All Articles For Lord Gave the Word

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In our first article on this subject we considered what is the primary responsibility of the individual believer. Three introductory observations were made. First, every true believer is concerned with and desirous for and prays for the growth of the church of Jesus Christ. From this perspective it is easy to see that this is true of the believer in the established congregation as well as in the mission field.

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. Continuing our study of the preaching of the Apostles we concentrate our attention on the second sermon of the Apostle-Peter recorded in the Book of Acts. This sermon is recorded in chapter three verses twelve through twenty-six. (Since the passage is too lengthy to quote in its entirety the reader is asked to consult his Bible.) It is our thesis that the church in its mission work today must follow the same pattern laid down by the Apostolic Church. The church, also today, must preach the gospel, herald the good news, evangelize.

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The reader will recall that we are involved in an analysis of the significant little book, The Planting And Development of Missionary Churches, written by the seasoned Presbyterian missionary of nearly a century ago, Dr. John L. Nevius. Nevius contended that the new converts should not be employed and paid by the mission for the work of preaching and evangelism. They should rather be left in their stations in life and encouraged to leave a witness to the Gospel by word and deed.

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As I sit at my typewriter in the comfortable study of my home in the Beckwith Hills subdivision of Northeast Grand Rapids to write these articles on Missionary Methods I often feel rather uneasy. To write about the principles of missions as these may be gleaned from Holy Scripture is not difficult. But to write about how these principles ought to be implemented on the mission fields both here in North America and abroad is not so easy.

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In the previous article we faced the question: Along what lines ought the native church be organized? Missionaries usually do not face that question very seriously. They simply assume that the mission church ought to be organized in the same fashion as the sending church. If the missionary is Presbyterian he organizes the mission church upon Presbyterian principles of church government. The Anglican missionary organizes the mission church according to the Episcopal form of church government. Dr. Nevius thinks this is wrong.

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Los Angeles – With all the news about the survival of Christianity in Communist China, it is important to realize that there are two kinds of churches in China today, not just one, a noted China watcher said here.  The Rev. Silas Hong, executive director of United Evangelism to the Chinese, based here, warned those trying to make contact with Christians in China that there is an official, government- sanctioned church in China which may not represent the Gospel for the purest of motives. 

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As we continue our study of the missionary preaching of the Apostles we wish to concentrate on the preaching of the Apostle Peter to Cornelius and his household. The familiar narrative is found in the tenth chapter of the Book of Acts. Cornelius, a devout man who “prayed to God alway,” was an officer in the Roman army who resided in Caesarea.

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In previous articles we have distinguished among the various aspects of the church’s missionary task. There is mission work which must be done among the heathen. Missionary efforts must be directed toward the Jews who are the natural branches of the olive tree of God’s church (cf. Romans 11). There is also mission work to be done among what we termed, “covenant wanderers.” ‘This latter work we prefer to call evangelism, or Reformed evangelism.

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In the previous article we dealt with the question: upon what system of church government ought mission churches to be established? In that connection we rejected the position of John L. Nevius who contented that the mission church ought to have the form of church government which is dictate by her needs and peculiar circumstances. (Cf. Planting and Development of Missionary Churches, pp. 55ff.). We emphasized that the Reformed or Presbyterian form of church government is based on sound, biblical principles which belong to the eternal truth of God’s Word.

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