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All Articles For Lord Gave the Word

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There appears a far more comprehensive report of the actions and decisions of the 1964 Synod elsewhere in this issue of the Standard Bearer. But since the synod devoted much time to our mission program and mission efforts I would like to devote a little space to these matters. Those who were interested in the affairs of the synod have already asked, ‘What was done about Houston?,” or, ‘What are the plans for Jamaica?, or, ‘What about calling another missionary for the field of home missions?” These questions I want to answer and discuss briefly. 

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The question quite naturally is raised: Is it possible to preach human depravity from the pulpit, and, more specifically, on the mission field? Is it the proper approach to tell the unconverted sinner who is brought under the preaching of the Word that he is dead in trespasses and sins, incapable of any good, and prone to all evil? Still more, is it proper to declare to the unconverted that God does not offer salvation for man to accept, and that it is impossible for anyone to believe the gospel except by the regenerating and saving grace of God? 

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Those who defend a general, well-meant offer of salvation to all mankind also maintain that there is a certain ability in the unregenerated sinner to accept the gospel. An offer implies that one can accept or reject it; an invitation can be honored or turned down. And the ability, to accept or reject must necessarily lie with the person who receives the invitation. Therefore since the offer comes to every individual who hears the gospel, it must follow that all men have the ability to accept as well as to reject the gospel-invitation. 

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Ever since the fall in paradise, guilt-burdened sinners have asked in deep despair: “What must I do to be saved?  To that ever-recurring question there is always and can be but one answer: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” And those who heed that word receive the assurance: “Thou shalt be saved!”  This immediately calls to mind the well-known account of the conversion of the Philippian jailer as recorded inActs 16:25-34. 

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In the gospel according to John, John 21:3-14 (for text consult your Bible), we read of the third appearance of the resurrected Christ to His disciples. Each of these appearances is a manifestation of the risen Christ. According to vs. 1 Jesus showed Himself. That was necessary because He is now the resurrected Christ, and the former relationship to the disciples has been transformed. It’s the same Lord Jesus, only now He is raised from the dead.

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Recently, while perusing some of the many religious periodicals received at the seminary, the undersigned discovered two articles which give us some insight into the life and worship of the children of God in Communist China. For many years Communist China has been closed to missionaries, and severe restrictions were placed by the Communist government upon the church. These articles indicate that there is continuing fruit upon the labors of the missionaries of the past.

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J. H. Bavinck, the late professor at Kampen, the Netherlands, calls the Book of Acts “A mission document par excellence” (Introduction To The Science Of Missions). This is so very true. Anyone wishing to formulate a theology of missions could ill afford to ignore the Book of Acts. The Book of Acts has much to say concerning both the principles of missions and the proper method of performing mission work. Acts records the history of the early expansion of the church.

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In the previous articles we have been discussing the work of missions in the old dispensation. The question was raised whether we can properly speak of missions before the new dispensation, that is, before Christ gave the great commission and poured out His Spirit upon the church. The church of the shadows was limited within the narrow confines of national Israel. Those who were converted from heathendom were, for the most part, brought into Israel as proselytes of the gate. The same still applies to the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry.

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