word which has to do with the rudiments of knowledge. We do not preach to children; we teach them; and we are not so much to preach to nations; that word seems too big and great for the uncivilized and childish people; go you and teach them first the very simplicities of the Cross of Christ!...

I do not know whether all our missionaries have caught the idea of Christ—“Go you and teach all nations;” but many of them have, and these have been honored with many conversions. The more fully they have been simple teachers, not philosophers of the Western philosophy, not eager disputants concerning some English dogma—I say the more plainly they have gone forth as teachers sent from God to teach the world, the more successful have they been! “Go you, therefore, and teach.”… 

There has been heroism in every land for Christ—men of every color and of every race have died for Him; upon His altar has been found the blood of all kindreds who are upon the face of the earth. Oh, tell me not they cannot be taught! Sirs, they can be taught to die for Christ; and this is more than some of you have learned. They can rehearse the very highest lesson of the Christian religion—that self-sacrifice which knows not itself, but gives up all for Him. At this day there are Karen missionaries preaching among the Karens with as fervid an eloquence as ever was known by Whitefield! There are Chinese teaching in Borneo, Sumatra, and Australia, with as much earnestness as Morison or Milne first taught in China. There are Hindu Evangelists who are not ashamed to have given up the Brahmian thread, and to eat with the Pariah, and to preach with him the riches of Christ! There have been men found of every class and kind, not only able to be taught, but able to become teachers themselves, and the most mighty teachers, too, of the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ! Well was that command warranted by future facts, when Christ said, “Go you, teach all nations.”

 

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I Never Made A Sacrifice

Mar. 25, 2016By: Evan Burns

On December 4, 1857, David Livingstone, the great pioneer missionary to Africa, made a stirring appeal to the students of Cambridge University, showing that he had learned through years of experience what Jesus was trying to teach Peter: 

For my own part, I have never ceased to rejoice that God has appointed me to such an office. People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? Away with the word in such a view, and with such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger, now and then, with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause, and cause the spirit to waver, and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice. 

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Adoniram Judson’s Advice to Missionary Candidates (part 2)

Feb. 2, 2016By: Evan Burns

Continued from the previous post, these are the remaining five words of advice from Adoniram Judson for missionary candidates:

Sixthly.  Beware of the greater reaction which will take place after you have acquired the language, and become fatigued and worn out with preaching the gospel to a disobedient and gainsaying people.  You will sometimes long for a quiet retreat, where you can find a respite from the tug of toiling at native work—the incessant, intolerable friction of the missionary grindstone.  And Satan will sympathize with you in this matter; and he willScreen_Shot_2016-01-29_at_2.31.22_PM present some chapel of ease, in which to officiate in your native tongue, some government situation, some professorship or editorship, some literary or scientific pursuit, some supernumerary translation or, at least, some system of schools; anything, in a word, that will help you, without much surrender of character, to slip out of real missionary work.  Such a temptation will form the crisis of your disease.  If your spiritual constitution can sustain it, you recover; if not, you die.

Seventhly.  Beware of pride; not the pride of proud men, but the pride of humble men—that secret pride which is apt to grow out of the consciousness that we are esteemed by the great and good.  This pride sometimes eats out the vitals of religion before its existence is suspected.  In order to check its operations, it may be well to remember how we appear in the sight of God, and how we should appear in the sight of our fellow men, if all were known.[1]  Endeavor to let all be known.  Confess your faults freely, and as publicly as circumstances will require or admit.  When you have done something of which you are ashamed, and by which, perhaps, some person has been injured (and what man is exempt?), be glad not only to make reparation, but improve the opportunity for subduing your pride.

Eighthly.  Never lay up money for yourselves or your families.  Trust in God from day to day, and verily you shall be fed.

Ninthly.  Beware of that indolence which leads to a neglect of bodily exercise.  The poor health and premature death of most Europeans in the East must be eminently ascribed to the most wanton neglect of bodily exercise.  

Tenthly.  Beware of genteel living.  Maintain as little intercourse as possible with fashionable European society.  The mode of living adopted by many missionaries in the East is quite inconsistent with that familiar intercourse with the natives which is essential to a missionary.  There are many points of self-denial that I should like to touch upon; but a consciousness of my own deficiency constrains me to be silent.  I have also left untouched several topics of vital importance, it having been my aim to select such only as appear to me to have been not much noticed or enforced.  I hope you will excuse the monitorial style that I have accidentally adopted.  I assure you, I mean no harm.  In regard to your inquiries concerning studies, qualifications, etc., nothing occurs that I think would be particularly useful, except the simple remark, that I fear too much stress begins to be laid on what is termed a thorough classical education.  Praying that you may be guided in all your deliberations, and that I may yet have the pleasure of welcoming some of you to these heathen shores, I remain

Your affectionate brother,

A. Judson[2]



[1]Italics are original. 

[2] Edward Judson, The Life of Adoniram Judson (New York: Anson D. F. Randolf & Company, 1883), 578-579;  Francis Wayland, A Memoir of the Life and Labors of the Rev. Adoniram Judson, D.D. (Boston: Phillips, Samson, and Company, 1853), 2:39-41.

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Adoniram Judson's Advice to Missionary Candidates - Part 1

Feb. 1, 2016By: Evan Burns

After two decades on the mission field, Adoniram Judson wrote the following advice for missionary candidates to the Foreign Missionary Association of the Hamilton Literary and Theological Institution, N. Y. Maulmain, on June 25, 1832:

Dear Brethren….  In commencing my remarks, I take you as you are.  You are contemplating a missionary life.  

First, then, let it be a missionary life; that is, come out for life, and not for a limited term. Screen_Shot_2016-01-29_at_2.28.51_PM Do not fancy that you have a true missionary spirit, while you are intending all along to leave the heathen soon after acquiring their language.  Leave them, for what?  To spend the rest of your days in enjoying the ease and plenty of your native land?

Secondly.  In choosing a companion for life, have particular regard to a good constitution, and not wantonly, or without good cause, bring a burden on yourselves and the mission.

Thirdly. Be not ravenous to do good on board ship.  Missionaries have frequently done more hurt than good, by injudicious zeal, during their passage out.

Fourthly. Take care that the attention you receive at home, the unfavorable circumstances in which you will be placed on board ship, and the unmissionary examples you may possibly meet with at some missionary stations, do not transform you from living missionaries to mere skeletons before you reach the place of your destination.  It may be profitable to bear in mind, that a large proportion of those who come out on a mission to the East die within five years after leaving their native land.  Walk softly, therefore; death is narrowly watching your steps.

Fifthly.  Beware of the reaction which will take place soon after reaching your field of labor.  There you will perhaps find native Christians, of whose merits or demerits you cannot judge correctly without some familiar acquaintance with their language.  Some appearances will combine to disappoint and disgust you.  You will meet with disappointments and discouragements, of which it is impossible to form a correct idea from written accounts, and which will lead you, at first, almost to regret that you have embarked in the cause.  You will see men and women whom you have been accustomed to view through a telescope some thousands of miles long.  Such an instrument is apt to magnify.  Beware, therefore, of the reaction you will experience from a combination of all these causes, lest you become disheartened at commencing your work, or take up a prejudice against some persons and places, which will embitter all your future lives.[1]



 

[1]Edward Judson, The Life of Adoniram Judson (New York: Anson D. F. Randolf & Company, 1883), 577-578;  Francis Wayland, A Memoir of the Life and Labors of the Rev. Adoniram Judson, D.D. (Boston: Phillips, Samson, and Company, 1853), 2:38-39.

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The Ideal Missionary-Church Partnership

Aug. 28, 2015By: Evan Burns

Here is a sermon by Sinclair Ferguson, pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Columbia, SC.  The sermon is on the role of a missionary-sending church's partnership in the gospel from Philippians 4:10-20.  (It's interesting that Philippi was not even Paul's initial "sending church").  His exposition is quite helpful and very well-articulated. 

022215930-partnership-puzzle-conceptFerguson outlines a few principles from this passage that should instruct the partnership of churches with their missionaries:

  1. The church has a genuine care for the missionaries. 
  2. The church longs to find avenues by which that care might blossom in practical ways.
  3. The church wants to be generous and honoring to the missionaries.
  4. Not only does the church send their gospel-driven missionaries, they also send their very best ministers to care for the missionaries when times are tough.
  5. The NT practice of fellowship is not based on affinity, interests, or just hanging out.  The NT word for "fellowship" (koinonia) is chiefly used for partnership with a purpose.  In other words, true biblical fellowship comes from caring for one another in the context of partnership for a mission.

 

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