All Articles For Missionary Methods

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Several months ago we began a study of the book,The Planting And Development Of Missionary Churches, by Dr. John L. Nevius. Dissatisfied with the mission methods of his day (late 1800s) Nevius proposed a new method which has come to be known as the “Nevius method or plan.” The old plan depended largely on paid native preachers and evangelists and sought to foster and stimulate the growth and development of the native mission by pouring money into the work.

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The Word of God lays down the principle that the ministers of the Gospel must be supported by the churches which they serve. This principle was established already in the Old Testament era. When God gave to Israel the land of Canaan as a type of the heavenly Canaan each tribe and each family of each tribe was given an inheritance or allotted portion of the land. This portion was typical of each family’s eternal inheritance in glory.

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With this article we shall conclude our study of the views of Dr. John L. Nevius. The “Nevius Method or Plan” to which the growth of the Presbyterian Mission in Korea has been attributed may be summed as follows:  1) Missionary personal evangelism through wide itineration. This means missionaries should not remain in one group or congregation. They should preach the gospel from place to place and in as many places as possible. They should not become, in effect, pastors of the mission churches. 

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The Views of Rufus Anderson The Rev. Rufus Anderson (1796-1880), an ordained Congregational minister, was secretary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions from 1832 to 1866. Prior to this he served for fourteen years as assistant secretary to this board, and after his term in office he continued as an advisor to the board almost until his death. He was both a contemporary and friend of Henry Venn. His views and especially his “three self” formula influenced American missions until the end of World War II. (Cf. Rufus Anderson, R.

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In the previous three articles of this series we have examined some of the views of Rufus Anderson. Because it has been some time since this column has appeared we shall give a brief review of what we have discovered thus far in our study of Anderson. Anderson, like Henry Venn and John Nevius, was firmly convinced that the mission church should become self supporting, self governing, and self propagating as soon as possible. In this connection Anderson stressed that the sole aim of missions must be evangelization and not civilization.

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The point made in our last article is that the work of the missionary is to be distinguished from that of a pastor of an established congregation. The latter cares for a specific, settled congregation. He does so chiefly by the preaching of the Word. The missionary also preaches. This is his calling. But the missionary preaches to the unconverted. By this means Christ gathers His elect out of the nations. The aim or purpose of the missionary is that a congregation with its own officebearers, including a native pastor, may be established.

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In the previous article we noted that Rufus Anderson emphasized the absolute necessity of the preaching of the Word on the mission field. Without preaching, the church simply cannot be gathered. Because this preaching, as well as the work of elders and the ministry of mercy, must be done by native converts it is necessary that schools be established. In some fields it is a must that the Scriptures be translated into the native tongue.

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