It has been a pleasure and encouragement to meet brethren in the Philippines and have the opportunity to work with them in the spread of the Gospel. Like other American preachers before me, a matter of great concern to me has been the number of Filipino preachers who work with little or no financial support for their labors. Time has not only caused me to appreciate the sacrifices of such men, it has also caused me to view the problem from the opposite standpoint, that of brethren in the U.S. Several preachers in the Philippines are supported by brethren or churches in America, but only a small percentage of faithful Filipino brethren receive such support. Still other Filipino brethren have sought support for their work and have not been successful. They have preached for years while supporting themselves by whatever means available and such men are worthy of our love and respect because of their sacrifices in serving the Lord without complaint.
Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: American Christians’ Support of the Gospel in the Philippines
The Power of the Gospel in Foreign Evangelism
In our last article we considered the power of the gospel in the mission field in its ability to convert the lost and guide them in the ways God would have them to go. In this article we would like to look at that power in the protecting, correcting, and equipping of God’s people. The purpose of both of these articles is to show how the gospel can do today what it did in the first century. Just as the gospel is all-sufficient in converting the lost so does it contain everything necessary to the needs of the growing Christian (2 Timothy 3:16-17; James 1:21). It is especially important to remember this in our day in light of the drift of some towards a subjective approach and others into emphasis on psychological needs of people (this is not to question that people have psychological needs).
It is the will of God that those converted by the gospel be taught to “observe all things, whatsoever [Jesus has] commanded” (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:20). Let us now study some applications of these requirements. Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: The Seed is the Word of God – 2
The Power of the Gospel in Foreign Evangelism
In the parable of the sower Jesus pictured the seed being sown on all soils (Matthew 13:3-9). In explaining his parable he showed the seed to be the word of God and the soils to be the hearts of men (Luke 8:11-12,15; Matthew 13:19). His words teach us that the word of God must be sown in order for a soul to react to it. Later, in giving the great commission, Jesus told his disciples, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). As the power was in the seed in the parable of the sower so the power is in the gospel to change the hearts of man (Romans 1:16, cp. Psalm 19:7). All of God’s work in making the salvation of man possible depends on his word being spread to mankind, the objects of his love (John 3:16). It is the offensive weapon (as opposed to defensive) in the Christian’s armor, "living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword" (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12). It will bring forth fruit to the glory of God wherever men hear and obey it (Colossians 1:6). In this article we would like to look at the going forth of the word in the first century giving particular attention to the various manifestations of its power.
Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: The Seed is the Word of God
(Truth Magazine, November 1957, Vol. II, No. 2, page 3)
In 1915 the Gospel Advocate published several special articles on missionary work, as well as other subjects. These articles were reprinted the following year in two volumes entitled Christian Treasures. Excerpts from these books should be of interest to us today because they remind us of the wonderful progress that the gospel has made since that time in many sections of our nation. They should also serve to encourage all who are laboring in places where the cause of Christ is weak and where growth seems extremely slow.
At that time John E. Dunn reported that to his knowledge "there are but two sections of country in the world that are fairly well evangelized. They are Middle Tennessee and Central North Texas." He then added, "There is one sad – very sad – condition in both of these districts. Nearly all the churches and preachers are at ease in Zion. They are very much like the church at Laodicea. (Rev. 3:14-22). O, for more zeal, sacrifice, and consecration after the type of Paul and Timothy."
Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: Forty Years Ago and Now
The Mennonites are a sect that still exists in countries around the world. We would like to focus our attention in this article on those who moved to Russia in the late 1700’s. Let us first set forth a little background information on the Mennonites as a religion. The Mennonites grew out of a group known as the “Anabaptists” in the Protestant Reformation. In Switzerland,
When the brethren rejected infant baptism, insisting instead on baptizing only those who freely chose to commit themselves to the discipline and fellowship of the body of believers, they affirmed in a new (and for that time very radical) way the separation of church and state. The first adult baptisms took place on 21 January 1525, when Conrad Grebel baptized George Blaurock in the home of Felix Mantz.
Opposition to the movement was intense and immediate. The brethren were mockingly called Anabaptists (meaning “rebaptizers”). The civil and religious authorities first sought to counter the vigorous and vociferous preaching of the Anabaptists with imprisonment and banishment. When these measures failed to quiet the radicals, the sentence of death was imposed. On 5 January 1527, Felix Mantz, an articulate, educated student of Hebrew, was drowned in the Limmat River in Zurich. Thousands of Anabaptists would suffer similar fates before the end of the century.1
The name “Mennonite” came from the prominent Anabaptist preacher and leader, Menno Simons. Simons founded churches in the Netherlands and Northwestern Germany.2 For the purpose of this study it is important to note some of the bedrock beliefs of the Mennonites. They were pacifists, refusing to bear arms, hold political office, swear oaths, including oaths of loyalty to a state, and to sue in courts of law. When the Mennonite-Brethren Church later a adopted a creed in the late 1870’s statements for footwashing, and against military service and taking oaths were included therein.3 One outstanding theme of Mennonite history is migration. They moved often, mostly to avoid persecution and to gain religious freedom. These moves led them to various parts of Europe and North America. Their move to Russia (the first group arriving in 1786) was motivated by a number of things, the desire for religious freedom, promises of free land and freedom from military service. Some thought the anti-Christ would soon arise and decided to a await the “Parousia” of Christ in Russia.4
Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: Odyssey of the Mennonites in Russia
This article is being written as the build up for the assault on Iraq seems to be nearing its completion. The U.S. and Great Britain have assembled many of their best troops to accomplish their mission. While not much is said about it, there are vast numbers of people in both countries of acceptable age who are not taking part in this effort. Among this number would be those unfit for military service due to some physical or mental condition. Likewise, those with a crippling fear of war or those unable to conscientiously take part in military service would not be found among the ranks in the Gulf. Suffice it to say that not everyone can go fight in war. There is a spiritual application of this truth.
The Lord gave the greatest commission of all time (Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15-16). It is vitally important that the lost learn about the grace of God manifested in Christ’s blood that they may be saved from eternal damnation (Rom. 3:23-25; Eph. 2:8-9). Much effort, in both the first century and since, has been put into carrying out this “Great Commission” (Acts 2-19; Col. 1:23). In light of all this, it is sad to say that, just as in the case of important military service, there are those unfit for duty in carrying out the Great Commission. Let us pause to reflect on the necessity of noting this fact.
Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: Some Who Should Not "Go Into All The World"
Three separate missionary journeys of Paul are recorded in the book of Acts. Fortunately for Paul, he had some experience with traveling before his first preaching trip (Acts 9:30; 11:25). However, the logistics of travel were not the only obstacles that he had to surmount in his work of spreading the gospel in foreign lands. Please notice the following account from Acts 18:
Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: Maybe Some Need This
Churches in many places in the U.S. have been harmed by preachers who have been involved in immoral relationships with women. Most preachers who have preached for any length of time have probably been involved in some kind of effort in reaction to damage done by such sins. Beyond the damage done to churches and Christian families, the Lord’s cause in many places has received serious set backs due to the sins of the very ones supposed to be furthering it.
With the above facts in mind, one can understand that preachers must take extra care to guard against such sins while working in foreign countries. Such a man is often the first Christian many people in foreign countries see. His example must be one that conforms with the holy life and teaching of Jesus (1 Pet. 1:16; 1 Cor. 6:9-10). Also, experience has taught me that many people in foreign countries will watch Americans more attentively than they will those of their own nation. They will note inconsistencies between one’s profession and practice. Sadly, the devil takes no holidays. Hence, the dangers presented by the opposite sex are common to all cultures, some, of course, more than others.
Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: Guarding Against Immorality in the Mission Field
Hill Roberts’ Work in Russia
A report on a missionary trip to St. Petersburg, Russia, was recently brought to my attention. It was written by brother Tom Couchman and detailed efforts in which he and brother Hill Roberts had taken part, and was posted on brother Roberts’ web site. (To access the article, click here. If the "Enter Network Password box comes up, click cancel, and the article should still load. At the time this article was posted to Watchman Magazine, the mentioned article was still available on the Lord I Believe site). Note: Some of you may remember that brother Couchman circulated a response to the open letter which was sent to Florida College regarding its use of Hill Roberts in their lecture program ). Though somewhat dated (the trip took place Feb. 17-25, 2001), this report should be of interest to all who hold the cause of Christ in foreign lands near and dear. This is because it involves compromises that most of us will find hard to believe. Without further ado, let us notice a couple paragraphs from brother Couchman which tell of the brethren with whom he and brother Roberts worked while in Russia:
Continue reading » A Matter of Serious Concern
Boon for Foreign Workers
One thing that most foreign workers have had to do without is a goodly portion of their library. Those who have either worked in mission fields or visited brethren in such places know of the relatively small number of books most brethren can bring with them. Postage rates and other logistical considerations generally limit brethren to two or three shelves of books at most. Indeed, a good Bible student may find that his personal studies, class and sermon preparation suffer to a certain extent while in the mission field. Also, such a one finds himself without resources to which he has become accustomed when difficult questions arise in Bible studies with other people. The steady progress made in electronic media and data storage in recent decades has brought a marked change in this area.
Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: The Internet and Bible Software
From our earliest experiences in Lithuania we have been confronted with the extreme poverty of many people there. While things have slowly improved over the years it is clear that the changes of the early 1990’s came too late for many Lithuanians. This is likely also the case in other East European countries. The majority of the people above the ages of 40-45 have found it difficult to adapt to life in a market economy. Pensions and social help pay the barest minimum. Work opportunities are scarce. Further, opportunities are certainly not abundant for those of a more marketable age. Meanwhile, all face the normal expenses life brings upon one. One sees many beggars on the streets. Also, street work, such as we do there, brings one into contact with all classes of people, including beggars. If there has ever been a visit there where I have not helped some poor person(s) financially it escapes me at this time. I always bring some of my own money (as apart from the money I raise from churches to pay my expenses) along when I go there with this in mind and helped several poor people during my most recent time there. Hopefully, the above lines have turned the reader’s mind to a subject that cannot help but trouble those who contemplate it – and that from several aspects. It is our purpose in this article to discuss different Bible texts and some facts relevant to the poor and the Christian’s responsibility to them in the mission field.
Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: "Ye Have the Poor Always With You"
(June 01, 2001) The regional duma (parliament) of Belgorod region, approximately 450 miles south of Moscow, has passed a local law sharply restricting missionary activity. The new law is supported by the local Orthodox bishop and the governor, but opposed by Belgorod’s Protestants, some of whom have already had it applied against them.
According to Keston News Service, a Pentecostal church was denied permission for public events in the city center in April as an official claimed the possible presence of children without written permission of their parents meant the events would violate the law, although the Orthodox had no problems holding public Easter celebrations with children present.
Unlike many similar local laws in Russia, "On Missionary Activity on the Territory of Belgorod Region" is not just confined to foreign citizens, although they are specifically prohibited from conducting missionary activity if they have come to Belgorod for a different reason.
Residents of other Russian regions intending to carry out missionary activity in Belgorod must also submit to the local authorities a document confirming their affiliation to a particular religious organization, a copy of their invitation to the region, an itinerary of their stay, and proof of local registration.
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Joe R. Price
This reminds me of the visionary "invitation" (plea) to Paul to "come over to Macedonia and help us" (Acts 16:9-10). I don’t think Paul said, "No, you have to first send us a written invitation before we can preach in your country!" He instead concluded "that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them." Paul and Silas would be thrown into prison there, accused of teaching "customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe" (Acts 16:21). Nevertheless, the Lord blessed their work (Acts 16:25-40).
Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: Russia – Belgorod Applies Anti-Missionary Law
Christ’s giving the Great Commission is a natural consequence of his mission while on earth. He gave it after he had conquered man’s two greatest enemies, sin and death (John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 15:20). The commission aims at the spreading of this wonderful news to the lost of this world. (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-47). What is involved in carrying out the Great Commission?
Overcoming Contrary Emotions
In reading the accounts of the giving of the commission, the transformation that took place in Jesus’ disciples is sometimes overlooked (Cp. Mark 16:14; John 20:19). They went from being full of doubt, unbelief and fear to bold proclaimers of Jesus’ words (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:10-12; Acts 2-3). Everyone who endeavors to teach others will undergo a similar change. This is so in a special sense for those who would preach in another country. At least, I found it so.
Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: Fulfilling the Great Commission
The Bible records the birth of Jesus and some of the events surrounding it (Matthew 1-2; Luke 2:1-20). As other articles in this special issue of Watchman Magazine show, it was never the expressed will of God that Jesus’ birth be remembered in any way other than the study of it in his word. In light of this fact it is simply amazing how many traditions, religious and otherwise, have grown up around the supposed “birthday” of Jesus Christ. The limited research done by this writer revealed some interesting facts on this matter.
Continue reading » Christmas Traditions
(Providing for the Spiritual Needs of Remote Converts)
Last month we looked at the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch. After the account of his conversion in Acts 8 the Ethiopian Eunuch disappears from the pages of inspired history. We are simply told that, "he went on his way rejoicing" (v. 39). We assume he went back to his home in Ethiopia and back to his work as treasurer of Candice, queen of that country (v. 27). However, in light of his character, we are led to wonder about his future as a Christian and the future of the Lord’s work in Ethiopia.
Our purpose in asking the question contained in our title is not to direct attention to the eunuch specifically or engage in needless speculation. Rather, we seek to use him as an example of cases we sometimes face in mission work today. Specifically, that of people we convert who live far removed from us as well as other Christians of whom we may be aware. There have been a number of cases. Some are converted via Bible correspondence courses, others on a visit to a location where lectures are being held or where a church exists. Still others have been converted by a short-term preaching effort in their locale. After conversion such people are very much like the eunuch would have been in Ethiopia in that they find themselves nowhere near other Christians. How can we help such babes in Christ grow and prosper in the Lord? We offer several suggestions.
Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: What Became of the Eunuch?
People often comment on how much things change with the passing of time. We also see this with things found in the New Testament. Many things we find therein are very different from what we see in modern day religion. A good example of this is seen when we compare cases of conversion from the book of Acts with some modern day concepts. Let us read of the case recorded in Acts 8:26-39:
Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: The Conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch
The account of Jesus’ feeding the 5,000 is the only miracle to be recorded in all four of the Gospels. Luke’s account of this miracle reads as follows:
"And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing. And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place. But he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes except we should go and buy meat for all this people. For they were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company. And they did so, and made them all sit down. Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude. And they did eat, and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets." (my emphasis, sw)
The apostles saw the multitude and saw their need. Jesus abundantly fulfilled the needs of these people. He gave "meat for all this people." Let us first understand the purpose of this miracle and then we will draw some pertinent lessons on foreign evangelism from the words which make up the title for this article.
Continue reading » White Unto Harvest: Meat For All This People
On August 25-26th, 2000, two of our institutional brethren squared off in a discussion on marriage, divorce and remarriage. The two disputants were Holger Neubauer, assistant to the president at Tennessee Bible College in Cookeville, TN, and James Maxwell, vice-president of Southwest Christian College in Terrell, TX. The debate took place in Monroeville, AL and was sparked by differences among brethren in a church there.
The propositions and content of the debate are pertinent to issues facing conservative brethren. On Friday evening, the proposition was,
The Holy Scriptures teach that Non-Christians in an adulterous marriage can repent and be baptized and continue in the marriage, being sanctified and justified.
Brother Maxwell affirmed and brother Neubauer denied. On Saturday afternoon, brother Neubauer was in the affirmative on the following proposition:
The Holy Scriptures teach that repentance requires that Non-Christians in an adulterous marriage sever the marriage before being baptized.
Hopefully, this review will be a helpful contribution to the study of this issue. Brother Neubauer was well prepared and thorough in both the negative and affirmative. In his defense of error, brother Maxwell made some arguments worthy of attention if only for the purpose of preparing brethren to answer them. This review is intended as an overview of the debate, rather than a point by point report. Continue reading » A Review of the Neubauer-Maxell Debate on Marriage, Divorce & Remarriage