Volume 7.1 / The "Nevius Method": Retrieving Theological and Missiological Criteria for Money in Missions


The "Nevius Method": Retrieving Theological and Missiological Criteria for Money in Missions

Joshua Bowman
This article argues that the “Nevius Method” of 19th-century missionary John Nevius is worthy of retrieval and application due to its apostolic roots, historical effectiveness, and contemporary relevance. Nevius was a gracious critic of the missiological methods of his day that regularly used finances to employ local believers to expand missions work. Nevius paid more than lip service to the 3-Self method of missions that advocated national churches be self-supporting, self-governing, and self-propagating. Nevius had a long-term outlook on how unwise financial practices would create dependency on support from foreigners. Ultimately, Nevius saw how questionable usages of finances would negatively impact the acceptance of the gospel and the growth of healthy, indigenous churches. This article shows how the Nevius Method provides theological and missiological criteria to help cross-cultural partners wisely steward financial resources.

1.    Introduction

In 1792, William Carey wrote an eighty-seven-page treatise on the theological and missiological necessity of the church using human and financial resources to spread the gospel to the world.[1] Carey awoke a sleepy church by providing theological evidence for the ongoing relevance of the Great Commission and practical strategies for sending missionaries through mission societies. However, while Carey brought attention to the necessity of using means, particularly financial resources, to propagate the gospel, he did not solve the ongoing question of the proper use of finances in the missionary task.

A contemporary evaluation of methods related to finances and missions could easily lead one to assume that each person is doing “what is right in his own eyes” (Judg 21:25). Some organizations herald the efficacy of national partners and insist that wise financial stewardship translates to foreign support of local pastors and evangelists.[2] On the other end of the spectrum are those who decry foreign economic interference because of the historical reality and contemporary possibility of paternalism and dependency.[3] Others acknowledge that cross-cultural missions necessitate financial involvement and simply advocate management of the inevitable risks.[4] Missionaries and churches need theological and missiological criteria to determine the impact of their financial stewardship.

John Livingston Nevius (1829–1893) was an American Presbyterian missionary to China during the nineteenth century. Surveys of the greatest Chinese missionaries include Nevius and note the impact of his methods on contemporary missions strategies.[5] Throughout his forty-year tenure, Nevius evaluated the effect of finances on the health and growth of local churches. Nevius critically evaluated financial strategies with an eye toward the long-term impact on Chinese disciples and their churches. Furthermore, he proposed alternative methods rooted in Scripture that proved successful in his mission field of Shantung. One of Nevius’ most significant contributions was the publication of a book entitled, The Planting and Development of Missionary Churches, which explains what is popularly known as the “Nevius Plan” or the “Nevius Method.” Retrieval of the “Nevius Method” provides theological and missiological criteria to determine the impact of finances, thereby enabling missionaries to exercise wise stewardship in their mission strategies.[6]

This article will begin by evaluating Nevius’ concerns and criticisms of the prevalent missiological methods of his day, which he labeled the “Old Method.” Then, special attention will be given to the pitfalls recognized by Nevius that relate to the financial support of local churches and mission agents. Finally, the article will propose retrieving the “Nevius Method” as helpful criteria for determining the wisdom and impact of financial involvement in missions today.

2.    Nevius’ Missionary Preparation and Initiation to the “Old Method”

Nevius was born in Seneca County, New York on March 4, 1829, into a family of Dutch descendants that attended a Dutch Reformed Church.[7] Nevius had little interest in spiritual things until he was twenty years old and showed “little evidence of serious life purpose.”[8] Then, in October of 1849, while Nevius was a teacher in Georgia, God answered his mother’s prayers as he surrendered to serve the Lord in ministry. He attended Princeton Theological Seminary from 1850–1853 and sat under noteworthy teachers such as Dr. Charles Hodge and Dr. Joseph Addison Alexander. Hodge’s interest in missions, along with the many missionary speakers at Princeton, had a profound and lasting influence on Nevius. In January 1851, he wrote in his journal, “I have now an object in life­­––the glory of God and the salvation of my soul and the souls of others.”[9] 

During his time at Princeton and through his courtship of Helen Coan, Nevius wrestled with where he would serve in ministry. In correspondence with Helen in November of 1852, he revealed, “the question is, Where can we do the most for our Savior, and where would he have us to go?”[10] The surrender of his will to the Lord’s direction in these early years would lead him to the foreign lands of China, Japan, and Korea for a forty-year missionary career. The direction of Nevius’ life was finally evident when he penned the words, “It is my purpose now, if I do not meet with providential hindrances, to be a missionary to Siam or China.”[11] The Presbyterian Board soon received and approved his application to serve in Ningpo, China, along with his new bride Helen, whom he married on June 15, 1853.

Nevius’ commitment to learn the Chinese people’s language and culture would later play a vital part in his assessment of missionary methods. Nevius showed by his arduous study and mastery of the Chinese language his resolve to know the people he came to serve. In fact, his wife asserted that “for ten years he did not read one English book except theological works and commentaries, so determined was he to gain adequate mastery of Chinese.”[12] These early investments of time and energy in language acquisition resulted in the publication of fifteen books in Chinese to encourage pastors and disciples. His English book, China and the Chinese,[13] also helped the western world develop “a greater appreciation of the Chinese, and furthered the study of China by scholars of the West.”[14]

During Nevius’ early ministry (1859–1868) in Ningpo, Hang-Chow, Chefoo, and Shantung, he engaged in preaching tours, literature distribution, and encouraging new believers. A typical year would mean Nevius would itinerate through rural villages for 2–3 months at two different times. He would often travel with a missionary companion and Chinese helpers, preach publicly in the market, and then meet privately with interested inquirers. Nevius reflected on these first missionary experiences throughout his time overseas. He eventually authored multiple articles for the Chinese Recorder, where he shared his missiological methods with a broader audience.[15]

As Nevius began his ministry among the Chinese, he also encountered the prevailing missionary methods of his day, which he later labeled the “Old Method.” His contemporaries tended to employ local evangelists and pastors to carry on much of the work. Nevius quickly diverged from popular missionary assumptions and advocated for different methods for developing local leadership and truly indigenous churches. He believed that leaders should come from the local fellowship, receive support from the local church, and have minimal control from outsiders who might foster unhealthy dependence, financially or otherwise. Nevius says the main characteristic of local churches is that “the principal care of them is intrusted [sic], not to paid preachers set over them and resident among them, but to leaders belonging to the stations. These leaders are simply church members among church members, pursuing their daily calling as before conversion.”[16] The theories Nevius employed in the early days of his ministry would be further refined and called the “Nevius Method.”

3.    Nevius’ Critiques of the “Old Method” of Finances

John Nevius cautiously and kindly trod into debates about missionary methodology, exhibiting a spirit of humility that avoided antagonism while still communicating his core convictions. Upon the request of the editor of the Chinese Recorder, Nevius wrote a series of articles about his work in Shantung that later became the book, The Planting and Development of Missionary Churches.[17] The following quote reveals Nevius’ desire to edify the church and positively influence the work of missions: “I desire, however, to write, not in a spirit of a critic, much less of a censor, but as one earnestly desirous of knowing the truth.”[18] Even when engaged with critics of his methods, such as Dr. Calvin Mateer, “Nevius was so fair to his opponents that friction was reduced to a minimum.”[19]

Nevius not only sought to expose the weaknesses of this old strategy but provided a more theologically and missiologically strong alternative. The Old System was “depending largely on paid native agency, while the latter [New System] deprecates and seeks to minimize such agency.”[20] Nevius saw that the “Old System strives by the use of foreign funds to foster and stimulate the growth of native churches in the first stage of their development, and then gradually to discontinue the use of such funds.”[21] Economics was not the only critique, but it was prominent as Nevius said the Old Method makes free use of “paid colporteurs, Bible agents, evangelists, or heads of station; while the New proceeds on the assumption that the persons employed in these various capacities would be more useful in the end by being left in their original homes and employments.”[22] The common goal of both Systems was “ultimately the establishment of independent, self-reliant, and aggressive native churches.”[23] The point of contention was the use of foreign funds in reaching this common goal. Nevius asserted that “the relative advantages of these systems may be determined by two tests – adaptability to the end in view, and Scripture authority.”[24]

Upon arrival to the mission field and discerning spiritual darkness, Nevius acknowledged, “it is only natural that missionaries should at first seek and employ many native agents. They are anxious for immediate results.”[25] Furthermore, Nevius expressed concern by stating that “with these strong motives in the minds of the missionaries and natives conspiring to the same result, it is not without excuse that we should have fallen into what I now believe is a serious mistake, utterly unaware of the danger and injury to the mission cause.”[26] Seven pages of Nevius’ short book, The Planting and Development of Missionary Churches,  are devoted to addressing objections to this Old System that include: envy, jealousy, and the dissatisfaction of new converts; the danger of pride and arrogance with paid agents; the difficulty in knowing the motives and truthfulness of paid agents; the danger of introducing a mercenary spirit, the danger of stopping voluntary work and hurting the multiplication process; and the possibility of encouraging “Rice Christians.”[27] Nevius was disappointed in the result of this Old Method of missions and accordingly witnessed how “the Old System has been gradually discarded because it did not work, or because it worked evil.”[28] While admitting that some positive outcomes resulted from the Old System, Nevius believed the dangers and actual harm outweighed any temporary benefit.[29]

The theological basis for Nevius’ convictions about not employing pastors by missions organizations came from I Corinthians 7:20, which says, “Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called.” Nevius desired to leave new believers in their family relationships and areas of influence without introducing foreign control or dependence. Nevius wrote concerning this Scripture in Corinthians, “It teaches most emphatically that Christianity should not disturb the social relations of its adherents, but requires them to be content with their lot, and to illustrate the Gospel in the spheres of life in which they are called.”[30] Nevius looked to Paul, who was careful not to take money from new believers so that he could not be accused of preaching for personal gain. Nevius sought to avoid the danger of false zeal motivated by financial gain by refusing to employ new believers.[31]

4.    Nevius Proposes and Implements the “New Method”

Nevius defined positive principles of missionary work that would lead to healthy indigenous churches and long-term sustainable growth. Charles Allen Clark, in his book, The Nevius Plan of Mission Work: In Korea, provides a helpful and concise summary of Nevius’ most significant principles:

I. Missionary personal evangelism with wide itineration.

II. The Bible central in every part of the work.

III. Self-propagation: every believer a teacher of someone, and a learner from someone better fitted; every individual and group seeking by the “layering method” to extend the work.

 IV. Self-government: every group under its chosen unpaid Leaders; circuits under their own paid Helpers, who will later yield to Pastors; circuit meetings training the people for later district, provincial, and national leadership.

V. Self-support: with all chapels provided by the believers; each group, as soon as founded, beginning to pay towards the circuit Helper’s salary; even schools toreceive but partial subsidy, and that only when being founded; no pastors of single churches provided by foreign funds.

VI. Systematic Bible study for every believer under his group Leader and circuit Helper; and of every Leader and Helper in the Bible Classes.

VII. Strict discipline enforced by Bible penalties.

VIII. Co-operation and union with other bodies, or at least terriorial [sic] division.

IX. Non-interference in lawsuits or any such matters.

X. General helpfulness where possible in the economic life problems of the people.[32]

Nevius knew that if the gospel was to grow, “the extension of the Church must depend mainly on the godly lives and voluntary activities of its members.”[33] These two elements, the godly lives and voluntary activities, are vital to understanding the Nevius Method. Therefore, all members were encouraged to witness and not leave proclamation to a few individuals employed by foreigners. It is for this commitment to financial autonomy that Nevius is most famous, and this principle is “regarded as the most important by Nevius’ disciples and indeed, point 4 [self-support] is usually emphasized as the most characteristic of his method.”[34]

Nevius showed a commitment to a robust ecclesiology as he deferred to the local church on whether or when to call and support a local pastor.[35] His concern for Biblical grounding in his methods is also evident when he writes, “I can find no authority in Scriptures, either in specific teaching or Apostolic example, for the practice so common nowadays, of seeking out and employing paid agents as preachers.”[36] By advocating that pastors of local churches remain in their present employment, Nevius did not automatically expect these men to receive salaries or full support.[37] Thus, foreigners were bypassing the system that God ordained and seemingly were depriving local churches of the joy and blessing of supporting their spiritual shepherd. Furthermore, “a one-sided and unnatural relation is introduced of people and pastor depending on foreign aid, which works evil rather than good.”[38]

Missionaries are not capable of forcing the hand of God to move, but they can disrupt movements of the gospel by unwise or ill-advised plans. Nevius sounded an alarm against selfish motives and methods when he wrote: “The natural tendency to depend on self, or on anything else rather than God, has been a prominent sin of God’s people from the earliest of times. I am disposed to think that this tendency now prevails to a great extent among Christians at home and that missionaries commence work in foreign lands too much under the influence of it.”[39] Nevius desired to see missionaries weigh their zeal, good intentions, and access to monetary capital in light of the long-term effects that would impact the fulfillment of the Great Commission. What this missionary to China had done was to demonstrate “several examples of how the hiring of national agents had complicated and compromised Gospel proclamation in his field of activity, China.”[40]

At the heart of all Nevius did was gospel proclamation, and historians have said, “the notable thing about the Chefoo work is its extent and the unresting itinerating of Dr. Nevius and Dr. Corbett.”[41] The purpose of his mission work was to glorify God; Nevius simply wanted to avoid any discernable mistakes that might inhibit the gospel's spread.[42] Nevius wrote to young missionaries regarding the primacy of itineration: “While the labors of this Apostle [Paul] were largely made up of teaching, preaching, and writing, itinerating may perhaps be regarded as the distinguishing feature and that to which he was specially set apart by the Holy Ghost.”[43] He encouraged these new missionaries to travel two by two with native helpers to visit markets and public places where they could sow the Word widely.[44]

This itineration with young leaders was part of an intentional plan of training and testing potential pastors by adding to their responsibilities and measuring their faithfulness.[45] This led to the focus of systematically studying the Scripture for every believer as they continued their discipleship. This focus on the Bible yielded spiritual fruit by the use of “six kinds of studies . . . learning to read, memorizing Scripture, reading Scripture in course, telling Scripture stories, learning the meaning of Scripture, and reviews of former exercises.”[46] Nevius implemented this training of Chinese believers by visiting their villages twice a year, inviting leaders to his home in Chefoo for 4–6 weeks for more concentrated study, having Sunday School classes in the churches, and using catechisms and literature for further studies. Special attention was also given regarding persecution, keeping the Sabbath, and dealing with sin through church discipline.[47] Nevius’ intentional discipleship and theological training of leaders in the church provided the Biblical depth and internal motivation for Chinese pastors and evangelists to propagate the gospel and lead local churches themselves.

5.    Impact of the “Nevius Method” in China and Korea

Harold Lindsell clarifies the motives that impacted missionaries in the days of Nevius and that continue to impact contemporary missionaries when he writes,  

His major temptation is eagerness to see things done. He wants results. While this characteristic of the western mind has worked for great good, the same characteristic can work real harm. The missionary wants a home. He wants a church building. He wants a school building. He wants colleagues (even when they are nationals) to assist in the work. This takes money. The nationals rarely have enough money to do what it has taken even western Christians years to do. But the missionary either has money or can get money from his constituency at home because of their interest in “foreign” missions. He wants folks at home to know that he has done something concrete. And what is more concrete than buildings which can be photographed, and large staffs which can be shown the friends at home who expect him to produce results and that quickly?[48]

These motivations often combine with the good intentions of taking the gospel to the unreached and doing this expediently and economically. Since the time of Nevius, advocates of employing national missionaries have argued the following: national missionaries are cheaper to support than westerners, they know the language and culture of the people, they can access countries where foreigners are not permitted, and nationals who would not be involved otherwise can be enlisted.[49] Nonetheless, others have argued similarly to Nevius that missionaries should not hire local workers. Some downsides of employing nationals include lack of Biblical precedent, flight of believers from their villages, jealousy of nationals over salaries, creation of mercenaries instead of disciples, difficulty in assessing genuine spiritual candidates, lack of healthy accountability, bypassing of local church stewardship, control by the salary provider over the leader, financial motivation for people to convert, and financial incentive to be evangelists.[50]

Many of these ideas were prevalent in both China and Korea as Nevius’ views were becoming public. Nevius’ own Presbyterian Mission incorporated a few of his proposed changes, “but the key element that called for the use of unpaid Christians rather than salaried agents was too radical a change.”[51] One evaluation of this period stated:

“Self-support” remained during these years an elusive target. It was the goal to which all gave lip service but it was assumed that its achievement lay in the distant future. In the meantime there was no alternative to the building of churches and the employment of church workers with American money. A lone, dissenting opinion was registered by the Rev. John L. Nevius.[52]

For Nevius, this plan worked quite successfully. In seven years, sixty new meeting locations began, and over one thousand people received baptism.[53]

Although other missionaries did not extensively test Nevius’ methods in China, his principles have received the widest acclaim because “for forty-six years it [Korea] has followed that method more completely than any other mission in the world. It has tested the methods under many difficult and changing conditions, and has found them to stand the test of practical experience.”[54] Missionaries in Korea around 1890 were under considerable stress because of inadequate financial resources and limited personnel. A paradigm shift occurred when Nevius accepted the offer to teach his missionary principles in Korea.[55] In evaluating the reasons for the success of the Nevius method in Korea, Roland Allen, and Charles A. Clark came to similar conclusions regarding the importance of Nevius’ methods.[56] The Korean Church placed a heavy emphasis on Biblical literacy and because of this enjoyed “a whole army of lay assistants who shouldered the main burden of parish work and evangelism without over-burdening the Mission or the young Church financially.”[57]

Nevius intended for his methods to be implemented in whole and not in part, and in Korea, where this occurred most completely, there was tremendous success. In Korea, self-support was one of the original founding principles that served as a guide to missionary work.[58] After meeting with Nevius, the Presbyterian missionaries in Korea were thoroughly persuaded. Clark reported:

So convinced were they that they adopted them practically in toto for themselves, and then, in order to indoctrinate members of the Mission who might arrive in later years, they passed a rule that every new missionary, upon arrival, should be handed a copy of the Nevius book, and be required, at the end of his first year, along with his examination on the language, to show he also had come to understand the Principles.[59]

Missionary field practitioners and students of the history of missions today will find the writings and principles of John Nevius relevant to contemporary questions discussed from Africa to Asia. Accolades continue to be given to the work of Nevius as “the entire missionary body regarded him as one of the strongest representatives of the Protestant enterprise.”[60] Nevius reminded the world of the job of the missionary when he wrote in 1872:

His special business is to plant independent, self-supporting Christian institutions, and to raise up a native ministry. One of his most important duties is that of teaching and training native Christians to rely upon themselves and Christ rather than the foreign missionary, and of devolving work and responsibility upon them just as fast as they can bear them.[61]

6.    Criteria for Evaluating Financial Impact and Stewardship

As missiologists evaluate and retrieve elements of the “Nevius Method” for contemporary application, Nevius himself sought to retrieve the methodology of the apostles for his day. By learning from Nevius, missiologists are more likely to avoid many financial pitfalls and better steward the limited resources at their disposal. The criteria that missionaries should retrieve from the Nevius Method come from a long-term concern for setting precedent that leads to faithful gospel proclamation, healthy church growth, and local ownership of the missionary task.

6.1 Faithful Gospel Proclamation

Nevius wanted to ensure that money was not the fuel for nationals to proclaim the gospel nor the hope for missionaries in reaching the nations. While Carey had to argue in 1792 for using means in missions, financial means have often become an idol and led to unhealthy outcomes. Missiologists today should, at a minimum, acknowledge the temptation to inject finances with the hopes of expediting spiritual results. Furthermore, missiologists may need to admit that they have succumbed to the same “Old Methods” that Nevius critiqued one hundred fifty years ago.

The “Nevius Method” challenges missiologists to consider how the precedents of their financial strategies will impact the motivation for missions and the testimony of both the witnesses and their message. Since money affects the heart, and since this impact is not always easily discernible by the recipient or benefactor, both parties should proceed with caution. Poor precedents and practices erode trust between one national and a fellow national whose conversion he seeks. Nationals may doubt the truthfulness of a message that spreads only because the evangelists are paid agents. Furthermore, nationals may see the foreign missionaries as mere pay agents who disrupt local cultures.

If the gospel is going to bring transformation, then both the message and the messenger must inspire trust and confidence. Unfortunately, financial involvement has an uncanny ability to create doubt and suspicion from both inside and outside the church. Mission strategists who are historically unaware may unwittingly create dependency, control, and false expectations in their cross-cultural partnerships with nationals. Nevius encouraged precedent that depended on the gospel's advancement based on the godly lives of local believers and their voluntary activities. Considering the historical impact and likely future impact of poor financial stewardship should lead missiologists to construct their strategies carefully.

6.2 Healthy Church Growth

By retrieving the “Nevius Method,” missionaries should consider the impact of finances on the ecclesiology and missiology of the churches they help plant.  Nevius popularized existing notions of a church that is self-propagating, self-supporting, and self-governing. In many ways, the emphasis on the 3-Selfs during the 1800s was a reaction against missionaries and their agencies' unhealthy control of churches. Missionaries today should take the 3-Selfs as a minimal marker of church health and not an absolute marker. The absence of outside influence in local churches is essential, but other markers of a healthy church should also be present.

Nevius instructs missionaries today to reject strategies that create dependency or perpetuate control by introducing and maintaining foreign funding. A particular criterion from Nevius would be to steer away from paying for local church buildings or the salaries of local pastors. A very unhealthy dynamic exists when a local church pastor reports to an outsider for his livelihood instead of the sheep he oversees. In addition, Nevius alerts missionaries that jealousy, pride, and laziness are potential results of outside funding at the local church level. Finally, expectations of financial partnership in the expansion of gospel ministry can cripple growth as voluntary activities grind to a halt in anticipation of payment for participation in mission.

6.3 Local Ownership of the Missionary Task

The “Nevius Method” is so much more than a rejection of poor missiological principles; it embraces methods that lead to local acceptance and pursuit of the Great Commission. Poor financial strategy is one of the surest ways to excuse national believers from participating in this mission. It is hard for those in impoverished areas to endure hardship and make personal sacrifices when the missionary seems to pay others to do the work. It is easy for local church members to expect their foreign-paid pastor to evangelize and do the work of ministry since he is getting a salary.

While results from the “Old Method” of paying local leaders may be more immediately visible, Nevius reminds missionaries that the total pool of agents suffers long-term. Missionaries in Nevius’ time were slow in passing the baton of leadership to national brothers and sisters. Dependency, paternalism, and control are all words that describe the unhealthy relationships that were too often the reality. Missionaries lauded partnership and collaboration, but sponsorship and paternalism were too often the reality. Instead, the goal is to work and partner so that local believers embrace their responsibility as owners of the mission task for their people and the nations.

7.    Conclusion

The world has profoundly changed since the times of John L. Nevius. However, missionaries continue to wrestle with similar questions of how to steward the financial resources entrusted to them considering the command to preach the gospel to every people. “What John Nevius and his colleagues advocated in those simple articles 115 years ago seems uncannily contemporary, for the principle of not allowing pecuniary gain to hinder or distort the message of the Gospel still applies today, as it did then, and as it did 2,000 years ago.”[62] Further attention and application of these challenging principles to modern missions are encouraged by the history and evaluation of their implementation in the past.

[1] William Carey, An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians, to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens (London: 1792).

[2] K. P. Yohannan, Come, Let’s Reach the World: Partnership in Church Planting among the Most Unreached, rev. ed. (Carrollton, TX: GFA Books, 2004), 47, 53, 94, 134, 144, 152, 205. Yohannan would be on one end of the spectrum advocating the withdrawal of Western missionaries in order to financially support indigenous missionaries.

[3] John Rowell, To Give or Not to Give?: Rethinking Dependency, Restoring Generosity, and Redefining Sustainability (Tyrone, GA: Authentic, 2007).

[4] Mary T. Lederleitner, Cross-Cultural Partnerships: Navigating the Complexities of Money and Mission (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2010). Lederleitner assumes that money will flow in cross-cultural partnerships and offers parameters for accountability in order to build integrity and trust.

[5] Gerald H. Anderson et al., eds., Mission Legacies: Biographical Studies of Leaders of the Modern Missionary Movement, ASM Series, No. 9 (New York: Orbis, 1996), 190.

[6] John L. Nevius, The Planting and Development of Missionary Churches (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1958).

[7] Helen S. Coan Nevius, The Life of John Livingston Nevius: for Forty Years a Missionary in China (New York: Revell, 1895), 20. Helen Nevius also authored another book in the early years about their lives and ministry. Helen S. C. Nevius, Our Life in China (New York: Hurst, 1868).

[8] Anderson, Mission Legacies, 190.

[9] Nevius, The Life of John, 73.

[10] Nevius, The Life of John, 96.

[11] Nevius, The Life of John, 106.

[12] Harlan P. Beach, Princely Men in the Heavenly Kingdom (New York: The Young People’s Missionary Movement, 1907), 114. Helen Nevius, The Life of John, 140.

[13] John L. Nevius, China and the Chinese: A General Description of the Country and Its Inhabitants; Its Civilization and Form of Government; Its Religious and Social Institutions; Its Intercourse with Other Nations; and Its Present Condition and Prospects (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1868).

[14] Kenneth Latourette, A History of Christian Missions in China (London: SPCK, 1929), 436.

[15] John Theodore Mueller, Great Missionaries to China (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1947), 115.       

[16] Nevius, The Planting, 32.

[17] Nevius, The Planting, 7.

[18] Nevius, The Planting, 9.

[19] Beach, Princely Men, 137. Anderson, Mission Legacies, 195. Anderson identifies that, “His most severe critic was Dr. Calvin Mateer, who did not favor Nevius’ concept of workers supported by the local congregation instead of receiving a salary from the mission.” 195.

[20] Nevius, The Planting, 8.

[21] Nevius, The Planting, 8.

[22] Nevius, The Planting, 8.

[23] Beach, Princely Men, 123. Beaver, To Advance, 24. The Three-Self Model includes self-support, self-government, and self-propagation.  Wilbert R. Shenk, “The Origins and Evolution of the Three-Selfs in Relation to China,” International Bulletin of Mission Research 14.1 (1990), 28. Charles Allen Clark, The Nevius Plan for Mission Work: Illustrated in Korea (Seoul: Y.M.C.A. Press, 1937), 17–19. Clark evaluates the Nevius Method in the light of its success in Korea and evaluates the reasons as the methods of the three-self model plus the “universal use of the Bible in every part of the work.” 19.

[24] Nevius, The Planting, 9.

[25] Nevius, The Planting, 11.

[26] Nevius, The Planting, 12.

[27] Nevius, The Planting, 12–18.

[28] Nevius, The Planting, 9.

[29] Nevius, The Planting, 10.

[30] Nevius, The Planting, 19.

[31] Nevius, The Planting, 21, 25.

[32] Clark, The Nevius Plan, 42.

[33] Nevius, The Planting, 58.

[34] Peter Beyerhaus and Henry Lefever, The Responsible Church and the Foreign Mission (Grand Rapids, MI: World Books, 1964), 92.

[35] Nevius, The Planting, 64.

[36] Nevius, The Planting, 59.

[37] Nevius, The Planting, 65.

[38] Nevius, The Planting, 64.

[39] Nevius, The Planting, 85.

[40] Douglas Rutt, “Hiring National Missionaries: A Good Idea?” Missio Apostolica 10.1 (May 2002), 6.

[41] Robert E. Speer, Presbyterian Foreign Missions: an Account of the Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (Philadelphia, PA: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1901), 127.

[42] Nevius, The Planting, 1. Bruce Hunt in Preface to 4th edition, 1.

[43] Nevius, The Planting, 77–78.

[44] Nevius, The Planting, 78–81.

[45] Nevius, The Planting, 26–27.

[46] Nevius, The Planting, 39. Parallels might be drawn to contemporary methods of missions including Training for Trainers (T4T), Chronological Bible Storying (CBS), and other Church Planting Movement (CPM) strategies that utilize oral methods that include repetition, accountability for obedience to prior lessons, reproducibility, and the expectation of knowing and sharing acquired materials with others outside the group.

[47] Nevius, The Planting, 45–50.

[48] Harold Lindsell, Missionary Principles and Practice (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell, 1955), 307.

[49] Rutt, “Hiring National Missionaries,” 7–8.

[50] Rutt, “Hiring National Missionaries,” 8–11.

[51] G. Thompson Brown, Earthen Vessels and Transcendent Power: American Presbyterians in China, 1837–1952 (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1997), 85.

[52] Brown, Earthen Vessels, 70.

[53] Brown, Earthen Vessels, 85.

[54] Clark, The Nevius Plan, 17.

[55] Everett Nichols Hunt, Protestant Pioneers in Korea (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1980), 77.

[56] Clark, The Nevius Plan, 19. Beyerhaus, The Responsible Church, 94.

[57] Beyerhaus, The Responsible Church, 95.

[58] Clark, The Nevius Plan, 269.

[59] Clark, The Nevius Plan, 85. The book distributed to new missionaries was John Nevius’ The Planting and Development of Missionary Churches.

[60] Beach, Princely Men, 137.

[61] Nevius, China and the Chinese, 352.

[62] Rutt, “Hiring National Missionaries,” 12.


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