All Articles For Smit, Richard J.

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Previous article in this series: October 1, 2022, p. 16. That the missionary should strive to establish an indigenous church which is self-supporting, selfgoverning (in the biblical sense), and self-propagating is certainly correct, biblical methodology. With this no one ought [to] have any quarrel.1 Previous articles in this series have shown that we may certainly agree with Prof. Decker’s statement that there ought to be no quarrel against this correct, biblical methodology regarding the goal of foreign mission work. We have shown in previous articles by an overview of some historical examples that this biblical methodology has been widely received...

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Greetings in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of the harvest, from the City of Antipolo in the province of Rizal of the Philippines. Here is an update regarding our labors in the past several months. 2022 furloughs My family enjoyed our furlough from May 31 to July 28, our first since being called back to labor here in December 2017. Rev. and Mrs. Daniel Kleyn enjoyed their furlough from July 11 to August 30. When thinking about our respective furloughs in June to August 2022, now seemingly long passed already, I was reminded of a comment about furloughs in...

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Previous article in this series: April 1, 2022, p. 302. At the end of the previous article in this series, we mentioned that the goal of the three-self formula for an indigenous church is Christian. Thereby, it was asserted that a healthy, indigenous church institute that is self-propagating, self-supporting, and self-governing manifests consistently that she is a prophetic, priestly, and royal institution of Jesus Christ in the earth. This assertion, that the local church institute has been ordained by Christ as His royal priesthood that proclaims His wonderful works, is supported by Scripture when it describes the church as “…a...

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Previous article in this series: March 15, 2022, p. 274. According to our examination of the historical examples in foreign missions of a commitment to the three-self formula, the three aspects of this formula should be somewhat familiar. However, it is beneficial that we have a clear description of the self-government, self-support, and self-propagation of an indigenous, autonomous church institute that functions faithfully in obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ. First, what is the “self-government” element of the three-self formula? As defined by Robert Decker,1 self-government means that in the biblical and confessional sense…each congregation is under the care of...

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Previous article in this series: February 1, 2022, p. 213. A third example of the PRCA commitment to the threeself formula in foreign missions is the PRCA work in the Philippines. After five years of developing individual contacts and groups by delegation visits, the PRCA Synod in 2001 declared the Philippines a PRCA mission field and approved the calling of a missionary to serve there. Synod appointed Doon PRC (IA) the calling church. In 2002 Doon called and sent Rev. Audred Spriensma, with his family, to begin mission labors in Manila, centering on the Berean Church of God (Reformed-BCGR) in...

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Previous article in this series: January 15, 2022, p. 185. A third example of the PRCA’s commitment to the three-self formula in foreign missions is her work in Ghana, West Africa. After many years of contact with individuals in Accra, Kumasi, and some other places in Ghana and according to the reports of several emissaries that visited these contacts in Ghana in the early 1990s, in June 1996 synod approved opening Ghana as a PRCA foreign mission field and the sending of foreign missionaries to Accra, Ghana. Synod appointed Hull (Iowa) PRC as the calling church. Hull PRC called and...

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Previous article in this series: September 1, 2021, p. 474. A second example of the PRCA commitment to the three-self formula in foreign missions is the PRCA work in Singapore. After several years of developing contact with the Gospel Literature and Tracts Society (GLTS) of Singapore, in 1979 synod approved the calling of a missionary to serve in Singapore. It was clear to the synod that the GLTS needed, as they earnestly requested, a missionary to preach the gospel to them and to instruct them in the Reformed faith and practice for the goal of the establishment of an indigenous...

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Previous article in this series: April 1, 2021, p. 308. Evidence of the PRCA’s commitment to the three-self formula can be observed in the synodical decisions and missionary reports of the PRCA’s foreign mission work. Growth in the understanding of the three-self formula and a commitment to it is evident in PRCA’s past mission work in Jamaica, the first of four examples I will reference here. Initial involvement of the PRCA in missions in Jamaica began in 1962. At some time in that year, the Mission Committee (which in years later became known as the Domestic Mission Committee) was contacted...

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Previous article in this series: December 15, 2020, p. 138. A fourth example is the foreign mission work of the Netherlands Reformed Churches (NRC) in Irian Jaya in the 1960s and 1970s. The NRC was not the only Reformed denomination laboring in that part of Indonesia, but the NRC published a small book about their mission work that gives some helpful insight into their methods and goal—a work that was truly foreign, that is, among people who in their generations had never heard the gospel. The book, Mission on Irian Jaya: Church Visitation and View of Building and Destruction of...

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We look now at a selective overview of the history of the embrace and use of the three-self formula in Reformed foreign missions. The first example is the mission work of the Reformed Church in America (RCA) in its Arcot mission field in India, which began in the 1820s.1 This date is significant because it pre-dates the influence of Venn, Anderson, Nevius, and Allen in Protestant foreign missions in the late 1800s and early 1900s, which indicates that some sense of the three-self formula already existed among Reformed missionaries and the calling churches at the beginning of their work in...

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