Missionary Servanthood and Practical Authority
By R.E. (Bob) Patenaude
It has come to my heart to write some things regarding relationships and means of cooperation between local church pastors in their churches in the United States and missionaries (especially foreign missionaries, but also "home" missionaries) who labor to win the lost, baptize and plant churches.
It would have been, perhaps, inappropriate for me to write or to speak on many of these things even fifteen years ago. At that time, though I had pastored in the United States, I was still lacking sufficient personal experience on the foreign field. I needed to go through certain experiences, tackle some difficulties, suffer some losses, enjoy some victories and learn some lessons. I needed to see some souls come to Jesus Christ and see some men trained under my own ministry. I needed to see underground churches established in a Communist country, and one free church built in the Philippines. I needed to learn more about working with men and with people in general. I needed to learn more about when to become indignant about the wrong (doctrine, methods, attitudes, cultural characteristics, etceteras) around me, that I knew I could and should influence, without losing compassion and longsuffering. I'm still in school, but I believe I, by the grace of God, handle these things a little more wisely now. I hope I do. Fifteen years ago I was (properly so) more limited in the ways I could approach pastors in the United States on some subjects, even though I had then already gained five years of experience in the pastorate in Florida. I felt I had to be much restrained, so as not to appear to be arrogantly instructing the pastors.
Now, at fifty-one years of age, and in my thirtieth year in the Gospel ministry, as a pastor, evangelist and foreign missionary, it is time for me to write and to speak. My wife and I have already raised several of our own seven children to adulthood, and seen them go on to serve the Lord. One is on the foreign mission field. Another, at this writing, is newly wed to a foreign missionary. A third, yet unmarried, our Christian poet laureate, is active in the Lord's work. I believe that now I would be derelict in the performance of my calling if I do not say more to American pastors (as well as to missionaries) that will help them to better understand missions and missionaries.
This first issue, we hope, will stir interest in its readers, especially among pastors and missionaries. We invite both pastors and missionaries to write to us with proposed contributions for a second edition. We welcome all questions and comments as well.
Are Missionaries Ministers, or are they Lackeys?
God-called missionaries are neither lackeys nor hirelings of American pastors or of American missionary agencies or their directors. The key expression here, of course, is God-called. We need God-called men. Missionaries must be God-called. Missionaries are not "poster children" to be used to ensure the success of any pastor's (or mission board director's) perception of what a local church (or agency) missionary program ought to be. I say that the missionary is not a lackey. But perhaps I should say that if a pastor treats a missionary as a lackey, and if that missionary responds like a lackey, then he is a lackey. But the missionary is not supposed to be a lackey; he is not called of God to be a lackey to any man (Galatians 1:10). The God-called missionary is a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ with a biblical commission and with a message (2 Corinthians 5:18-21; 1 Corinthians 9:16), just as authoritative as those of any man in the bishop's (pastor's) office.
Pastors should expect missionaries to be humble men of prayer, men who read and study God's word for wisdom, men who labour in word and doctrine, men who know how to find the will and direction of God-men who will preach and serve Christ above all human expectation, and sometimes in opposition to human expectation (James 1:5; 3:13; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:14 through 4:5). Pastors should also expect missionaries to be true men of courage and bearing, and not men who cower in the presence of pastors with the thought of pleasing them just for monetary support. Have you ever met a chameleon pastor, evangelist or missionary? One who changes his colors depending on the particular pastor or "camp" of pastors he happens to be with at any one given place or event? What a pathetic creature-the chameleon missionary! As solid Bible-believing pastors expect other pastors to be men of truth and conviction, they should expect missionaries also to be of such character!
Missionaries, especially veteran missionaries, ought to be the teachers of missions. We attend many missions conferences around the United States in which the missionaries in attendance are mere display items, something like the objects on the missionaries' own display tables. The missionary: the oddity; the eccentric. Pastors will sometimes invite men to be the main speakers who have never spent any time on any foreign mission field or planted a church anywhere. The missionary is sent off abroad and entrusted to learn another language, win native people, plant national churches, train national preachers, establish Bible colleges. Seemingly, however, missionaries can't be entrusted with more than ten minutes in the pulpit at a missions conference. Missionaries are preachers, or they ought to be preachers, and we will say more about that later on in this booklet. Missionaries themselves ought to be the teachers of missions to the churches.
Sending Church Examination of Missionary Candidates
To say that a missionary is not a lackey to any man does not deny the authority of the church, nor does it encourage missionaries to shun accountability to the church. A missionary's pastor ought to be a man willing to bring the missionary home, if necessary, for discipline, should a missionary be guilty of immorality, gross impropriety, heresy, or other failure to qualify for the ministry as per 1 Timothy chapter 3, 2 Timothy chapters 3 and 4, Titus chapter 1, Acts 20 and other passages.
Speaking of church authority, the missionary's sending church should have understood the calling of God upon the missionary's life, and should have approved of the character of the missionary and his family from the outset. The church had the prerogative to deny its endorsement to the missionary candidate, at the beginning, if it could not discern that the man was qualified, was adequately mature, and was enabled by God's Holy Spirit. Did the missionary candidate not adequately demonstrate his call? If he did not, the church had the duty to defer in sending him.
1. Was the candidate weak in his Bible study and sermon preparation?
- 2. Could he not preach?
- 3. Was it not clear what his doctrine was, or what would be the message he would deliver to the unconverted in the place to which, he declared, God had called him?
- 4. Was there a weakness in the testimony of the family, observed in the temperament or behavior of the children?
- 5. Was the wife not in submission to her husband?
- 6. Was there a less than honorable report with regard to the missionary candidate's handling of money, property or other resources?
- 7. Could he not settle acceptably with creditors?
- 8. Did the candidate seem to have a problem getting along with people?
- 9. Could he not esteem others better than himself (1 Timothy ch. 3; Titus ch. 1; Philippians 2:3; etc.)?
If the church was burdened with any apprehensiveness in spirit over the idea of sending forth the missionary candidate, and yet at the same time might have been happy to see him go someplace else, it had no business acting as the candidate's sending church. There are cases in which churches have sent out missionaries because they thought it better for the missionaries and their families to be gone from them; there was a clash of personality and spirit between the candidates and the churches. The churches thought, "Well, if we send them out, they might do better elsewhere, and we won't have to put up with their incompatibilities here." It may not be hatred or meanness, and perhaps no damage is intended, but it is a pathetic reason for sending out a missionary and his family! In such a case there is no legitimate endorsement at all.
A missionary, called of God, will be a man who must go to where God has called him; seen by the church as a man who can not be shackled to the church-they must let him go, and yet the thought of his departure be deeply saddening to the church family. If a missionary candidate and his family are not genuinely beloved by the church, endorsement should be withheld. In fact, it is more loving and more honest to withhold endorsement from a missionary candidate and a family that does not engender love and respect among the church family.
All of that being said, let's consider the right kind of missionary candidate. He is the candidate who:
(1.) has a clear testimony of being regenerated-saved.
(2.) has an obvious call to the Gospel ministry.
(3.) meets the qualifications found in 1 Timothy chapter 3 and Titus chapter 1.
(4.) has a biblical understanding of God's purposes in the Church.
(5.) has a separated lifestyle with the right spirit about it (not a Pharisee).
(6.) he demonstrates that obvious call of God to the Gospel ministry, he is doctrinally sound, studies the Scriptures and obeys them, prays, has a spiritual bearing, can preach and teach effectively, etceteras;
(7.) loves souls-goes after them to win them to Christ;
(8.) has his own house in order;
(9.) is considerate of others-helpful, cooperative;
(10.) is honest and frugal in financial dealings; has a good report of them which are without, pays his bills and tithes.
(11.) is beloved of God's people in the church; the (biblical, godly) church can hardly bear the thought of him and his family departing for the field.
When such a man is obviously called and enabled by God, where is there any purpose in him being a lackey to any man? Why would any pastor or mission board director treat another servant of the Lord, so mature, as though he is not mature? And if the candidate is not mature, then why is the church sending him? Why is the agency endorsing him, Ah(!), unless they want him for a man whom they can control for their organization-building purposes?
To say that a missionary is not a lackey to any man is also not to encourage arrogance or disrespect on the part of the missionary. The missionary should be thoughtful, kind and respectful to all: to his own pastor, to other of God's preachers, to God's people. Any missionary who does not demonstrate loyalty and respect toward his own pastor should never be sent out by the church. What we are talking about here is the missionary being filled with, and walking in, the Spirit (Ephesians 5:17, 18; Romans 8:5). We are talking about the missionary praying, and knowing and obeying the will of God, instead of operating under the pressures commonly associated with seeking and maintaining monetary support levels. Getting financial support, or keeping it, is secondary to the missionary's personal walk with Christ, and being moved in his daily life and ministry by God's Holy Spirit.
Let us not encourage arrogance or disrespect. Young missionaries! Listen to your pastor! Listen to older men, especially to experienced and spiritual veteran missionaries. For example, listen to them about support levels. There are young families who take off for the mission field with great zeal, exuberance and desire to serve the Lord and then find that they've gotten to the field severely under-supported. If you are a single young man, and you want to take great risks (the modern vernacular is "living on the edge"), and you feel that you can trust God, then go ahead and leave for the Amazon Rain Forest with no support. God can supply! We've seen Him do it. We have heard, and we believe, the wonderful testimonies of some who have done it just that way. If you have a wife and children, however, you must know also that you are required, for good testimony, to provide for your home (1Timothy 5:8). Don't damage your wife's health or your children's health, and don't erode your wife's confidence in your leadership as her husband and her children's father by dragging them to the mission field just barely to survive. Ask your pastor and veteran missionaries (ones with experience on your field) to help you to set an appropriate support level. Use the wisdom of older, experienced men, pray over it, and then obey the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
Young missionaries: To learn from the wisdom of your pastor and other elder men in the ministry is not what makes you a lackey-it is what makes you smart and wise, provided those men are spirit-filled men, and provided their advice is consistent with Bible principles. "Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment." (Job 32:9) So, men who might be esteemed in our independent Baptist movement as "great men" are not always wise men. Only those who get their wisdom from above (James 3:17) are to be listened to. But we will assume for the present discussion that if you are willingly serving under your pastor, and you have asked your church to send you forth as a missionary, than you must admit to their having the necessary wisdom from above. Therefore listen to your pastor! Ask him for his help and for his counsel, and receive it humbly and graciously.
Dear Pastors, if you have no experience serving on any foreign mission field, please seek the advice and counsel of older mature missionaries, and of pastors who are former missionaries, as you attempt to advise missionaries whom you are sending forth from your church. And let me add that you may not always be able to depend on mission boards or agencies for correct information, especially if they are the kind that are in a self-serving organization-building, leadership-aggrandizing mode. As a local church pastor, having a biblical office, you should discern the difference.
Missionary Husband is Head of His Own Home
Let me respectfully say something more to pastors about missionary families. I am speaking about a missionary husband who is, biblically, the head of his own home. I am talking about a missionary husband and wife who are, biblically, to be one flesh. I am talking about a missionary father who is, biblically, responsible to God for the bringing up of his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I am talking about a missionary wife who is supposed to be in submission to her own husband. I am talking about missionary children who are supposed to honor their mother and father (Ephesians 5:22 through 6:9). The institution of the home came before the institution of the local church and before the authority of the local pastor. God set up the home first. When God calls a man to go to the mission field, He does not tell that man to surrender the authority he has in his own home over to his pastor, or to a mission board director. The pastor cannot become the missionary wife's husband or the missionary children's father. The pastor has authority, but he can never, biblically, become "Daddy" to any family in his church, other than his own, not even to the missionary families being sent out of the church.
If a missionary candidate, and/or his wife, are too immature to make sound family decisions, then, by no means endorse their ministry or allow the church to send them forth. Observe whether the missionary acts biblically as the head of his own wife (Ephesians 5:22ff). Once the church has evaluated the missionary family and has agreed to send them forth, the pastor should avoid making any stipulations or setting any rules that tend to weaken the missionary husband's position in his own home, or make it appear as though the pastor has become some kind of indispensable "God-father" to that home. No missionary should surrender his own wife's confidence in his leadership by complying with rules and stipulations that are not actually biblical mandates, but are just organizational or procedural whims of the pastor (or mission board). If the missionary himself cannot see that a pastoral (or board) requirement is mandated in the Scripture, and the missionary feels it, for any reason, to be detrimental to his home or his headship therein, the pastor (or mission director) should avoid making it a requirement. Okay, the pastor has the prerogative to recommend no endorsement from the church for non-compliance by the missionary, but the missionary husband/father first stands before God with regard to being the head of his own wife and home.
We are very aware that young preachers sometimes need pastoral counsel and guidance with regard to their homes. But, Pastor Brother, if one of your preacher boys needs you to help him "Daddy" his family (or his finances), he is not ready to be sent out to churches on deputation, much less ten or fifteen thousand miles away to a foreign field.
Further, if one of your young preachers wants to go to the mission field and one or more of his children are rebellious, troublesome or nuisances, or even just too rowdy, please, please, do not send that family out! It only takes one child getting out of hand to completely destroy the testimony of God's work on a foreign mission field and destroy the ministry of that family. Make Daddy be Daddy before he takes his family out on the road or to the field.
If the missionary candidate and his wife are a little older and have teenage children, the church is wise to evaluate the spiritual condition of the children and their submissiveness to the will of their father. This is an area at which the pastor and the church had better look at very hard! What attracts the missionary candidate's children? Are they trendy; trying to be "cool?" Are they always trying to be with other young people who have questionable character and behavior? What about their hair styles and dress? Do the daughters wear alluring clothing? Do the sons like to expose their chest and wear hip-hugging jeans, thinking he will attract the girls? Yes these things are gauges or indicators that need to be monitored by the missionary's church and pastor. If you believe that the lures to immoral behavior among young people are everywhere in the United States and effective for the devil, you have seen nothing(!) until you see Satan's devices against teenagers in Pagan countries where there has been little or no affect of the Scriptures and Bible preaching in history.
But, if the missionary candidate is obviously the head of his wife and home, if his finances are in order, and if his children are under control, submissive and of good behavior, then don't try to act as a second "Daddy," over-reaching in your authority.
Filling a Calendar, or Fulfilling God's Will?
Years ago, when I was a young pastor, my family and I attended a camp meeting in Jacksonville, Florida one winter. During one session the moderator invited an older, tall, lanky man, a veteran missionary to Indians in Mexico, to come to the platform and to preach. What a blessing! What a help this older missionary was to our hearts. After that session, I approached that missionary with a calendar in my hand, hoping to book him for a meeting at our church, one hundred miles away. I wanted our people to hear the testimony of this man. I asked him if he could book a date with me, but he firmly declined to set a date. He said, "Brother Pastor, my wife and I get up early on Sunday mornings and we pray as to where God would want us. If and when God sends us to your church, you will see us. We will pray for you, and ask God whether it is His will for us to visit your church." He took my name and address. I was very surprised, but instantly knew that I was in the presence of a man who walked with God, and that a spiritual walk was more important to him than any purpose he might have to raise more support, or to get meetings. That older missionary was one who did not view pastors as "holders of the purse strings." He was not arrogant, although some might have taken him that way. He was walking with God. And, by the way, that older missionary brother and his wife did show up at our church one Sunday morning, and he was certainly the help and blessing we expected that he would be. That older brother came by just when God sent him. We had been preparing a constitution and set of by-laws for the church and we asked him to read them and give us counsel. His advice was invaluable.
How Do Pastors View Missionaries?
One of my supporting pastors, while we were having dinner together in a restaurant in southern Indiana (December, 2006), gave me his observation of missionaries thusly:
- 1. Some are missionaries;
- 2. some are moochinaries;
- 3. some are vacationaries; and
- 4. some are stationaries.
In his view, then, there are some true missionaries. There are some, by his observation, who are traveling the country mooching or begging. Then he sees some who are having a grand extended vacation financed by the churches. Finally, according to him, there are those who claim to be called of God into missions who are doing absolutely nothing and going nowhere. This pastor is an experienced man and the church he pastors has generously supported missions. The good brother got these impressions some place, observing some missionaries. I don't believe for one moment that this pastor is anti-missions or anti-missionary. His comments are from honest observation of the lives and ministries of many missionaries.
There are some men in the pastorate who have dishonored the office, and there are some men in the field of evangelism who have brought reproach upon that calling. So are there missionaries, so called, who have lived and operated so as to discredit all missionaries in the eyes of pastors and churches.
Now please consider these two negative views that many pastors have toward missionaries: (1.) As subordinates, underlings or hirelings; (2.) as fundraisers.
Pastors do meet many young men just starting out on what is known as "deputation." Often these young men are recent graduates of Bible college. Perhaps they have served an internship under a pastor but they are still lacking some much needed experience in the ministry, and in life.
Mind you, it is preferable that missionaries go to the mission field when they are young, especially if a foreign language is to be learned proficiently. J. Hudson Taylor (19th century) would not accept any missionary candidates for China over twenty-five years of age, because he felt that it would be too difficult for them to learn to speak and read Chinese above that age threshold. Missionaries who must adapt to exotic circumstances or disciplines (diet, housing conditions, climate, language, culture, other) fare much better and stay at it longer if they start out young.
Also consider that for health and longevity reasons, it is preferable for men and families to go to the foreign fields when they are young. Let's face it-we get old quick. People age quicker, too, under pressures existing in many exotic cultures. Missionary families will be able to adapt much easier when they are young. This missionary-author was already thirty-four years old when he arrived in China. Sure, it could be said that I was at my prime, but I was already on the down-hill side of prime! For health reasons I often say, "Oh, that I was in China at age twenty-four!" Now I am fifty-one years old, and during a physical examination I just underwent (February, 2007) here in China, the physicians made recommendations that I didn't like hearing. All of their comments had to do with treating the consequences of aging and having been through the rigors and pressures that would have been better taken ten to twenty years earlier. I am saying that it would have been better, even for my health and longevity of service, had I begun on the foreign field as a much younger man.
There are some in America, however, who will not accept a young minister. I remember how that at age twenty-four, when I had been preaching the Gospel only a couple of years, an older pastor in California asked me to preach one Sunday evening. I did. That next week, while visiting together, he counseled me, "Son, don't be surprised or discouraged if people, in general, don't readily accept your ministry until you reach age thirty or so." I found that to be wise counsel. The priests of Israel began their ministries at age thirty. The Lord Jesus, Himself, began His public ministry at age thirty. I understand the problems of young men trying to minister to older folks.
When I was a pastor in Florida we had four children, all under 10 years of age. In attempting to preach all the counsel of God (Acts 20:27), of course I would have to say what the Bible says about the Christian's home and about biblical child rearing. Most of our church folks were retirees who had already raised their children to adulthood. Some had teenage grandchildren. They didn't much like my preaching on the home, but their dislike was mostly due to the fact that they had raised their children poorly where biblical things are concerned. None could stand and testify how that any of their adult children were serving the Lord. We would have to endure listening to their fellowship chatter about the divorces and infidelities among their children. But those fifty-five to seventy year-old folks were not about to listen to anything, though biblical, from a twenty-six year-old pastor. They didn't even have the grace to say, "Amen," to truth, even though they may have failed to adhere to it in the raising of their own children. Yes, it is difficult for younger men to have the respect of older folks sometimes.
I do not believe, however, that men are barred from New Testament ministry until age thirty. Ira Sankey and Charles Spurgeon are two examples of men who had very powerful, Spirit-used ministries at very young ages, certainly well under thirty. The Plymouth Brethren (C.I. Scofield, George Müller, Harry Ironside, C.H. Macintosh, for examples) traditionally shun young men from leadership in their assemblies in the United States and the United Kingdom. But interestingly, they advise the young men among them, who demonstrate a call to preach, to go to the foreign mission field! The assemblies seem to be willing to generously support them to serve abroad. I find this amazing as well as instructive.
Paul instructed Timothy, "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." (2 Timothy 4:12). So God the Holy Spirit gives us the list:
- 1. Example in Word. What does a man speak and preach? Is it biblical? Does he rightly divide the word of truth? Does he obey his own preaching?
- 2. Example in Conversation. What is the man's, and his family's, manner of life, and how does it square up with spiritual things as found in God's Word? Does the man conduct his business with a sound Christian testimony? How do those that are without the church report on his business and social dealings?
- 3. Example in Charity. Do he and his wife and older children love God's people, and do they love souls? Does their giving of money, resources and energies reflect this?
- 4. Example in Spirit. What are the intents of his and his wife's hearts as they reflect in how they spend their time and energies? Are they determined to serve the Lord?
- 5. Example in Faith. Does he preach the Gospel message correctly? And does he walk by that same rule of faith? Does he trust God with his temporal future as he says he trusts God with his eternal soul?
- 6. Example in Purity. What do his and his wife's eyes gaze upon? What do they listen to? Do they attract people to themselves by spiritual means, or do they attract them by worldly and carnal means? Do their manner of dress and bearing point to Christ, the hidden Man of the heart, or do they point to the flesh, fashion, vogue, style, emulations? This question applies to his wife and children as well.
Sending churches have the prerogative, yea, duty, to examine missionary candidates in the areas listed above. If found sound in these areas, church folk also have the duty to listen and to obey the biblical preaching of these young candidates who have the touch and call of God on their lives. Young pastors, missionaries and evangelists, who meet the criteria as outlined in 2 Timothy 4:12, are told to let no man despise their youth. That means, Elder Christian, that if you indicate that you do not need to esteem a young preacher very highly in love for his work's sake (1 Thess. 5:13), when he meets the biblical criteria above and is, by God's grace, setting an example before you; then you, Elder Christian, need to be rebuked! The qualified young preacher is responsible to respectfully correct you in your attitude, and rebuke you when necessary (Titus 2:15). Often an elder person's lack of biblical respect toward young preachers is, in actuality, a pathetic way to make things appear as though their own old failures in life have been somehow corrected simply by growing older. In these cases, usually there has never been any honest admittance of failure or genuine repentance in the lives of elder believers; and the young preacher may become one who bears the brunt of these expressions of the failures of elders.
Where Are the Candidates For Christian Service?
Why is it that we see so few young men in our churches who are potential candidates for Christian service and spiritual ministry? I believe that, for one reason, we have not learned, we have not adhered to, we have not taught the truths of Titus chapter 2, verses 6 through 8:
Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.
In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
Titus 2:6-8 is not what we are told to exhort only young preachers. These attributes are given to be the standard for every young man in our churches, whether or not they are called in to a direct full-time ministry or office! Let's say, every young man in our churches from age ten up! If we don't have common young men in our churches who believe and obey just these three simple verses, it is no wonder at all that we also don't have young men on the order of Ira Sankey and Dwight Moody, potentially available for the ministry.
- 1. Sober minded. Someone might ask what is meant by "sober minded." Being sober minded is illustrated in the fourteen-year-old mind of George Washington, who later became the first president our beloved United States.
Our first president, George Washington, composed his Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation at the tender age of 14. Among his admonitions:
1. Let your recreations be manful and not sinful.
2. When in company, put not your hands to any part of the body, not usually discovered.
3. Put not off your clothes in the presence of others, nor go out of your chambers half dressed.
Do the young men we are raising in our homes and in our churches have such clarity of mind and conviction? Or are our sons' minds too full of sports, girls, fashions, cell phones, videos, and the other trappings of modern teen-hood?
- 2. In all things showing themselves a pattern of good works.
- 3. In doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, and sincerity. In DOCTRINE! Do the young men in our homes and churches know anything at all about Bible doctrine and Baptist distinctives? Why shouldn't our fifteen-year-old boys be able to recite basic fundamentals of biblical Christian faith along with a few Scripture passages upon which those fundamentals are based?
- 4. [Having or Using] sound speech that cannot be condemned, able to put others to shame who are of corrupt or foolish doctrine.
- 5. Having nothing, in character or behavior, about which others may speak evil.
Just go over the list yourself and be honest. Look around through your own local church and count how many seventeen-year-olds meet the description given in these verses. Yes! These verses are for seventeen-year-olds! And younger! Taken as a whole dose, we see that young men in our churches are supposed to be well-trained in DOCTRINE! Teen-aged boys, by biblical standard, are supposed to be able to refute gainsayers and the doctrinally unsound they may meet. We should see none of our young people ever lured by Watchtower, Mormons, Rick Warrenites or Charismatics. Our young men are supposed to be in-depth Bible students. All of our young men, whether or not they have ever announced any call to preach, are supposed to be in-depth, doctrinally-equipped Bible students. I firmly believe that the average eighteen-year-old man in our local churches should be too doctrinally advanced for most of our independent Baptist Bible colleges. Pastors, we have failed in this area! What do the young men in our churches know more than basketball and computer games? Why don't we have Bible college in our local churches for our teen-aged boys?
To any young missionaries reading this, let me say that you need to be careful, prayerful and spiritual in the way you make any application of what you just read in the last few paragraphs. There are many older saints still around who do have some things to teach us, and we are obliged to be gracious, listen, and consult the Scriptures, always ready to obey truth.
Missionaries Don't Stay Young!
We wonder if American pastors don't actually visualize most missionaries, even veterans, as young men, lacking practical experience, not really very good preachers or students of the Bible. Missionaries may develop their initial support for their work when they are young, and they leave for the field and spend many years there. The pastors remember the missionaries as young men with young families, forgetting that as missionaries serve abroad, they are aging, gaining experience, and gaining wisdom. Many veteran missionaries have much more real experience than many of their supporting pastors! At age fifty-one I wonder if pastors who take my phone calls don't somehow visualize me as still young and inexperienced. Some, perhaps, remember the first photographs, say, on our first prayer cards, and always think of us in that way. I am not offended by being visualized as young, believe me. I am, however, at the place in my life and ministry where I don't have time either for romantics or for much fancy and formal protocol. I will say more about the preaching of missionaries later on, but I have been trying to make the point that missionaries have a call from God. They seek pastors and churches who understand that call upon their lives. God-called missionaries are not thrill-seekers or mere adventurers, even though to survive and work in some places in this world requires some kind of capacity for adventure.
Money is Not the Object
Every one knows that missionary service, like any enterprise, requires financial resources. It would be ridiculous to think that even the most spiritual of the missionaries who come by your church would not want you to be a part of their labors by your giving. Church members need to learn to give. Giving is a Christian grace. Christians who don't learn to give are Christians who don't grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Baptist church members need to learn sacrificial giving to world evangelism because therein lies the very heart of God.
Missionaries on the field are aware of the currency exchange rates and how their ministries might be affected by changes in international commerce and the growth or the decline of the economy in the country where they serve. To be good stewards of their resources, as well as to know just how to take care of their families, missionaries become a kind of expert in international economics. Americans sometimes ponder inflation rates and cost-of-living increases, but rarely on a daily basis, unless it is their profession to deal in these things. Foreign missionaries, on the other hand, must look almost daily at the business pages of the local newspapers on their respective fields, and particularly at the currency exchange rates. Let me give you an example:
For one United States Dollar ($1.00):
May 1, 2006 8.20 Chinese Yuan
October 30, 2006 7.94 Chinese Yuan
December 18, 2006 7.74 Chinese Yuan
January 11, 2007 7.71 Chinese Yuan
February 5, 2007 7.68 Chinese Yuan
March 15, 2007 7.66 Chinese Yuan
August 1, 2008 6.80 Chinese Yuan
Do you not see the value of the American Dollar going down? On $100.00 (USD) between October 30 and December 18, 2006, any missionary serving in China lost $3.00. A three per cent (3%) drop in their support level in about six weeks. That could be a serious trend! It could mean that a missionary who went to China fully supported and expecting to remain for a term of four years or more might have to return very much prematurely, leaving much work unfinished.
Missionaries, however, are not fundraisers, but ministers. In 1995 I helped a small church in North Carolina as the guest moderator for their very first missions conference. Attending the conference was a young family preparing to serve in Jamaica. One morning we had breakfast with that missionary at a restaurant. We discussed the "deputation" process. The young missionary made the statement, "Getting our support and getting on the field-that's what it's all about!" The pastor and I responded with a dead silence, such as made the missionary rethink his words. "Did I say something wrong?" the missionary asked. We asked him, "What are you all about when you enter the pulpits of churches and open the Word of God? When you have departed that church, with a love offering in your pocket, and maybe with your family well fed and taken care of, what had you done to help those Christians in their service for Jesus Christ? Had you helped their homes? Had you helped them draw nigh to God? Had you helped any sinner understand the Gospel any clearer?" That missionary is a good man with a good family. He has been on the field for some years since that conference, and by all accounts God is using him. Our point here is that the God-called missionary has a ministry to people, and is not just trying to get into your pocket.
Missionaries as Evangelists and Revivalists
Later on in this booklet we will discuss the "apostle" nature of the missionary, but before we get there, let me discuss how useful missionaries may be to the churches while on deputation and on furlough. Missionaries who understand their call can be some of the most useful men in church revival and evangelistic meetings. Missionaries are evangelists, called to evangelize. In fact, it is not unusual for missions conferences, with missionary speakers, to be more effective in the revival of a church and in the winning of the lost than what may be called "revival" meetings. Some pastors are all but doing away with "revival" meetings, per se, and putting more emphasis on missions conferences and missions jubilees. Some pastors are using missionaries on deputation or on furlough to preach revival and evangelistic meetings. We are not necessarily suggesting any particular approach, but only mentioning these things to underscore the fact that some churches have actually seen more genuine revival result from increasing their emphasis on missions, and by the introduction to the church of more Bible-preaching missionaries.
Missionaries Need to Make Friends of God's People
Pastors usually want to invite only the missionaries who the church can properly take care of, and to whom the church can extend genuine courtesies. Pastors and churches have a budget to watch, and they cannot just give out...and give out...to every missionary who calls on the phone or walks through the door. Many pastors get several calls per week from missionaries seeking meetings. Of course, the larger the church, or the better the church is known, the more calls that pastor will receive from missionaries. I believe that most missionaries understand this.
The Missionary needs to resist any feeling that he is in competition with other missionaries for meetings or for support money. A competitive spirit in missions, or in the Lord's work in general, is a sign of immaturity or insecurity, and is motivated by the flesh. Emulations and envyings are works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). Unfortunately, the modern scheme of things in independent Baptist church programs, Christian schools and missions has tended to teach emulations, almost as an art, and this is destructive to missions. Missionaries need more than meetings, monthly support, love offerings and a hotel room when coming through town. Missionaries need to make friends of God's people. They need to have as many people fervently praying for them as possible. If a church cannot financially support another missionary, the church can and should at least pray more for missionaries. We will say more, later, about the ways missionaries become acquainted with pastors and churches, but again our point here is that missionaries should not be fundraisers-spiritual missionaries are not fundraisers.
What is a Mission Board Director or President?
Concerning whether missionaries are lackeys or hirelings, allow me to address the missionary agency director(s). If the missionary agency director is the pastor of the missionary, and if the agency is the church itself, then what I will say here will not necessarily apply. What I intend to say here is for men who have control over other men and their resources (and often over their reputations) as heads of entities other than New Testament churches. I want to be kind in these remarks and not be destructive. I am here addressing men who control other men through agencies that are not very directly under the control of a single local church and its pastor.
Dear Brother Mission Agency Director or President:
You have no biblical office, and you have no biblical authority in your position.
There are two, and only two offices in the New Testament, and they are both directly connected with, and inseparable from, the New Testament Church-the local biblical congregation. Any truly God-called missionary has biblical standing and authority in his work, above that of any agency director or president. No missionary agency director or president, who is not the missionary's own pastor, has any biblical authority, and should not act as if he does.
Obviously there are missionaries who submit to the rules and organizational procedures of missionary agencies, and I suppose it is their prerogative to do so. Many, though, become outright lackeys to those organizations. Many missionaries treat the agency with much higher regard than they do their own local church and pastor, respecting authority. Some mission board directors have assumed a nearly apostolic type role from their plush headquarters offices in the United States. Some of those "apostles" have loyal "cardinals" and "bishops" (field directors and senior missionaries) overseeing things in various regions. We know also that many local churches, shy to handle the support monies of the missionaries sent out of their own churches, often cede the fiscal responsibilities, and often its authority, to non-church or para-church agencies. The fact that missionaries and local churches do give power to separate agencies, however, does not mean that these agencies have any genuine biblical authority.
Sometimes when we write or speak on these issues, we are considered disrespectful and inciting of rebellion; questioning the authority and prestige of mission agency directors in general. Our remarks are never personal. Nor do we encourage rebellion. We are speaking on biblical principle. We are seeking to make the point that the authority in missions, humanly speaking, should remain in the churches and with the missionaries' own pastors, and that the extra-biblical position of mission agency (or board) director, is just that, extra-biblical. I am not required by the Scriptures to yield any undue honor to the position of mission agency director, regardless of how large or influential any particular agency has become over the years.
Frankly, I will meet head-on and speak against the policies and practices of any mission agencies which tend toward:
(1.) the setting up of extra-biblical bishoprics,
(2.) the abandoning of the indigenous nature of local New Testament churches anywhere in the world,
(3.) the subjugation of God-called missionaries or national pastors to be made lackeys or poster-boys for the aggrandizing of agencies or their chieftains, or
(4.) usurping the authority of local churches and their pastors.
When the missionary, however, with the approval of his own pastor, gives his signature authority to the mission board, having read and understood its policies and procedures, he is obligated to that particular scheme of things. He should abide by it, or he should resign from it. If he can, in good conscience, abide by the rules of the board, then fine. When the time comes that he can not, then he should resign. If the missionary discovers that the mission board is asking him to violate sound scriptural principles, he should resign. If the missionary discovers that his work is hamstrung by mission board rules and regulations, preventing him from fulfilling that which God has called him to do, he should resign. If the missionary discovers that the mission board demands more allegiance of him than does his own sending church, or that the mission board acts with higher authority than his own sending church, he should resign.
If the missionary sees that the mission board is using the churches he establishes almost as foreign branches of the mission board, hindering the autonomy and indigenous nature of those national churches, he should resign and instruct those churches to observe indigenous principles. If the mission agency cannot understand that it is the missionary husband-father who is responsible to God for the financial concerns of his family and tries to "Daddy" the family's financial resources in a way unacceptable to the missionary, he should resign. The missionary should consider these things before he ever signs his name on any mission board documents. Excitement about a mission board offering their help in getting him to the field should not blur the missionary's vision and cause him to knuckle under to any authority that may later cause him to violate biblical principles, to violate his own biblically guided conscience, to be regretful, or to make him appear to be, or be accused of being, rebellious. The missionary should never surrender his authority over his own family's safety, security or financial soundness to a mission board or to its directors.
A mission board is able to destroy a man's reputation among the churches if it decides, at any point, to portray him as having been "rebellious" or "disloyal" or "ungrateful" as a result of disagreements that may arise. We take the position that mission boards don't have disciplinary authority; that that is the prerogative, yea, the duty of the missionary's sending church. Offenses are to be taken up with the church as the final step of discipline (Matthew ch. 18; Galatians ch. 6), not with the mission board head office.
We also take the position that a missionary's sending pastor ought to be able to walk into a mission board head office (in person, by phone call or by letter) and overrule any board director or president with regard to particular policies or procedures where they might adversely affect his missionary's ministry, family, finances or how the missionary is portrayed to the churches. Most large mission boards, however, do not provide for such interaction with (or "interference" from) the pastors, and so these things should be carefully weighed long before the missionary signs any agreements to abide by mission board rules, regulations and policies.
It is our position that directors and presidents of para-church missionary organizations, if such organizations are used at all, should be servants to the missionaries and to their churches, and should conduct their affairs with the servant's heart and attitude. This should be the rule from the director or president, to the bookkeeper, to the janitor. Servants are flexible-many mission boards are not. When among missionaries themselves, the agency directors should approach the missionaries as the missionaries themselves are. The missionaries themselves are the ones with the biblical description, calling, standing, order and authority. We have observed, just too many times at missionary conferences, a cow-towing of the missionaries to popular agency directors or presidents. This ought not so to be; it does not present the correct picture to the Church.
For clarity, we are speaking about New Testament position and office. We are not at all teaching that God will not use the personal ministering of, say, a missionary board director, who had, himself, served as a missionary for many years and has the wisdom of those years to offer to other, often younger, missionaries. We have been with older brethren, as described, who have blessed us and encouraged us greatly in conferences and in fellowship and prayer meetings. We love to hear them preach and to tell of God's hand in their service to Him over the long decades. This helps us, and we would be foolish to deny that God would use and bless this. What we are saying, simply, is that the Scriptures, themselves, do not provide for extra-Church agencies or para-church agencies that have any organizational authority to match, replace or circumvent the authority of the local church, or to make lackeys out of God's preachers, regardless of their calling.
Do We Still Need Mission Boards?
This section is not meant to malign all mission boards or agencies. We, ourselves, have been affiliated with the same mission board since 1986. Ours is a small board based in, and entirely under the auspices and authority of, a single independent Baptist church. The pastor of that church, a former missionary, is also the president of the board. The board members consist of men in the church as well as a few other pastors and evangelists. The receipts from churches and the disbursements to the missionaries, the prayer letters, and many other services to the missionaries are handled by staff and members of that church (when ordered by the missionary himself). Our family does not hold membership in that church. The board helps both missionary members of that church and other missionaries as well. That particular church has the desire to help missionaries. It is not its purpose or desire to interfere in the relationship between the missionaries and their sending churches, if some of the missionaries are not members there. This board serves churches and their missionaries without assuming authority over the procedural matters of the churches or missionaries. This mission board has been a means of providing that church and its members many opportunities to be very closely involved in missions, which also edifies that church.
No, our purpose is not just to bad-mouth all mission boards. I sat in a pastor's office in southeastern Indiana (2006) and listened to a pastor tell me that their church will never support any missionary that is affiliated in any way, or has anything to do with, a mission board. "It's the Church, Brother, it's the Church! The Church, the Church, the Church! The only thing in the New Testament is the Church! Missionaries must only go out of a Church!" Then later we stood in a church auditorium in north Florida before a Sunday evening service where the pastor told us, "We would never support a missionary who is not affiliated with a mission board." That Florida pastor went on to express, in so many words, his mistrust of churches alone monitoring what is happening in missionaries' lives and ministries. I don't know what all of this says about our independent Baptist movement! I believe these things don't really speak well of our movement. Imagine a pastor mistrusting churches, when the biblical institution for getting God's work done is the local church!
There is yet another element in the general independent Baptist movement in the United States. That element is the many unregistered Baptist churches. There is actually a fellowship of Baptist churches in America known as the Unregistered Baptist Fellowship. These are independent Baptist churches which do not apply for state incorporation, nor do they file for Internal Revenue Service 501c3 status. These churches avoid any documentary connection with civil government because they believe that that is the only way to adhere to the Separation of Church and State, a Baptist distinctive. Some reading this will instantly feel indignant toward such churches, thinking that these are violating the Scriptures by not obeying the government. I will testify that some of the pastors in this movement are focused on American patriot issues more than they are on the Scriptures of Truth. And in the movement are some real nuts, too! But there are also some very genuine and good men in this movement who have the correct emphasis, and who preach Jesus Christ above all.
Actually, the unregistered Baptists are not disobeying the government in these things. There are no laws in the United States requiring churches to incorporate or to file for 501c3 status. Actually, there are no laws in the United States requiring churches to inform any civil government of their existence or of their activities. It is only after a church incorporates, and after a church files for 501c3 that the signatures of the trustees make it obligated to the government's procedures as corporations. The government itself, in accordance with the First Amendment to the federal Constitution, recognizes that it cannot legally define a church or determine policies for churches. Think about it! How can any civil government, consisting of unregenerate men, ever determine the offices, purposes and procedures for the Church which Christ, her Head, is building? Has not Christ already established the offices and functions of His Church? Can one of Christ's local churches then allow unregenerate men to assign to it officers not prescribed in the New Testament? In order for the government to control a church, therefore, it must lure that church into becoming a government-categorized entity in which it must abandon the New Testament with regard to its offices, and add a third office (e.g. "trustee") And the government must convince the church to give the government its signature authority to force that church to abide by certain codes, rules and guidelines. And make no mistake about this: the federal and state governments want control of all the churches, for revenue and political purposes! The government lures the churches into incorporation and 501c3 status by promising protections that it never intends to provide. The incorporated, 501c3 church becomes a de facto state church.
All Bible-believing and Bible-practicing churches in China, Viet Nam, North Korea and other totalitarian regime-run countries are UNREGISTERED, and must remain so. Churches and pastors in the United States have been fooled in to believing that for a church to be legitimate it must register. Incorporation and 501c3 status are now considered the marks of legitimate existence, even though these government procedures are new to the last 60 years! What made New Testament churches legitimate before any of them were ever incorporated or registered with the I.R.S.? What made our historical Baptist churches like the Waldensen churches legitimate, while they resisted the state and had to flee and to protect themselves from the state's armies in the Alps (1500s)? These were unregistered churches. Churches and pastors in China know that for a church to be legitimate in China it must not register.
Churches of the unregistered element of independent Baptists in the United States (generally speaking) do not believe in the use of mission boards, and it is precisely because mission boards are para-church, and they are corporations and 501c3 registered organizations. But wait! Mission boards are not churches. It doesn't matter, biblically, whether a mission agency is registered, because it is not a church. Of course, if something is not a church, then it can not biblically claim any authority over missionaries, or their funds, or their families, or their labors, can it!
I have discussed missions with some of the more prominent men in the unregistered Baptist movement, and I have always come away thinking that they have absolutely no idea how to deal with missions as unregistered churches. Unregistered men, to my knowledge, have not been trying to figure out how they are going to keep their missionaries "unregistered." I don't believe it is possible for any man serving as an alien resident in a foreign country to remain unregistered. In fact, it is sound government to know who the alien residents are, and where they live, and that they are not criminals or enemies of the nation. The only country that I know of, which foolishly allows "undocumented" aliens (including alien criminals) to freely roam around on its soil is our own United States! Foreign missionaries, not having been born in the nation where they serve, have no citizen rights to operate without declaring their presence to the authorities. They cannot be unregistered, nor should they avoid being registered. Many of the unregistered Baptist pastors in the United States will not consider supporting a missionary who is registered. Consequently, they don't support missionaries, or they have come to believe that those they support are unregistered, when in fact, they are!
I am sympathetic, and I am compelled to be sympathetic with the unregistered churches, because I understand the movement from the vantage point of one working in communist countries. The unregistered churches in America will find their general positions vindicated more and more as our federal government becomes more and more socialist, and less free. But, I declare, at present, the unregistered Baptist movement has no handle on the missions questions. Can their churches be trusted overseeing their missionaries or evangelizing the world?
Well, can any independent Baptist churches be trusted? One of my own supporting pastors told me that he can not(!), so he will only support board-related missionaries. Do we have independent Baptist churches which are spiritual and understand the will and work of God in the earth? Are our independent Baptist churches much more than religious clubs or civic organizations anymore? Do the members of our churches receive biblical instruction in the area of missions? Who is teaching the churches about missions? If churches can't be trusted with the oversight of their missionaries, how could para-church mission agencies ever be trusted?
We are asking the questions here:
Did we (as missionaries or churches) ever absolutely need mission boards? Do we need them now?
The question must be asked in 2007, "Are missionary agencies (boards, societies, etc.) actually still needed?" What does a mission board accomplish that could not be accomplished by the missionary's sending church, if it is willing? With computers, the Internet (for research and communications purposes), XeroxTM machines, and just a little savvy on the part of less than a half dozen people in a mission-minded church, the church can do any task that we have been accustomed to ceding over to extra-church (para-church) mission boards. An increasing number of local churches are indeed taking on the tasks of facilitating every service needed by the missionaries that are sent out of the church. One such church in Winchester, Ohio, a church of about 125 people, provides all necessary services to a half dozen missionary families who are all members of that church, and serving worldwide.
Why can't the sending church handle the missionaries' support? True, some churches are not stable in the financial area. Some mission boards are not stable in the financial area either! Missionaries are asked to submit their families' financial security and their financial testimonies to the authority of someone else. A church with an unscrupulous treasurer (or pastor!) could ruin a missionary's testimony or put the safety and security of the missionary's family in serious jeopardy. Of course, an unscrupulous officer within a missionary agency can hurt the missionary's family and labors in the same way.
Missionary husbands, responsible to God for the safety and security of their own families, should never be made to feel that they are at the mercy of any man or agency that loves power and authority over missionaries. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, the mission board director is not going to step up and answer for the financial (or any other) dealings of the missionary. The missionary will have to answer for himself to his Lord (Romans 14:12). How the missionary cared for his family on the field will not be addressed by the mission board president as some sort of intermediary at the Judgment Seat. The Lord Jesus Christ would look at the mission board director and, in effect, say, "Son, I'll deal with how you influenced this missionary later-step aside(!)-this missionary must answer for himself."
Whoever it is handling the missionary's money is filling a position of great trust. The missionary himself, therefore, as long as he is honest with those who support him, has the ultimate authority. The people who handle the money, as trustees, should take their place as servants under authority (as a ministry, of course), and not as masters. Missionary agencies might object, "But we handle the funds for many dozens of missionary families-we can't have different rules and procedures for each family. Each family must submit to our uniform rules." My response would be, "Then your missionary agency is just too big!" Our point here: The local church, with responsible, Spirit-filled people, can do anything with regard to support money that any mission board could ever do. By the way, churches are supposed to have Spirit-filled people.
What about communications? What local churches don't have telephones, fax machines and access to post offices just like para-church mission boards? And we visit very few churches, these days, that don't have computers and printers. An ever increasing number have electronic mail ("email") addresses and even Internet web sites. Very many already have Xerox machines, and some have offset printing presses or RisographTM-type equipment.
What about publishing prayer letters and prayer cards? Again, more and more churches have photocopy or Risograph-type equipment. Some have offset presses. Quick print establishments are easy to find in towns with a population of ten thousand people or more, and sometimes even in much smaller towns. I often use the Salem Office Supply Company in Salem, Indiana (population 7,000) to have my prayer cards and other ministry information printed. The prices are reasonable. They can take my digital photos and computer-printed templates and produce whatever I need, and pretty quick, too.
There is an argument often put forward by the older, longer-established mission boards that they have clout with foreign governments, and therefore their affiliated missionaries will have a much easier time acquiring visas, permits and other documents. There are several misconceptions here. It may be true that in many countries larger, older, long-established agencies do have some standing with the immigrations authorities. But for new missionaries the utility of this is becoming ever less important as time goes by. I should, first of all, say something about the countries where we have worked: Communist China, Hong Kong, Russia and the Philippines. I realize that every country has its own governmental peculiarities and that the politics of each country is an important factor.
China is a communist country. Missionary agencies can have absolutely no clout with the government of the Peoples' Republic with regard to registering missionaries, per se, because China does not recognize the legitimacy of any foreign missionary, foreign church or any missionary agency operating on its soil. China believes that the "Chinese Church" is sufficient unto itself and that no foreign missionaries should influence or interfere with the "Chinese Church." No missionary can approach the immigrations authorities in China and declare that he is a missionary, if he wants to remain in the country. All biblical missionary work is underground (that is, unregistered with civil government). If an American missionary is caught evangelizing or teaching the Bible inside Communist China, he is most likely to be expelled from the country, and the nationals with whom he works will be in serious jeopardy of their freedom, their safety, their property, and possibly of their lives. How could any missionary agency use its clout to help us with the Government to maintain residence and do our work inside China? The missionary agency in this regard is useless.
In recent years, some missionary agencies, recognizing the need to remain underground and low-profile inside totalitarian-run countries, have devised sideline or cover organizations that may provide other acceptable services to those countries' peoples, and they use that as a means to gain entrance for missionaries or other soul winners. The services may include English education, special education (for the blind or deaf, for example), medical schools or clinics or technical expertise in various fields. The educators or technicians that are sent in are actually missionaries under cover. We have discovered, however, that a missionary agency is not an absolute necessity in these things. If a missionary has another skill that can be offered, it is usually not necessary to be affiliated with any agency or organization. It is usually only necessary for that missionary to demonstrate his alternate skill to some exiting school or firm in one of those countries and receive a direct invitation. In the case of China, the longer a missionary serves and becomes familiar with the system there, the easier it becomes to find ways to remain in the country.
I need to mention here that some pastors have a difficult time understanding the underground missionary's description of how he stays and labors inside, say, a Communist-run country. Pastors will often misrepresent the underground missionary as to his calling. I was traveling with a pastor one morning (2005), as a matter of fact, when he received a mobile phone call from another pastor. After some minutes, my pastor friend said, "Hey! Let me introduce you to a missionary to China-his name is Bob Patenaude-I'll let you talk to him," and the phone was handed over to me. I spoke to the pastor on the other end. He said, "We recently had a young preacher come by our church that was planning to go to China, but he wasn't a ‘missionary;' he was planning to go to China as an English teacher." Now, catch the misunderstanding- "...he wasn't a ‘missionary;'..." (!) If we hadn't encountered this same description with reference to ourselves dozens and dozens of times over the past several years, we might think that it was the young visiting preacher who had misrepresented himself to that pastor. But we believe that, because of tradition among independent Baptists, pastors do often fail to comprehend what underground missionaries are up to.
"We recently had a young preacher come by our church that was planning to go to China, but he wasn't a missionary;' he was planning to go to China as an English teacher."
That statement is a misrepresentation. Let me give you here what probably should have been stated:
"We recently had a young preacher come by our church who is planning to do underground missionary work inside China, and he can't tell the Communists about his labors, so he is using English teaching as a cover."
Can you discern the difference? The second description would more clearly state his purpose and intention relative to the church, because the church doesn't support ‘English teachers,' but it does support missionaries.
On Sunday, January 15, 2006, my family listened to a missionary to Japan present his ministry at a church in southern Indiana. He stated that because of the extremely high cost of living in Japan (e.g. milk-$8.00 USD/gallon), many American missionaries must supplement their income by teaching English. The missionaries then also use their English teaching classes in Japan as a way of meeting people and winning them to Jesus Christ. Are those men missionaries or are they English teachers? Of course they are missionaries. They are wisely using the Japanese interest in learning English as a means to evangelize people in that very hardened Buddhist and Daoist country. And they are also earning funds necessary to stay there and do God's work. Missionaries who use English teaching as a means to keep their visas in China also, are in fact missionaries.
In Russia, we used a business visa rather than a missionary visa. Baptist missionaries laboring in Primorskiy Territory (The Russian Pacific Maritime Region) were opposed by the Russian Orthodox Church, which is very powerful, and has very much to say to the government about whether western missionaries are allowed to remain in the country. Under the influence of a defensive and protectionist Orthodox Church leadership, the Russian Immigrations Bureau (in those years) made it all but impossible for Baptist and other western fundamentalist missionaries to obtain and maintain visas with a "religious" (missionary) classification. So we used a business visa instead.
In the Philippines (1998 to 2004) we organized some Filipino Christian men (businessmen, engineers, military officers, airline pilots, others) into a Christian corporation that has the legal status to petition the Philippines Bureau of Immigrations for our residence visas. No action by an American missionary agency was required. We got and kept our visas.
Do We Still Need Missionaries?
We have asked the question, "Do we still need mission boards?" So to be fair, we will ask the question: Do we still actually need missionaries? The answer to this question will lie in connection to the following questions:
(1.) Do we still need local churches?
(2.) Do churches still have the biblical responsibility to evangelize the world?
(3.) Are there still places on this earth, populated by sinners, where the Gospel needs to be preached?
(4.) Will those who trust Christ among those populations need churches?
If you answer "Yes" to these questions, then you must also answer, "Yes, we still need missionaries."
Are our readers aware that there are actually some independent Baptist preachers running around America today who, from pulpits, are saying, "Don't send your missionaries, just send your money"? Some of the preachers who are saying this to independent Baptist congregations are foreign national pastors. We know that many national Filipino pastors, for example, are traveling around America, saying or implying this very thing. There are also some American independent Baptist preachers, who are in the business of bringing foreign national pastors to America, who are saying or implying the same thing. Beware of this fallacy!
If any foreign national independent Baptist movement claims that it is mature enough to carry the ball in its country without American missionaries, then it must also be mature enough to carry on without American money! If it still needs American dollars, then it still needs American missionaries. It needs close monitoring by the donors, believe us! The truth is, there are many foreign national pastors who want American money and want the American churches to turn their eyes away and never question how the funds are put to use. And I suggest to you that there are entire organizations of such pastors. How an individual handles money is an indicator of his or her maturity. And how an organization or a movement handles money is also such an indicator.
I will testify to American churches that the independent Baptist movement in the Philippines is not mature financially. I believe it also to be skewed doctrinally. Further, I believe the movement has developed a nationalistic set of distinctives that it calls "Baptist Distinctives," but they are not the historical distinctives of Baptist peoples. There is still far too much of the Roman Catholic priestly mind set among independent Baptist pastors in the Philippines. The Philippines still needs strong, Bible-believing missionaries to go there and, along with preaching the Gospel of the Grace of God, they need to teach churches in the areas of: (1.) sound doctrine; (2.) biblical (instead of cultural) pastoral authority-its extent and its limitations; (3.) the indigenous nature of local churches; (4.) how to train biblical, rather than cultural, Christian families; (5.) biblical character in personal and church finances (including the area of Christian giving); and more. These are but a few areas in which Baptist churches in the Philippines seem to have had insufficient teaching over the years. And you may accuse me of being arrogant all you want, but I believe that these areas still require the influence of Bible-believing (Bible-literalist) Baptist missionaries. The national pastors, by and large, are just still too stuck to the mandates of their Catholic-Pagan culture to make the Bible the final authority in the issues named just above. For further, more detailed information, write for our pamphlet, The Question Of Independent Baptist Churches In The United States Supporting Foreign National Ministers (Missionaries & Pastors).
The "Apostolic" Nature of Missionaries
Missionaries are not employees of American churches or mission boards. Missionaries are the "apostles" to the people among which God has called them to preach the Gospel. I will here cite a lengthy section from Missionary Linton Smith's book, Not By Might, Nor By Power, The Bible Believer's Study Guide to The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit:
Note that while the proper gift is given to qualify men for the corresponding office, in Ephesians 4:11 the men themselves are mentioned as being gifts to the churches. (p. 126)
Church Leadership and Apostolic Authority
Another question arises about the exercise of apostolic authority over churches.
"If apostles are still with us, then what do we do about apostolic authority? Certainly Paul was entrusted with the care of all the churches (II Corinthians 11:28). Even after he appointed elders, he still had the authority over them."
"Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches."
-II Corinthians 11:28
Note that Paul says this in the context of glorying in his infirmities (II Corinthians 11:30). It does not sound to me that he had in mind to Lord (sic) it over the flock (1 Peter 5:3), nor to usurp the authority of any pastor. This is made clear in II Corinthians 1:24.
"Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand."
-II Corinthians 1:24
Keep in mind that Paul had won many of these people to the Lord, and baptized some of them himself. Also notice that while it appears that there were church leaders there, he never mentions the pastor. Probably because at that time (for some reason) there was none. Furthermore, any missionary knows the special relationship that remains between himself and his converts and those pastors and elders he has ordained. Long after the missionary has left to start other churches, their care falls upon him as he continues to work with the national pastor to build the work and expand its facilities (Bible college, etc.). (p. 126)
Another question that arises has to do with Paul's instruction regarding church government. Why didn't he mention the gift and office of apostle when he wrote Timothy about the qualifications for the bishop and the deacon? But may we not also ask, "Why isn't the gift of the evangelist mentioned?" Certainly no one would suggest that the gift of an evangelist is no longer valid simply because it is not mentioned there. Of course the answer is that the bishop and deacon are the leaders of the government within a local church. The gifts of apostle and evangelist are to be exercised in reaching others outside the local church. These are gifts given to evangelize the lost and to establish churches[Smith, Footnote No. 78]. When an apostle establishes a church, he is the pastor for a time, but soon steps aside, turning the work over to the national pastor. Then he forfeits his rule and authority over that congregation, but not its care. (Note that an apostle only has authority over the churches he has established himself.) (p. 127)
In the United States of America, it seems obvious that there is no real place for the ministry of the gift of an apostle (missionary) in a local church other than presenting the work of his field. Of course he may still exercise his other gifts (like teaching, etc.), but any pastor knows that this sometimes presents a difficult situation because the missionary is accustomed to exercising his authority as an apostle. This can sometimes lead to conflicts with the pastor and the exercise of his authority. When he is in the USA, the missionary is like a duck out of water. He does not really fit in, because he is not called to minister to churches here, but to his own churches and his own people. I believe that part of the gift of an apostle is the unique ability to reach those people to whom he has been sent by God. (p. 127)
In summary, I believe the office and gift of an apostle are still valid today, although the sign gifts that accompanied the early Jewish apostles are not valid today.
Must have the spiritual gift of apostle, with a definite call to work with a specific culture although not necessarily to a specific nation. (p. 127)
Must be bold when entering a field of labor, and ready to give his life for the Lord; must be meek before the native inhabitants and especially those in power; must be able to labor to please the Lord in the face of no visible result; must be an able teacher and preacher capable of training others; must be longsuffering with converts who seem slow to progress; must have perseverance; must be able to maintain a personal relationship with God without the fellowship of other believers. (p. 128)
(a) Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles
-Romans 1:15, 16; Galatians 2:8, 9; II Timothy 1:8, 9
(b) Peter-II Peter 1:1
(c) In modern times we have notable examples in men like William Carey, Hudson Taylor, R.A. Jeffray, Robert Moffatt, Adoniram Judson. Read
their biographies and note their gifts and the spiritual authority they possessed. (p. 128)
[Footnote No.] 78 Of course pastors establish churches too, but the ministry of the apostle includes the unique ability to reach a certain nationality of people in places where the name of Christ is not known. (p. 180)
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You have just read an excerpt of writing from our dear friend, Brother Linton Smith. Brother Smith has served as a missionary on Taiwan, in Hong Kong, and in the Chinese Mainland. He is, most recently, the founder of Grace Baptist Church, Zhengzhou City, Henan Province, in China. Brother Smith has served for many years with very poor health, under the rigors of preaching the Gospel and training preachers underground. Brother Smith is also a prolific writer of Bible and missionary themes, and we highly recommend his books.
Brother Smith and I might word things somewhat differently. I have always associated or identified the missionary with the evangelist of Ephesians 4:11 (not with the modern style of evangelist), whereas Brother Smith identifies the missionary with the apostle of the same passage. This might shake up some of our Baptist brethren a little. Brother Smith is not the first excellent student of the Scriptures who has taken that position in my hearing or reading, and I would not fight with Brother Smith over this for one minute. I am not in substantial disagreement, and I will here comment after Brother Smith, hoping that more American pastors will read these words and get a more tuned picture of the missionary.
Even older, spiritual veteran missionaries, when home in the United States on furlough, feel, to use Brother Smith's wording, as "ducks out of water." Some might argue that that is merely because of long years of being abroad and saturating oneself in a foreign language and culture. But there is something more spiritual to it than that. There is something more related to God's call on a man's life to it. A missionary has a call from God. Pastors, God has put something in a missionary that you, in your office and calling, could never properly accomplish.
Pastor, the missionary is often extremely awkward in your presence, and in the presence of your American church. Younger missionaries, even those who have served, say, but one term on the field, may not yet understand the consequences of his call, in how it affects his bearing and his relationship in American churches. He is that "duck out of water." His pond, his lake, is somewhere else. The authority of his calling, relative to God's geographic direction of him, while he is on furlough, is somewhat in abeyancy.
Let's turn the tables on you, Pastor, for just a moment, if you don't mind. Let's say that you are on a mission trip to a foreign field where an older veteran missionary has served for some years, and has planted one or more churches, and is active teaching the Bible to young preachers. Now who is in the awkward position? Now who is the "duck out of water?" Before you retort that your awkwardness would be caused mostly by the language barrier, let me say that this situation exists even on foreign fields where English is daily used. One example would be the Philippines.
American pastors have visited our work in the Philippines and have been the "ducks out of water," even though that church, in Lipa City, consists predominantly of professional people, the English usage of many of them excelling in proficiency above many average Americans. Three of the men in the church are commercial airline pilots. Others are well-connected business men, military officers, engineers, mathematicians, school teachers, and so forth. The American pastors, though enjoying the fellowship of God's people there, and able to see and rejoice in how God has worked, are nonetheless awkward, and their authority there is in a kind of abeyancy.
Other good examples would be found in countries like England, India, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. Pastor, when visiting your missionaries on the field, you may be put in the pulpit, and your hearers may have full understanding of your message. You will be a blessing by preaching the Word of God. But in whom do the people there see the spiritual authority for that work? Pastor, you may even be the missionary's sending pastor. But the national people in that mission work see the spiritual authority for that work placed by God in the man God has called to that place. If some issue exists between you, Pastor, and your missionary, your missionary may have respect to it in private, but the people to whom your missionary is called do not see any authority in you in that regard. You are simply not called there, and though not in a negative strain of feeling, that sense is in the hearts of the native population nonetheless. Your visit will be most useful as it is used to strengthen the position of your missionary, but other than the educational benefits you acquire on your trip, that's as far as your office goes. That is because of the "apostolic" nature of the missionary, of which Brother Smith was writing.
No Seniority in God's Work
Pastors of American churches are not necessarily any more experienced or adept in the ministry than are many missionaries. It is not unreasonable to say that ten consistent and faithful years of ministry among people in Pagan cultures abroad can be more deeply maturing than ministering for thirty years to people in most American cities and towns. And I think that many forget that, while planting churches abroad, the missionary is also developing a pastoral résumé. He, himself, must pastor the churches that he plants, until he can train national pastors for those churches. The kinds of pastoral problems that American pastors have to handle are not somehow absent in foreign churches, and the missionaries are not exempt from having to gain the experience of dealing with them.
Veteran missionaries have pastoral experience? You had better believe it! Let me give you a current example. It is now the beginning of March, 2007. In the past three weeks we have had to deal (in counseling) with a bad courtship experience in the life of a near thirty-year-old Chinese woman in our new church. The man who had been damaging the spiritual life and testimony of this national woman for three years, by the way, was a single American missionary! That man had watched and knowingly allowed this woman to develop an untoward emotional bond with him while having no intention to marry her! I also counseled with the young man himself, and hopefully, the two involved will not have any more communications. This is pastoral work, and it is no small matter.
Another example of our pastoral responsibilities in this Pagan culture is in order. Another young woman in our church once, along with her sisters, advised their widowed mother to move in with a man without the benefit of marriage. None of the women in that family had ever heard the Gospel when the sinful relationship they forged begun. Two of the sisters and the mother had since professed Jesus Christ (before we met them). The evil fruits of the live-in relationship of the mother are now very apparent. The man involved is living and lusting in another city, but demands the "common-law wife" join him. Guess who is in the middle of it now, having to tell these people the whole truth of the Scriptures as to their sin and the fruit it has borne? Right-the missionary! Please don't assume that everything in the ministry is just hunky-dory on foreign fields.
We ask pastors in America to understand that missionaries on the field actually do develop serious pastoral experience. Missionaries carry pastoral burdens. Every God-called veteran missionary would be able to relate experiences requiring genuine pastor-ship on the field. And consider that many missionaries must bare pastoral burdens while they are also strapped with having to learn a language effectively enough to properly counsel national people in their own language. The missionary must also learn what has taken place in the Pagan culture of a nation that precipitates many of the problems in people's lives with which he must deal. And then, he must effectively use the Word of God without compromising Its Truths to the national cultural scheme of things.
Obviously, we have supporting pastors who have ten, twenty or more years more time in the ministry than have we. We respect them and their pulpits. We have some supporting pastors who have been pastoring the same church for thirty, thirty-five and, with some, perhaps, more years. To us, that is utmost commendable, and we seek to know more of the grace that allows a man to be so steadfast. We believe that the greatest effectiveness comes with longevity of service in one ministry. We have experiences in the ministry, however, that none of our supporting pastors have ever had, or are likely ever to have. We have had to deal with problems in Pagan Asia, the kind with which our supporting pastors will never have to deal. Actually, we are very grateful that most of our pastors have not had to drink from some of the cups that the Lord has put on our table. Those things have been particular to us; used of God to make us more of what He wants us to be. We are not going to compare ourselves amongst ourselves for authority or prestige purposes (see 2 Cor. 10:12). Instead, we are, by God's grace, going to recognize that God is a Divine Individual, and that He calls individual men into His service for specific, individual purposes that honour Himself. Each ministry is an individual ministry with individual purposes known to God and laid on His individual servants to His glory. We want to encourage American pastors to consider this afresh. The ministry is not about earning seniority over other men. While youth and inexperience should by all means respect age and experience, the pastor-missionary relationship should not be seen as a seniority issue, nor should it be a contest.
Bible Depth and Missionaries
Pastors of American churches are not necessarily better students of God's word than are missionaries, who must not only learn the Bible in their native tongue, but must know how to communicate Bible Truth to people of a different tongue and culture. Not all missionaries are good Bible students. Not all American pastors are good Bible students either. Some missionaries don't study or pray for their messages; they just reach for the outline booklets written by other men to get their sermon for Sunday morning. Many American pastors do the same thing exactly. On both sides there is much very shallow preaching in our day. Many preachers, among both pastors and missionaries, are methodologists and great organizers, but fewer men thoroughly study or handle God's Word.
Nevertheless, I would say to American pastors that among the missionaries that they support, and among many missionaries who tend to get shoved aside at pastors' fellowships, there are some who are in-depth students-true scholars-of God's Word. Few missionaries, however, rarely, if ever, get tapped to fully use their gifts in American churches. Again, it goes back to the "apostolic" or "duck out of water" nature of the missionary that we discussed earlier. Many mission conferences are like assembly lines, carefully timed and punched, with no spontaneity. Of course, spontaneous worship services (those where the pastor and the people truly wait on
God and know the Spirit's leading) are very rare among independent Baptists in this generation.
Some missionaries are very good thinkers and writers on Bible and missionary themes. Consider how missionaries, trying to preach and teach in foreign languages, must study the usages of words in the Scriptures. Think of how many of them must write entire correspondence courses and Bible institute courses. Recently a pastor excitedly mentioned to me how that a pastor in Washington State had compiled a wonderful Bible college course, and how beneficial it could be to missionaries, and how that they just have to buy a set and they can use it on the field. Alright, I take it at face value that that Washington pastor had compiled a good work and that it could be adapted on the mission field. But I was amused that the pastor doesn't realize that there are also missionaries who have, themselves, written full Bible institute courses, and that those courses could be adapted by American pastors to great benefit as well.
Some missionaries are involved in Bible translation work which requires intensive Bible-study disciplines, the kind of discipline in which ninety-nine percent of American pastors will never engage, though they be considered great pastors. Our son, Matthew, with others, recently completed the Gospel of John in Mongolian. We are apprised of some of the biblical questions and issues that were painstakingly studied and treated for accuracy in translation. This intensive discipline provides the under-girding necessary for future in-depth Bible instruction. I feel that it is a shame that, even though foreign national Christians receive the resulting benefits of the missionaries disciplines, such missionaries are rarely given the opportunities to benefit American churches so fully while they are on furlough. We understand, however, that the missionary is called to another people, of another land, perhaps of another language. Where he finds acceptance will often reflect this.
Many missions conferences do not feature the preaching and teaching of the missionaries themselves. Many pastors like to have several missionaries present to give a testimony and to show an audiovisual presentation of their work. Perhaps a missionary and his wife will sing, or an entire family will sing. If the host church also operates a Christian day school, the missionaries may be used to address classes. The preaching services, however, feature a mission board director or a pastor. All of that is fine, and missionaries will not be heard complaining during the conference, if they are spiritual men. Furthermore, missionaries are interested in speaking to the children's and young people's Sunday School, and to the Christian day school students, because they see the need to encourage young people to consider giving their lives to world evangelization. But may I suggest that some of the missionaries themselves are very solid preachers? Many missionaries who are home on furlough would make effective main speakers at conferences.
There are wonderfully gifted pastors. We thank God for them. I will now let you in on a seemingly well-kept secret: There are some wonderfully gifted missionaries as well. Once in 1988 I accompanied Brother (now Evangelist) Noah Frye to a fellowship meeting near Danville, Virginia. At that time, Brother Frye was the pastor of the Spruce Street Baptist Church in Lexington, North Carolina. During the meeting the pastor of the host church asked all "pastors and full-time Christian workers" to stand and to introduce themselves. I stood up along side of Pastor Frye. There were one or two other missionaries, too, who stood and introduced themselves. Then the host pastor said from the pulpit, "I would give the missionaries some time this afternoon but this is a preachers' fellowship." Brother Frye jumped back up to his feet and declared, "Missionaries are preachers!" Brother Frye, who had also put in much time preaching in the mountain villages of Haiti and was heavily involved in the ministries of church-planting missionaries in New England, was quite upset that there was a pastor who made a distinction between preachers and missionaries, as if missionaries were something besides. Yes, God-called missionaries are preachers!
Missionaries as Bible Preachers and Teachers
Pastors of American churches are not necessarily better preachers than are missionaries. Some American pastors have concluded that most missionaries cannot preach because those missionaries may not use a particular pulpit style or manner that those pastors appreciate. There are many godly and spiritual missionaries who are truly "apostles" to some foreign people for the Truth of the Gospel, who would not emotionally stir the preachers of many camps and factions in the United States. On the other hand, we have listened and watched some real corn-shelling preachers from America try to preach through translators and sound as though they couldn't name the books of the New Testament if they were asked to do so. We have watched camp meeting-style preachers preach to gatherings in the Philippines and leave the pulpit feeling like they had been largely ignored, when in fact their message was appreciated, but received with more emotional reserve. The truth is that no one style of preaching encompasses all of what preaching is.
When I pastored in Florida (1982 to 1987), we had many foreign missionaries come through our church. I can not tell you how many sermons we heard on Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, Acts 1:8 and Isaiah 6. Some of our people began to politely complain to me in private, "We hear the same sermon from every missionary." It seemed to be so. To the ears of our church members, the outlines just seemed too similar from missionary to missionary. So I began to contact missionaries from some of the smaller, lesser-known mission boards, and I began to ask around for independent Baptist missionaries who went directly out of their home churches, too. I soon began to discover many missionaries who could really preach the Word of God with power. One of the greatest messages I have ever heard on the subject of the Blood of Jesus Christ was delivered on a Sunday night at a church in Salisbury, North Carolina, by a missionary to Papua New Guinea. One of the finest messages I have ever heard on the ministry of Elijah was preached by a missionary to England.
Missionary-Operated Bible Institutes on the Field
One time a visiting pastor invited one of our young national preachers to go to the United States to study in his Bible College. The invitation was made without our knowledge. The prospect of going to America, as would be expected, excited the young national preacher. The national man began looking for ways to accept the invitation and go to the States. The national man began to approach me for help to go and study in America. He would need money. He would need help at the American embassy to apply for and acquire the appropriate visa. I declined all assistance. I did not help him.
I wrote to that American pastor who had extended the invitation to the national, and informed him, quite frankly, that I would not be involved in any process to get the man to the United States. You see, we had already been engaged daily in teaching the Scriptures to that national preacher. I do not want to sound arrogant or superior, but we were already giving that man an education at least as advanced, if not more so, than he could have received at that Bible college in America. We were also teaching in such a manner that would help him apply his learning to the winning of people and establishing churches in his own country and culture-something that would not have been a rule in an American Bible college. National preachers who are trained on the field are more likely to establish truly indigenous national churches. It is not advisable to begin a habit of dependency on things American.
Missionaries should be constantly developing their own abilities to teach the Scriptures to the national men who, under their ministry, surrender to preach the Gospel. I cannot imagine the Apostle Paul sending his preacher boys to Jerusalem to go to Bible school. In fact, it would have been wrong to do so because God had clearly separated Paul's ministry from that of the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb (Romans ch. 15; Galatians ch. 2; Ephesians ch. 3; etc.). Missionaries should sit down and plan out a systematic course of instruction to train faithful men locally on the field. The materials should be preserved. The teaching should be recorded. The teaching plans should be continuously improved upon and supplemental materials should increase in availability. The recording of the instruction makes it much easier to improve upon it in subsequent classes, and the materials become available for both national pastors who train others, and for new generations of missionaries to that field. Instructional hours should be documented. If God has given any missionary any "faithful men," he is responsible to "commit" to those men what he himself has learned (2 Timothy 2:2). The missionary is not told to send his faithful men away to another place to be taught in the Scriptures and trained in the ministry. Missionaries of like precious faith who have similar convictions, and who serve in close proximity could have a joint Bible institute. But even where a missionary is in a remote location and is isolated, he can fully train faithful men in the Scriptures. If any missionary has no intention of training national men under his ministry, for the ministry, he has either not understood his calling, or he is derelict in it.
Frankly, I believe that for any American pastor to visit a mission field and to suggest that any national men travel to the United States to attend Bible college is wrong. Consider the following points.
- When an American pastor tries to invite foreign national men to leave their country and travel to the United States, it could be a point of arrogance or superiority over the national. It could be the "We can do it better in America" attitude.
- It could be a point of arrogance or superiority over the missionary. It could be the "I (or my alma mater, or my church's school) can do it better than the missionary" attitude.
- It may be a means by which the American pastor (or college president) puts a feather in his own hat among his ministerial peers or colleagues in America. The secular colleges and universities have competed for foreign students for a century or more, and now even independent Baptist colleges are emulating the world in this regard.
- It may be a means by which the American pastor (or mission board director) raises more money, using the foreign national as a kind of "poster child."
- It reveals a misunderstanding by the American pastor or mission board director, of the missionary's call and the missionary's duties. It denies the truth that the missionary, himself, should be training the nationals.
- If carried through, it separates the national from his own people, and lures him to styles and methods that are western, trendy and often worldly and apostate. We could write a book of the examples we have seen of this.
- If carried through, it creates a harmful dependency on the United States and the American Dollar that hinders the indigenous nature and the indigenous development of national churches.
Pastors! If the churches send and support a missionary abroad, they are thereby saying that that missionary is qualified to plant churches and to train national preachers for those churches. You should insist that the missionaries do their job, and you should abandon and repudiate the modern trend of trying to get foreign national preachers to travel to America!
Missionary-Learn to Preach, Learn to Teach!
There are, of course, those missionaries who do not seem to give much help to congregations, their own families or to themselves from the pulpit. There are those missionaries who tend to use the same small handful of sermons over and over again, and their families can mouth the sermon with them, having heard it dozens of times. There are those who seem to think (maybe he was mis-instructed to think) that the missionary must restrict his preaching to obviously traditional missions-promoting texts (Isaiah 6:1-8; Matthew 28:19, 20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8; etc.).
Brother Missionary! Does not the Holy Spirit strike your heart with Bible texts and subjects other than those directly related to the "Go" and "Send" passages? We do not suggest that there is anything wrong with preaching those passages-they are the Word of God. But the Bible contains more than eleven hundred chapters in sixty-six books from which to preach. Do you never read them? Do they not speak personally to your heart? If God has called you to preach then He has called you to preach all the counsel of God.
Let me give some counsel to young missionaries:
- Develop sermons as does the pastor of a church-at least three, plus a Sunday school lesson each week. Yes, take the time to pray intensely, study intensely, and write at least four biblical exhortations per week. Believe me; your family will appreciate it! Yes, you do have time to do this if your priorities are correct.
- Don't assume that independent Baptist congregations consist of all regenerated people-it is useful and okay to preach sermons on the subjects of the soul's salvation, justification, righteousness and regeneration. It's alright to be used of the Holy Spirit to stir and trouble unsaved church members.
- Preach on topics that genuinely stir you in your personal Bible study.
- Preach much of what you believe you will have to preach on the mission field-"all the counsel of God."
- Remember that churches where there is much in-depth preaching and teaching will appreciate a missionary who preaches in depth. And churches that hear not much more than milk might also appreciate a little meat, especially from a missionary.
- Always make much of Christ in your preaching!
Do you need some good books to stir your interest in in-depth teaching and preaching? Get Clarence Larkin's books. Get Horatio and Andrew Bonar's books. Read the works of Sir Robert Anderson. Obtain I.M. Haldeman's and Charles Spurgeon's books. And just to get under the skin of my Baptist brethren, let me say that it would serve you well to read after many of the Plymouth Brethren and other independent preachers in the British Isles who were writing on the Old Testament characters, typology, biblical themes and prophesy at the close of the Nineteenth Century and the opening of the Twentieth. I will go further and say that, besides men like Oliver B. Greene and Harold Sightler, there are very few Baptist men since the Second World War who are worth reading after, if you want in-depth Bible teaching. There are a few....but just a few. Most books written since 1950 contain just a weak rehash of older, much purer material. Get older books! I mean, books written between the years 1700 and 1940.
Looking through my own notes, I can recall that on the deputation trail and in our supporting churches I have preached messages in all of the following areas and more:
1. evangelistic Gospel (salvation).
2. personal and ecclesiastical separation.
3. the King James (Final Authority) issue.
4. prophetic and dispensational themes.
5. the doctrine of the Church.
6. the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
7. the parables in Matthew and Luke and made the distinctions between Israel and the New Testament Body of Christ.
8. personal evangelism or soul winning.
9. the fundamental doctrines of the Bible.
10. the Baptist Distinctives.
11. church music and worship.
12. the biblical home and family.
13. headship and coverture responsibilities of husbands.
14. how young people can remain pure into their marriages.
15. child-rearing and education.
16.world-wide evangelization, in general, and teaching specific missionary procedures.
I have preached on scores of other topics and themes found in the Scriptures. Being missionaries, we are not required to restrict our preaching to messages on missions or on "Faith Promise." We are to obey God's leadership in our preaching just as much as any pastor must obey.
On the field of our calling we do not restrict our preaching to messages on missions. We must preach all the counsel of God. We must preach the Gospel to all men, and we must preach the Scriptures to edify the believers in the national churches abroad, just as pastors in the United States should edify the believers in American churches. As stated earlier, the missionary is actually the first "pastor" of many new believers on the field, before a national pastor is raised up to take the national flock. The missionary must "pastor" in his preaching. This being the case, the missionary should be able to demonstrate his enabling of God to preach all the counsel of God while in American pulpits as well. And, in case any are unaware, there are many, many spiritually starved American congregations of independent Baptists. Missionaries who will learn to study and learn to preach have a great opportunity to help many of these starving churches. Missionary, if you don't know how to preach, we advise that you first learn to study, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). Also learn to pray fervently. Learn to rely of God's Holy Spirit for your message. And when God gives you something, practice preaching to the cows in the field or to the trees in a forest glen. Imagine a Thousand people in front of you....and PREACH!!
Communications from Missionaries-Missionaries Meeting Pastors
Communications in Writing. A missionary sends, perhaps, hundreds of letters out, hoping to introduce to local Baptist pastors what God has called him to do. Some of the missionaries are just starting out and have not yet been to the field. Others are veterans, perhaps with many years of service behind them. A real challenge in writing letters is to not appear to be begging in any way; not begging either for meetings or for money. The missionary wants to have his motives correct, and perhaps he will, by writing his letters, encourage someone to pray for him and for his family. And that might be the end of it.
Nevertheless, the missionary needs to find ways to let people know what God wants him to do, or what God has been doing, so he writes letters. Some spend quite a lot of time and money on very elaborate printings, sometimes even on slick paper. There are usually photographs. He purchases envelopes and paper, and spends money on Xerox copies, and then puts out a lot of money in postage. Postage at this writing is 39¢ per first class ounce.
The pastors who receive the letters of self-introduction from missionaries can not possibly invite every missionary about which they read to visit the church and to present their ministries. The pastors can not even respond in writing to everything that arrives in the mail from missionaries. The missionary, however, knows this. I should say, the missionary should know this. When the missionary mails out introduction packages, he can hope for most of the receiving pastors to respond in some way, but most will not. Most letters from missionaries end up in the waste basket and dumpster.
We have been in the habit of inserting a response slip, along with an envelope that already bears paid return postage and our address. The receiving pastor is asked but to check-mark certain options and to return the slip of paper in the envelope provided. There is even a place to check-mark the words, "We are not interested in your ministry." Yes, the pastor may be so blunt with us, and we pay for the envelope and the postage for that expression of bluntness to be returned to us. But do you know that most pastors do not even return a postage paid envelope to a missionary? What does the pastor do with the envelope? Does he throw it in the trash, wasting the postage altogether? Does he cover or white out the missionary's address and use the envelope and postage for his own purposes at the expense of the missionary? We are not talking here about a neo-evangelical missionary writing to an independent, fundamentalist Baptist pastor. We are not talking about a para-church ministry or business sending advertising to an independent Baptist pastor. We are talking about independent, fundamentalist Baptist missionaries writing to pastors who are thought to be of like faith, and who have probably preached words to the effect, "Missions is the business of the Church." Not wanting to sound as if I am childishly griping, I have often wondered why pastors could not even extend the simple courtesy of dropping a response envelope in the mail back to us, after we have paid for the envelope and for the postage stamp. He doesn't have to invite us to his church. He can scribble the words, "REMOVE ME FROM YOUR MAILING LIST AND DON'T CONTACT ME AGAIN!", if he feels it necessary to do so. But if he does not, then what does the pastor do with the envelope and the paid postage?! What did that pastor do with God's money that was sent to me to use in my ministry?!
Communications by Telephone. Many missionaries will tell you that first-time telephone communications with pastors are very awkward. Missionaries who have some previous experience in business or in sales may find the telephone approach somewhat easier. If a missionary views his role on deputation as a fund raiser ("Get that support!"), then he may have no problem developing a slick telephone approach style. Men who view the deputation process as a ministry to churches, however, don't want to come across as a telemarketer.
Very skilled missionaries who are spiritual men can often sound like oafs over a telephone, because they are not self-promoters-they are Christ exalters. We live in a day when many churches expect missionaries to have very polished multimedia presentations. Missionaries who haven't taken the time away from their ministries to learn how to create great computer-generated shows (Power Point, etc.) are looked at as "behind the times" in many places. Our church people in 2006, with (generally speaking) a much lower level of spirituality than the believers of 1940, are now primarily visually oriented, visually motivated, visually emotionalized, and visually activated. And this is the problem with many pastors as well. So a missionary who doesn't come across as a news anchor man, or a radio talk show host, over the telephone may not get very far.
Missionaries and Church Secretaries. I will write something here that will not be received well by many pastors or by many church secretaries either. There is something very wrong when a female employee of a church speaks in very authoritative terms to a God-called missionary concerning the "mission policies" of the church. I have telephoned churches meaning to speak to pastors, only to be intercepted by women who spoke to me as though they were the pastors and I was an eighteen year-old student in the Christian day school. Instead of being asked to speak to the pastors at some later appropriate time, some female secretaries would use my phone nickels for five more minutes to lecture me on how their churches deal with missionaries. Now we understand that some pastors have instructed their secretaries to do this. So I will be so bold as to state again that there is something wrong when a female secretary so authoritatively addresses a man of God who telephones the church for any reason.
Okay, I have now given myself away. I believe women should be in their own homes, tending to their own husbands and children in domestic matters (Titus 2:3-5). Women shouldn't be secretaries in church offices, and the way some of them speak to missionaries over phones is a good illustration as to why they should be home under the headship of their own husbands. The teachings of the New Testament with regard to the home and to women should be the first reason, but then, what independent Baptist church believes the New Testament anymore in these matters? Some will ask, "Brother Bob, if women shouldn't work in the church offices, then who should do this work?" Well, if you take away the women, that leaves men. p - w = m, where p = people, w = women and m = men. Why not train men to mind church offices? If the church is large enough to need a secretary or an office manager, then the church is probably large enough to use young faithful men, who have an interest in the ministry, for this task.
In 1987, I telephoned Victory Baptist Church in North Jacksonville, Florida, hoping to speak to the (then) Pastor, Dr. Arthur Estes, who had known me from my participation in several meetings at his church. We were then headed for the mission field, and were hoping to present our calling to Dr. Estes' people. A female receptionist answered the phone. I gave her a full introduction and requested to speak specifically to Dr. Arthur Estes. I used his name. The receptionist placed me on hold to speak to the pastor's secretary-female, of course. I went through my entire introduction a second time, and I asked specifically, once again, to speak to Dr. Arthur Estes. Again, I used his name. The secretary said, "Dr. Estes is no longer our full-time pastor." I asked in surprise, "Oh, has he retired?" "Yes," the secretary replied, "And he is dead!" Of course, I was suddenly speechless! I was then lectured by the secretary on church mission policy before I was allowed to speak to the then current pastor. I did get to speak to the pastor, but he was a ‘pharaoh who knew not Joseph,' and I was not given consideration. I was not upset that the new pastor didn't invite us. I was bewildered and embarrassed that the receptionist didn't inform me about the decease of the former pastor, Dr. Estes, and allowed me to go through my introduction and request a second time with the pastor's secretary. Frankly, both of those women should have been home baking biscuits for their own husbands and children!
To segue in to the section on meeting pastors face-to-face, let me say that the female secretary issue sometimes comes up when a missionary visits a church during a weekday. On one day in 2005, I visited a church in Louisville, Kentucky, hoping to speak to the pastor, or at least to one of his assistant pastors. During a previous telephone conversation, I had actually been told by the pastor to "Drop by." Once at his church, however, I was led to the desks of four(!) female office workers, each of whom had some segment of policy or instruction to enunciate to me. I thought I was back in the Air Force having to deal with WAFs in the base administration section! I never got to speak to a single man, even though that church has a number of male staff members, and several were present and milling around in the offices. I can honestly say that I was polite to each woman. But I left wondering why I had just had conversations with the wives of four other men, each one giving me instructions. I also left wondering what the teaching on the home must be from the pulpit of that church. That the pastor was unavailable was not a problem with me; I could return another time. Having to deal with women, who should have been home tending to their own domestic duties, was very awkward to me as a Bible-believer. That church has a college! There are many young men in that college. Are there no men there who need experience at church office management as part of their training? What is this feminizing of God's work?!
The major point I am making is that missionaries should treat pastors with the respect of being God-called men with authority in their office. Pastors should treat missionaries with respect of being God-called men who are trying to obey their calling to "Go!" Any pastor who has ever said something like, "Missions is the mission of the Church" should have no argument with what I am talking about. If any pastors would respond to my remarks by stating that most missionaries who call or come by are deserving of no more than facing their women folk, then I would answer that those pastors are derelict in the performance of their own calling for not training men who are deserving of more respect. Let's see them train some missionaries who won't be treated the way we have described in the last paragraphs while they are on deputation.
Communications by Face-to-Face Meeting. This is my favorite, and the one I believe to be the most effective...and proper. Having written information to give to pastors is always useful, but, as far as I am concerned, the post offices are all closed and the telephones are all short circuited in comparison to meeting face-to-face with pastors. There are several kinds of personal meetings to consider.
Sometimes I pick a route and visit pastors along that route in their offices or in their homes. Sometimes a pastor cannot be found, but in this situation I attempt to leave some literature where the pastor will know I've been by. This makes a later telephone contact or later visit to be just a little easier. It is difficult to find pastors of small churches when just traveling through a town, as many have their studies at home, and many work a job to supplement their income. During the week there is rarely anyone at the facilities of many churches. In our day, female secretaries working alone at church must keep the doors locked, and we understand this. I've had to slide papers to female workers through the cracks between double glass doors, and that sort of thing.
But often the pastor of a church will be at the facility and the face-to-face meeting is usually very useful. The chat may not yield a meeting in the near schedule, but it may prompt prayer in the missionary's behalf. It may create a friendship. It may bring up a useful reference to another pastor. It may provide information about revivals, preachers' fellowships and mission conferences that are scheduled in the area. If one pastor will personally and fervently pray with one missionary, the meeting will have been worth the trip.
I stopped by one well-known church in northern Kentucky in early 2006. I was very honored and blessed to get to sit with the pastor for about thirty minutes and discuss missions. When I left his office, I had no promise at all of a meeting at his church to present our work. But we had had a blessed season of prayer together. In September, 2006, I was helping to organize a new church in Shanghai, China when I received a letter from that same man in northern Kentucky. He informed me that he had resigned his church, was studying at a language institute, and would be joining his own son on the mission field in the South Pacific. He stated that the Lord had strongly moved him during my visit to his office, that my discussion of missions had been a very principal factor, and that he traces his call to missions directly to my visit. Now, it wasn't me....it was the Lord! But don't you think that I am most blessed to have been used in some measure as an instrument in that dear pastor's life? And don't you think that that one visit to the office of a man I have met only that one time, was well worth the time, gasoline, wear on my vehicle, aggravation in traffic, and so forth? You had better believe that I count that personal, face-to-face visit with that pastor to be of equal or greater value than had I gotten what I had hoped for when I walked in. And that day in that man's office, I was fulfilling a very important aspect of what God has called me to do! It was God's perfect will for me to meet and encourage that pastor at that particular time in his ministry, and it really doesn't matter that I was not invited to present our work to his entire church.
Young missionaries, have a message! Know your calling in all of the aspects thereof. Be ready to minister to one or to a thousand. Be ready to be a blessing to another man of God. One-on-one, face-to-face meetings with pastors in their offices are often a time to minister to that man! Are you ready to be a blessing to him? If not, perhaps neither would you help his church, and perhaps you shouldn't be invited to try. You're not ready to encourage a man of God one-on-one in his office? If not, why should he invite you to promote yourself from his pulpit?
Attending Special Services. We often drive to attend revival meetings, pastors' fellowships and mission conferences. We might have opportunity to be a help to the meeting. We might help with the music. We might help as altar workers. In small churches, just filling up more seats is an encouragement to the effort, to the host pastor and to the evangelist or mission speaker. Over the years we have made many friends in the ministry and many friends among God's common folk just this way. Many of the churches that support our work now first became familiar with us in just such a meeting.
I have heard some pastors and missionaries say that missionaries should not attend missions conferences to which they were not specifically invited. We have ignored this advice. We don't know why any Christian would ever tell another Christian not to go to church. To tell another missionary not to visit a missions conference would be just like telling an evangelist not to attend a revival meeting where he is not the featured speaker. It would be like telling any preacher not to attend a camp meeting because the speakers are already invited and lined up. We have never had a problem attending a missions conference when we have done so without any presumption with regard to the pastor's program. We don't attend expecting that we should be called upon to do anything. We attend with the motive of simply encouraging the effort by our presence, prayer and offerings. But often we have been asked to testify during the meeting with regard to our calling and our work. And there have been times when pastors have asked us to join the conferences as full participants.
When missionaries and their families attend any meetings, they should remember that they are guests, and they should be determined to be the humblest of servants should they be called upon to help the meeting in any way. They should also be willing to do nothing at all but to be cheerful, prayerful and giving attendees, and their smiling faces will encourage the moderators, the participants and the church members. Attend as a servant. God will bless us in our spirits when we have a servant's heart and attitude.
More about the Missionary's Practical Authority and the Need for American Pastors and Church Members to understand It
Stacey Shiflett is a former missionary to South Africa, and now the pastor of Pleasant View Baptist Church in Taylors, South Carolina. He preached a message entitled, Why Uriah Didn't Make It, and I want to give you here a transcript of a short portion of that message. In that sermon, directly related to missions, Brother Shiflett made these statements that are well worth their inclusion here:
"There is a fine line between boldness and anger. There is a fine line between compromise and longsuffering."
From Brother Shiflett's message, Why Uriah Didn't Make it, we learn the following:
I. Uriah had Family Problems.
1. Uriah had Unfulfilled passions. Wife indiscrete.
2. Uriah had Unnatural priorities. Ministry over family.
II. He was Fearful of the Brethren (what they would say).
We call ourselves Independent Baptists, but we act like Catholics about half the time. Because we can't make a decision without getting someone else's opinion on it" We can't do anything at our church...we can't do anything on the mission field without checking through headquarters. ... I was taught that the priesthood of the believer was a Bible doctrine. I was also taught that the soul liberty of the believer was not only a Bible doctrine but [that it was] a Baptist distinctive. ... We say we preach the whole counsel of God but we don't want to talk about that too much, and I'm going to tell you why.
We don't want to preach to our people about the Soul Liberty of the Believer and we don't want to preach out of Romans 14, and we don't want to talk about the Priesthood of the Believer, ‘cause we're afraid they're going to take that liberty and use it against us in the area of pastoral authority. But if we're going to take that opinion we might as well not preach on eternal security because there's people that would abuse that doctrine and use it as a license to sin. If it's in there, Friend, you ought to preach it! I trust the Holy Spirit of God. And I trust the word of God. And I'm not afraid to preach the whole counsel of God.
But you don't hear a lot of preaching anymore about the soul liberty of the believer, and you don't hear a lot of preaching anymore about the priesthood of the believer, because we can't put on deodorant without asking somebody if that brand's okay. And I'm going to tell you what's happening. I [am not] talking about a checks and balance system. I'm talking about getting away from the leadership of the Holy Ghost.
Those guys in the field had absolutely no idea where Uriah was at, and what he was doing, and what his situation was, and if he had done what his heart told him to do, if he'd done what his passions told him to do, if he had done what his common sense told him to do, he wouldn't have got in a mess. And because he was worried about what everybody else was going to say, he did the wrong thing. He had a right to be where he was at, he had a reason for what he was doing, but he was more concerned about his reputation than he was about his responsibilities.
I'm going to tell you there's a passage over in Philippians that has helped me-talking about the Lord Jesus Christ. And that little phrase, Brother Raynes, where he says, "He made himself of no reputation." Would to God we could get there. Would to God we could be more concerned about being made a servant, and doing what needs to be done, than making a name for our self! ...
I'm talking about this man (Uriah) is sitting in the doorway with the servants, sleeping with a bunch of stinking slaves, and his beautiful, gorgeous wife - God said she was beautiful - was right down the road, and all he had to do was go home and sleep in his own bed, and he would not do it because he was afraid somebody was going to criticize him! I wonder how many times we put ourselves out ‘cause we're afraid what somebody's going to say? ... Romans chapter fourteen, verse number twelve says this: "So then every one of us shall give an account of himself to God." ... We got too many chiefs and not enough Indians, is the problem. We've got too many policemen.
I'm going to tell you something: I don't have time to keep up with all the gossip-I don't have time! ... Last time I checked, one of the things that God hated was sowing discord among the brethren! And if you don't like what I'm doing-if you don't agree with what I'm doing-that is your prerogative, that is your option, but you don't have a biblical right to go and run me down to everybody. You don't have a right! Nobody died and made you the pope! We are independent, fundamental, autonomous, indigenous local churches. And what each church does ain't anybody else's business! ...
We brag about being independent. We ain't independent! He (Uriah) was fearful of the brethren. He knew good and well what he was going to put up with when he got back, so he says, "I ain't even going to do it, I ain't going to go home, I ain't even going to go wash my feet, I'm not even going to get a shower, I'm not even going to eat, because when I get back I don't want to have to put up with what they're going to say." Well it cost him his life. It cost him his life.
I started this message out talking about balance, okay? I believe there's a balance of pastoral authority and the priesthood of the believer. Don't fall out with me. They're both Bible doctrines. And if you're a pastor, and the doctrine of the priesthood of the believer makes you nervous, I would never want to be a member of your church. I trust the Holy Spirit of God completely.
III. (Another reason why Uriah did not make it.) He Had Fellow Laborers With Their Own Agenda. (v. 14).
God have mercy. Now listen! I ain't preaching on Joab, nor am I preaching on David. If you've been in this fight very long, there's going to be a lot of both of them. Alright, I'm trying to be Uriah, and I'm trying to get through this alive. But I'm going to tell you one reason he didn't make it: [It] was because there were fellow laborers that had their own agendas! He was betrayed by his own brethren! He was killed by his own kin! He was let down by his own leaders! Now this is what bothers me. [Read verse 1.]
Now if you know anything at all about a "besiege" or a "siege" around a city, you just simply surround that city, and you camp out, and you cut off their water and food supply, and wait for them to surrender. And that's what they were doing; even Uriah admitted to that when he said they were camping out in the open field in verse number eleven (v. 11). But we get down to verse number sixteen (v. 16) and Joab goes and picks a fight with the valiant, mightiest men of the enemy, and puts Uriah right down there in the middle of it; and it was a fight that wasn't even necessary.
It was a fight that wasn't even going to help the situation. We call it politics. There's more politics in the independent Baptist movement than Washington has ever seen. And I'm going to tell you something: that's one reason I come to this camp meeting, because I don't see that right here. If I was at another camp meeting, I wouldn't be preaching, see. And it's not just because I'm young, but it's because I'm a missionary. And see, missionaries preaching at camp meetings really just don't go together, does it?! ...
I'm talking about David and Joab, now, they were more about their position than they [were about] their partner. They [were] more concerned about their pride, than they were [about] their partner. They [were] more concerned about their problems than they were [about] their partner. And their partner (Uriah), who was fighting on the same side as they were, that was helping them, and fighting for them, immediately became the expendable crewman.
Well there's more where he came from; just let him go, let him die, we'll cover our rear ends, and we'll keep our positions, and everything will be okay! I hope to God nobody in here feels that way about me today. I don't want to be thought of as the expendable crewman. "Well, if Brother Stacey don't make it out there, Bless God, we'll just....God will send somebody else over there." Lord, have mercy! We've been over there four and a half years; come limping in for furlough. "Yea, for Brother Stacey! Let's push him on out there for another term; see if he comes back alive!" ... There's more missionaries where he came from. We'll find some old boy at the church that can't preach ....
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The Pros and Cons of the Deputation Process
We have already written somewhat about the missionary's attitude about what he should be doing in American churches, and we have written some about how missionaries may meet local church pastors. We want to write some on the subject of the deputation process itself and what happens with the time spent on the deputation trail.
There are some pastors scattered around who don't believe that the deputation procedure is scriptural. Our position is that it is as scriptural as the missionary himself keeps it. It can be scriptural, or it can be an un-scriptural waste of time and resources. Pastors and local churches should work at learning to discern between the two.
The word deputation, obviously, comes from the word depute, and is related to the word deputy. Webster's (Unabridged) Dictionary of the English Language gives us these definitions:
1. to give (authority, functions, etc.) to someone else as deputy.
2. to appoint as a substitute or agent to act for another; to appoint and send with a special commission or authority to transact business in another's name; to delegate; as, the sheriff deputes a man to serve a writ.
3. to set aside or apart; to assign.
Deputation is both a legal and diplomatic word much like emissary and envoy. Diplomats (ambassadors, emissaries, envoys) are sent on missions by the one(s) to whom they are loyal.
Now, any serious student of the New Testament can see in these definitions that a missionary and his sending church certainly can make the deputation procedure a Scriptural one. The missionary is called of God, and the local church is convinced by God's Holy Spirit that the missionary should be sent (see Acts 13:1-4), deputed, and given authority and functions. The local assembly can not pick up and go to far-flung mission fields, so it appoints a substitute or agent-the missionary-to act for it, and sends him with a special commission and authority to transact its Gospel business where it cannot act for itself.
Although a missionary can really only be sent and commissioned by one local church, many local churches of like faith and practice are not prohibited by the Scriptures from cooperating together (2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9), with the sending church, to send the missionary. And this is the basis for missionaries coming by your local churches and presenting to you what God has called them to do.
We, as independent, Bible-believing Baptist missionaries, have no large cover organization on which to depend for a salary as do, say, Southern Baptist Convention, and other denominational missionaries. We do not want to have such an organization. Yes, the Southern Baptists may impress us with their Cooperative Program, but I am not impressed at all with the fact that local churches within the SBC are rarely closely connected with, or familiar with, the missionaries that their money goes to support by way of salary and expense accounts. And there is a larger accountability to the local churches that is forsaken in the practice of the Cooperative Program. I am also not impressed with the fact that the Southern Baptist Cooperative Program pays salaries to worldly, neo-evangelical people all over the world.
Independent Baptist churches should seize and not ever let go of the honor and responsibility they have to closely discriminate in their choices of missionaries to support. It should be part of the training, edifying and maturing process of local church members to be able to discern the biblical credentials of the missionaries they support. This training should come from the pastor's pulpit. There is nothing wrong with a close examination of a missionary by the congregation itself. They should ask him of his doctrine and practices, and examine the content of the principal message he will deliver when he arrives on the field of his calling. He should be delivering that same clear Redemption message in American churches. How can a congregation be so closely involved, however, unless the pastor is first involved in the in-depth teaching of his people in these very areas of Christian life and duty. The interaction of missionaries with local churches in these regards, therefore, has a highly spiritual purpose that is, in our view of the work of God, indispensable.
As stated earlier in this work, the missionaries need friends among God's people, and they need an army of prayer warriors. The deputation process in local churches is clearly a wonderful opportunity for people to listen and to be moved by the Holy Spirit into a ministry of prayer for the missionaries. Some may not be able to give large sums of money to the missionaries' endeavors, but they can win great victories for God's servants far away on their knees in prayer. Missionaries speaking in local churches is also the best way for young people to get an introduction to the work of missions by which God may call some of them into Christian service.
Missionary Families as Parts of Teams
During my most recent furlough period, one North Carolina pastor suggested to me that missionary families should not be sent as lone units to the field, but that they should work in teams with other families. A large part of his reasoning was based on the fact-and it is fact-that the Apostles themselves didn't travel alone but in companies and that there were ordinarily two Apostles working side-by-side. This certainly can be substantiated by a reading over of the Acts of the Apostles.
First, let us say that we would encourage families, on foreign fields especially, to work together when possible, and to reside close enough to each other so that they can be of support one-to-another. We do see great benefit in families working as teams. Teaming up provides much in the way of accountability and protection of each others' reputations. Is that so important? Oh, yes! The more wicked this world becomes, the more important accountability to others becomes. Teaming up provides much in the way of spiritual growth: power in united prayer, joint study of the Scriptures, counseling each other, encouraging each other.
Should a law-edict be established, however, that says that families must work as teams with other families? Should missionary families be denied support if they are not serving directly alongside other missionary families? Every local church must decide for itself how they are going to support missionaries, and none of us who are missionaries have the prerogative to criticize any local church for setting its own rules and procedures in any of these matters.
Let us return, however, to the Acts of the Apostles for a moment. There you see the Apostles working in pairs (and teams, when you consider their entire companies). This is thought by some pastors to set a definite precedent. We ask that pastors exercise caution in the exercise of this. None of the Apostles, as far as we know, traveled with a wife and children in tow. Does the Book of Acts, then, set the precedent that missionaries should not take their families to the field? We think not.
Further, the Apostles kept moving from city to city. Does the Book of Acts set the precedent that missionaries should not settle in one location to labor there for many years at a time? I think not. In fact, if a missionary in this generation were to move about in his work from city to city and from region to region, even if souls were coming to Christ in the effort, very many American pastors would consider that missionary to be unstable and would deny him support.
There are now many missionaries serving with their families inside Communist countries, where to be too closely connected to other missionaries on a day-to-day working basis would be highly conspicuous and would tend to draw the wrong kind of attention from the enemies of the work of God among communist government authorities. Our work is in this category, and we have found it such that we may, from-time-to-time, get together with other missionary families for fellowship and encouragement, but we are safer (and the national believers, therefore, are safer) if we keep our work quite separated. Now, I may hear some objection to these statements by some nowadays, who have knowledge of a new trend to work in teams inside China. But we are talking about (and we associate with) missionaries who are forthright Gospel preaching and in-depth Bible teaching missionaries. We are not talking about men who give ninety percent to the "tent-making" side and only ten percent to the Gospel preaching side. In our many years in China, beginning in 1990, we have always been seven hours or more by train from the location of other independent, Bible-believing missionary families who are of like practice.
So, though we believe that there can certainly be many benefits in the teaming up of missionary families who serve in the same region, we do not believe that the Book of Acts necessarily sets that as a precedent, nor would we agree with that as a law-edict to be enforced on missionaries.
Before we leave the subject of missionary teams, however, allow me to write a little about the problems of sending and supporting single men to foreign fields. Frankly, we do not believe that it is wise, especially in our day, to commission and support single young men to serve abroad. We have encountered at least a half dozen unmarried independent Baptist men working in Asia, and we have not met one yet who was not having serious problems directly related to being single. The temptations are just too great. The moral lures are just too numerous, especially in our day. The lures are strong enough to entrap good married men! There are just too many young women, working in the public and out from under any family restrictions and monitoring, who would give or do literally anything to lure a single western man. Women preying on young single American males for the chance to escape poverty and go to golden America are found virtually everywhere.
The only way we could ever recommend single men on the foreign field would be as part of closely monitored and accountable teams. Even this we would recommend only for short-term service, say, six months maximum. And we would still not be comfortable with it. If I were pastoring a church in the United States, I don't believe I would consider supporting single young men at all, even as parts of teams. I admit that I can not give a direct Scripture reference to refuse a single young man. If a single man does go to serve abroad in a missionary capacity, I will not say that he is sinning against God. I am simply, but frankly, giving my advice from the experience of, I believe, an adequate number of years in the ministry and in foreign missions. I firmly believe that in our world today too much provision is made for a young single man's flesh when he is sent to a foreign mission field.
"But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." Romans 13:14
It is now Sunday, February 25th, 2007. After our morning preaching, I sat with a young American missionary who came to China five years ago as a single man and who is now married to a Chinese woman. We discussed a problem that is taking place in the life of another young Chinese Christian woman who is in our church. The problem was created by this woman's emotional involvement with another single American man who claims to be a missionary. The woman in our church had come to both of us and our wives for counsel. I was not surprised to hear this missionary colleague, who had himself come as a single man and married a national woman, say, "I do not recommend single men come to the mission field, and I do not recommend cross-cultural or cross-racial male-female relationships." He made this declaration directly in front of his Chinese wife, and she had no disagreement at all.
For single young men on the foreign field there is just too much potential for the flesh. Marrying cross-culturally or cross-racially also creates more trouble in the flesh than any missionary should bear. These issues are very controversial, but, without hatred toward anyone, we are herein giving you our position and our advice.
Missionary on the Field
We show up on the field and settle our family in, making sure that they are safe and secure. Some time, of course, is used to learn how to use things that help us survive. We find a house or apartment to rent. We must find out where the post office is and where the government offices are. As we go along we note where there are markets and shops. We must learn where to go to have our utilities turned on, and where to pay the bills when they come. In other words, we must do the same things that anyone does when they move in to a new district, city or state or province anywhere in the world. That is, except we must often use another language to get it all done.
Then there are the things that we must do consequent to not being citizens of that country, but being resident aliens. Yes, we are aliens, and aliens have no rights, even though we have not snuck across the borders and we have not entered illegally. The only country in the world that gives aliens (even illegal ones) so many rights is the United States. Americans in the Philippines or in China have no rights. Therefore, we must find out where to go to register ourselves and our families. In the Philippines we must register with the Barangay (village) Captain. In China it is with the Public Security Bureau. We must get fingerprinted, and we must apply for residence permits from both the local and national governments. Every country in this world, except the United States, seemingly, insists on knowing who the aliens and visitors are, where in the country they are living, and what their purposes are in that country. Our passports must be annotated appropriately. We must also pay a resident alien head tax for each member of our family and visa fees. It can be a time-consuming, expensive and hectic process, often standing in long lines, or waiting long hours in waiting rooms, and that even if using an agent to assist us. If we do use an accredited agent to make everything go "more smoothly," we must pay agency service charges. Taxes, fees, registration, police reports, and service charges for one year in the Philippines typically cost my family $800 to $1,000 or more. Those costs are rising exponentially. Most American churches and pastors are unaware of the expenses that the missionary family must put out just for the legal privilege of remaining in a foreign country.
The Purpose for All the "Trouble"
The missionary, once legally established and physically secure, along with his family, begins to look for every opportunity to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the purpose for which the missionary and his family have been through the long arduous process of getting to the field: to preach the Gospel of the Grace of God where, perhaps, Christ has not been named (Romans 15:20). Or, where His name is used in vain every ten minutes in every home, like in the Roman Catholic Philippines, the missionary's purpose is to name Christ and testify for Him according to the written Revelation of the Word of God, instead of by the traditions of men and of the devil's religions.
The missionary has the following basic functions for which he is commissioned, first by the Lord, and then by his sending church:
1. To preach the Word of God, specifically the Gospel of the Grace of God (Acts 20:21; the Gospel of the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ-1 Corinthians 15:1-8; the Ministry of Reconciliation-2 Corinthians 5:18-21; etc.), but also to preach "all the counsel of God." (Acts 20:17-27)
2. To water baptize those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ according to Paul's Gospel, as a testimony to the Church and to the world that the new believers now own Christ and His Finished Work as their only Remedy for sin, and thereby have passed from death, through Christ's death, unto the life of Christ. (Acts 8:26-40; 16:25-34; 19:3-5; etc.)
3. To gather those baptized believers into a local church, establishing the church, for edification (Christian growth, maturing and sanctification under the preaching and teaching of the Word of God) and service to their Saviour. (Acts 20:17-35; Ephesians 4:1-16; 1 Thessalonians 4:3, 4)
4. To teach and to train faithful men who shall be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2). The national believers in the indigenous local churches will need their own national elders, bishops and deacons (1 Timothy ch. 3; 2 Timothy 3:10 through 4:5; Titus ch. 1; etc.) to continue a Bible preaching ministry after the missionary is gone.
5. To then leave, go to another place, and repeat the process all over again.
We have written booklets and pamphlets for the promotion of these five areas of missionary endeavor. The Hearing of Faith was written to help new believers to clearly enunciate the simplicity of the Gospel of the Grace of God. Pauline Practice in the Churches of God highlights the Pauline Scriptures which actually instruct New Testament churches as to what they are instructed to be, and then what they will accomplish as a result. That booklet also deals with things that the churches were never instructed to do or have but have become the expectations of modern churches in the United States by tradition. Pauline Instruction for the Home is also available to help heads of households to understand their role, and the role of their families, in the purposes of God, by building and maintaining a godly witness in their homes.
The witness and work of the missionary is specific. It is far from vague. It begins with preaching the Gospel of the Grace of God. The missionary must get out and meet people in every quarter of the society to which God will open doors. He must pray for open doors, and he must pray that the Lord will quite directly bring people across his path who will listen to the message of Redemption and forgiveness of sins through Christ Jesus.
Two of the principal means we and many missionaries use are street preaching (open-air evangelism) and Gospel literature (tract) distribution. Street preaching must be primarily evangelistic; the substance of the Gospel that lost people must hear and believe to bring them from darkness to light must be the core of that preaching. Street preaching and signage that names the sins and debaucheries of the society and tells of how offensive sin is to our Holy God are valid. Preaching condemnation and reprobation without preaching the remedy for man's sin, however, is imbalanced. Sodomy and male effeminacy is a great scourge in Philippines society, and to preach this on the streets is valid. Now, Preacher, how are sinners delivered from their sin nature and from their sins? Christ must be preached as the Remedy. The Cross and the Blood of Christ, and the Substitute having taken the wrath of God in the sinner's place, must be reported on the streets and in the tracts.
Gospel literature must be clear and comprehensive. You cannot expect people in Pagan countries to understand the Gospel from the likes of most of the tracts published in church-going America today. Most Gospel tracts sent to us on the field are too shallow and incomplete. Very few explain the Vicarious Atonement or the Substitutionary offering of the Lamb of God to redeem the sinner. Most never touch the subject of how a sinner is made righteous, which God requires for entrance into Heaven. Most tracts printed in America and shipped for missionary use abroad lead unbelievers to pray a "sinner's prayer" and to trust in that prayer instead of trusting Christ and the sufficiency of His Blood-shedding, sin-washing Death and His justifying Resurrection. The tracts today are just plain too incomplete in their message and too invoking of a faithless religious response. Faith still comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Being justified by faith we have peace with God (Romans 5:1). The sinner must place his or her faith in the correct Object, and that Object is something other than self or self's doing, and the Object is not the "sinner's prayer." Most tracts printed in America make praying the "sinner's prayer" the object of faith.
Some writers of Gospel tracts are from among men who are using quickie methods of soul winning, so-called. We heard one such preach (2006) that it is his responsibility to preach the Gospel, but that it is not his responsibility to figure out whether people really get saved. An independent Baptist preacher actually said that! But if it is not his responsibility to figure out whether people really are getting saved, then he also should never tell them that they got saved! How can a man say that it is not his responsibility to figure out whether someone really got saved, and then turn around and tell someone that they got saved by praying a sinner's prayer? That preacher, further, should never report that anyone ever got saved under his ministry, because he, by his own admission, can't figure out whether they did or didn't get saved. Imagine a man leading someone through a sinner's prayer, and then telling the one praying, "You just got saved because you asked Jesus to save you," but then preaching at a conference that it is not his responsibility to figure out whether people are really being saved?! What deception. The man is deceived and he is deceiving others. How should we take such a man? What is really happening? The man is telling people that if they pray after him, God will save them. Then after they do pray, the preacher has no confidence that they really became children of God. He doubts that he'll ever see them in church. He doubts he'll ever baptize them. He knows that the next time he is visiting in their apartment complex, the people who prayed the prayer will try to hide from him. So he covers his own deception by saying, "It's not my responsibility to figure out whether they got saved." The problem is, that preacher is not really preaching the Gospel or asking people to consider and respond to truth. He has traded-in the Gospel, repentance and faith, for the rite of the sinner's prayer. And this same kind of man seems to be the kind writing most of the tracts. So, what would we expect to be the content of those tracts?
The same preacher who claimed not to have the responsibility to figure out whether all the people got saved (who he had already reported to have been saved), later in the same sermon stated that our churches are full of people who don't understand the word of God because they needed to be born again! My question is, how did so many churches get so full of so many unsaved people? Could it be the result of a kind of evangelism, so-called, that leads men to make a profession of faith without the New Birth, and then the preacher saying, "Well, it's not my responsibility to figure out whether they really got saved?"
I'm wondering how missionaries who went to Buddhist countries in Asia one hundred fifty years ago spent twenty years before they had their first convert, and yet myriad biographies are written about their spiritual lives and faithful labors. Today, missionaries are claiming that they play a recording, or a film, or hand out tracts in a Buddhist country and have twenty souls saved in one hour. One or the other was not preaching the Gospel! The same man who claimed that it was not his responsibility to figure out whether men really get saved had, not long before that deceptive sermon, made a missionary trip to a Southeast Asian nation. He figured and claimed that twenty people got saved in one hour that he was on those streets. Twenty people! Now, ‘20' is a figure. He figured that twenty people got saved, and he reported that figure. Then he said it's not his responsibility to figure out whether people get saved. But he did in fact figure! Can such a man be trusted with men's souls? What would the tracts that they write look like?
The Object of faith is so abundantly clear in Romans chapters 3 through 5 that we are astonished that tract writers, while claiming to be born-again believers, miss it when they are writing tracts. Using every verse of Romans 3:19-26 with some simple comments and cross references to guide the sinner would make a wonderful
Gospel tract, but we have never seen this done. Some tract publishers are trying to keep all of their tracts conformed to a particular format, size, and number of pages so that their very expensive machinery can be set for huge quantities. But huge quantities of nothing more than ink on paper is not what gets the job done.
Missionary Efforts Destroyed by American Pastor
During 1991 and 1992 many months of painstaking work went on to translate two sound and comprehensive Gospel tracts into Chinese. The place was a town in Hebei Province, China. The principal translator was a dear old Christian woman who had suffered miserably for her faith during the Cultural Revolution (1965-1975). Her name was Hé Yi-Fang. She is one of the greatest Christians I have met in my years in China. Sister Hé is with the Lord now. Helping us check her work was a brother we had led to Christ, and whose name I will withhold because he is still living in that province.
The tract translations were handwritten manuscripts meticulously prepared and intended for a typesetter. We didn't have computers with us in China in those days. These ink-on-paper manuscripts could not be sent through the mails for security reasons. They were eventually smuggled out of the Chinese Mainland to Hong Kong by Christian courier, Brother Todd Lundburg. From Hong Kong they were transported to the United States by the late Evangelist Woody Hoskins, who had been visiting Hong Kong. The manuscripts were carried for safe-keeping, we thought, to the offices one of the largest independent Baptist Gospel tract publishers in the United States.
Why did we ask the couriers to deliver them to that particular tract league in the United States? We had not known exactly what to do with the manuscripts once they were completed. We knew that a Chinese type-setter would be needed to begin converting these into tracts. The manuscripts were like gold! Time had been invested by Chinese Christians who risk their safety handling the Word of God. We knew that we should just get them to a safe place outside of China, and where a tract publisher could have access to the typeset copies once that process was finished. We knew that there were Chinese typesetters in Chicago and other large northern American cities.
Later in 1992 I was in the United States and went by the tract publisher where the manuscripts had been taken for safe-keeping. I asked the director of the organization about those manuscripts. I stood horrified to learn that the manuscripts had been discarded. One of the secretaries confirmed to me that they had arrived, but then thrown away. What was the reason they were ordered to be tossed out? "Our presses are set to do a particular format and those tracts would not conform to our format." That is what the director of the tract league told me personally, and if he had another reason he did not tell me. We had never insisted that that tract publisher print those tracts. We sent the manuscripts there because they needed to be safeguarded, and we had felt that such an organization, so in love with the work of Gospel literature, would surely want to help safeguard them. We knew of no other place to send them, and that particular publisher had always been kept in high praise among the churches that supported our labors. We had been in Communist China when the manuscripts were delivered in the United States. Our intentions were supposed to be conveyed by the evangelist who delivered the manuscripts.
All of that work, by dear underground Christians, was lost because of the arrogance of one man who evidently thought that his "format" was Holy Ghost-inspired and was concerned only in his own labors. Anyone else's efforts in the same area of Gospel work could just be pitched out, as far as he was concerned.
But what we are really trying to convey here is that the Missionary's purpose, first of all, is to deliver a sound and comprehensive message of Jesus Christ as the only Remedy for sin and the only Saviour for the people of the country to which God has sent him. He must preach the Gospel of the Grace of God fully, clearly and incessantly in the face of the people's Pagan religions, Roman Catholicism, Islam, and even the self-betterment (religious works) message of the Protestants and Charismatic Movement. And now, the missionary must preach the Gospel against the false doctrine of Rick Warren's "Purpose-Driven" nonsense. We run across people infected with that garbage even inside Mainland China!
Church Buildings Are Not Our First Consideration
In fact, church facilities are way down on the list of priorities in our ministry. Winning people to Jesus Christ is primary, and that can be done without church facilities. Church facilities might be useful later, when there is actually a church, but at the initial stages facilities are not a priority. If I were to begin church planting in the United States in 2007, I would now conform my practice to that which we have practiced on the foreign mission field. We would emphasize Christ and His Church while de-emphasizing the necessity of church facilities. Facilities are not the church. The church must be composed of a redeemed people; not of wood and cement and steel and stone.
Go out and present the Gospel clearly to a lost soul, and keep working with that sinner as long as he or she will listen to the truth of Christ. Win that soul to Christ by tenderness and compassion and patience and repetition of the Message he or she needs, which is-
"Christ died for our SIN AND SINS...He died in our place and took the full righteous judgment of God so that we could go free! Christ took the judgment we DESERVE, and so bore HELL for us. God the Father is SATISFIED with (propitiated by) the Person, Blood-shedding, Sin-bearing, Hell-suffering Merits of Jesus Christ for the deliverance of EVERY sinner. Abandon and repudiate (repent of) any other hope of salvation and trust only in Christ's Work and Merits for righteousness and eternal life."
When that soul repents and trusts Christ, you have your first soul winning partner and your first Bible student. When that one, by faith, rested in Christ, the Holy Spirit baptized him (or her) into Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13; Colossians 2:12), and he was made a member of Christ; bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh (Ephesians 5:30). That new believer was baptized the moment he was saved, though the body never got wet, and he was circumcised with a circumcision made without hands (Colossians 2:11, 12), without feeling any scalpel. He is made a member of the Church which is Christ's Body (Ephesians 1:22, 23). Begin teaching the Scriptures to that new believer on a regularly scheduled basis. While you are teaching that new Christian, go out and win another. It may be someone in the home of the one you have just brought to Christ, or it may be an extended family member or friend, or it may be somebody else. But win another, and then another, and then another.
Let us return to our New Testament, read it, study it, and admit that constructing facilities, or even renting facilities, has never been a mandate of the Scriptures upon New Testament ministers of the Gospel. There is nothing wrong at all with beginning in homes and continuing to meet in homes, as long as the indigenous local congregation of believers is becoming what the New Testament teaches it to be. There may or may not come a time when the local indigenous church will decide to rent or build a dedicated facility.
Why does the New Testament not require dedicated church facilities as a part of Christianity? It is because whatever New Testament Christianity IS, and whatever it REQUIRES, it must be those things and require those things universally; in any country on earth. Now consider churches in communist-run countries and in other totalitarian regime-run countries. Also consider churches in Islamic countries. Communists and Islamists hate the Bible, they hate the Gospel, they hate Christians and they will not recognize the validity of any genuine New Testament church. Communists and Islamists persecute true believers and their churches, and will deny them the right to own their own dedicated church facilities unless they are strictly controlled by the government.
In Communist China, for example, the government expects any church to register with the China Christian Council's Three-Self Patriotic Movement. The Three-Self is a communist bureaucracy that exists to control the practice of Christians and to limit the propagation of Christianity. The Three-Self will dictate to the churches how they will operate, who will and will not be their ministers (they often train and assign female pastors!), and what will be the limitations on the content of the preaching and teaching. You can see that a genuine church of the Lord Jesus Christ could never register with the Three-Self or submit to its rules and restrictions. Consequently, a genuine Christian church in Communist China must remain unregistered and underground. A genuine church must mostly meet in secret and, with very rare exception, would never have a dedicated facility of its own, but meet in houses or other inconspicuous places, and may often have to move around its place of meeting to avoid detection by authorities. This is why the New Testament never mandates having dedicated facilities as a part of Christianity, because millions of believers would never be able to comply with such a mandate. But believers can have a genuine church even where they cannot have any building at all!
The church cannot be made up of the thin air space of a rented room. When we rent a storefront and put up a sign, "Such & Such Baptist Church," are we not implying that a church began without people? Are we not implying that a facility and a church are the same thing?
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Missionaries Are Not Sent to Change a Nation's Culture?
Have you ever heard it said that it is not the missionary's job to change culture? Have you been led to believe that this is true? As we have written in several of our booklets and articles, the root of the word culture is ‘cult.' Culture is the flowering out of the belief system of any people in every area of life. In short, culture is the product of religion.
The original republican form of American government, for example, was not merely an evolution from ancient Greek and Roman governmental systems, as modern textbooks suggest. The Republic which was formed by the federation of America's original thirteen colonies or states between 1620 and 1889 could not have come about without the direct, deeply permeating influence of Protestant and Baptist Christian doctrine and thought or principles. Love and respect for the Bible and its moral and ethical codes, as well as its Redemptive truths, are clearly found in the legal system practiced in the United States into the Twentieth Century to the Second World War. The reason that the republican form has largely been set aside for humanistic social democracy in the United States is that the American people have also largely departed from biblical Christianity. The Christian ethic and purpose have waned in America. Eastern thought through the martial arts and mystic religions, African carnality through music and dance, Roman Catholicism in government, Islamists filling some of our major cities, Darwinian humanism in our education system, and other invasive influences have shoved biblical Christianity down stairs and into hiding.
The Shanghai Daily newspaper for Thursday, September 14, 2006 carried an article inside the front page entitled Five-Year Plan aims to bring culture to youth. When the article starts out, the reader gets the idea that the Chinese government is merely wanting to promote traditional native forms of calligraphy, painting and handicrafts in the nation's elementary schools, and make museums and art galleries mare accessible to common people. Eight paragraphs later, the article, from the state-approved agency, Xinhua, begins to promote online (i.e. Internet) libraries and online theaters. Two paragraphs further in the article states...
...cultural exchanges with the rest of the world must be boosted to improve understanding of China overseas.
In addition to promoting mutual exchanges between sister cities and holding cultural activities abroad, [the government's Five-year Plan] proposes the promotion of Chinese cultural products and services through famous overseas film festivals, television festivals, art festivals, book fairs and expositions.
It calls for adjusting the style of radio and television programs to meet the demands and tastes of overseas listeners and audience. (emphasis added)
Would you like a simple translation of the paragraphs from the Shanghai Daily? China will participate, through theater, cinema, television, radio, and the Internet, in the globalization of smut, moral perversion, pornography, rap, hip hop and heavy metal rock music. The Internet will be the channel through which pornography is delivered to Chinese youth, since there are no sexually explicit magazines yet for sale on the streets or in the convenience stores. Internet cafés are even now the Triple-X (XXX) theatres. This is culture.
Chinese television and radio nowadays broadcast every kind of hip hop, rap and heavy metal rock music, just as it can be heard in North America and Europe. Chinese young men with their ball caps on sideways and their baggy jeans hanging off their hips exposing their briefs and backsides, contorting and jerking their bodies, or moving against female counterparts in sexually suggestive movements on stage, are telecast regularly to the delight of Chinese crowds of millions. This is culture.
Shanghai streets are filled with hair styling salons employing scantily-clad young Chinese girls dressed to attract the sexual appetites of men. On September 16, 2006 Matthias and Philemon Ma and I went to eat at a small water dumpling restaurant in west Shanghai. We noticed that there was a hair salon next door, and standing at the doors inviting customers were two anorexic males in tight female attire, and their hair was styled in such a way that would embarrass any self-respecting peacock. This is culture.
In the same Shanghai Daily edition quoted from above, we find a section called Guestlist highlighting "Clubs, Bars, Lounges, Parties, Events, Music, Reviews, and More." Here are some titles of articles in this section. Grooving to a rare beat is about Rhythm & Blues musician Norman Jay. Elite Bar fails to live up to moniker. Hip-hop scene comes of age, beginning with a four-letter profanity, highlights a young American man calling himself DJ Kill, "director of Urban Music and Marketing at popular nightspot Guandii. ...has been organizing hip-hop events in Asia for more than four years." Wine appreciation classes putting local connoisseurs in the know, of course, is about learning to love alcoholic beverages, something Chinese men have not had much problem doing throughout history. Dior party paints town rouge, an orgy-style gala. In the same section is a centerfold two-page color photo collage of three events: Splash Party at Dino Beach, Sounds of Style at Park 97 (club), and the Dior Party at the Attica Hotel Shanghai. The photos show scantily-clad women in sexual poses with each other, girls in bathing suits, men and women drinking and dancing. There is also an article called, Exotic, opulent fashions from Qin palace, with, of course, photos of skinny models wearing immodest fashions.
One Christian brother here made the remark that Shanghai has a higher social order than other cities in China. He meant that crime is dealt with more stringent response. He meant that banking and commerce, industry and the general business climate are more modernized and westernized. Certainly the streets are cleaner. Properties are neater and better kept. Transportation is more organized and technologically up to date. The world's only operating magnetic levitation rail, running at speeds up to 431 kilometers per hour (300 miles per hour), takes passengers between downtown and the new Pudong International Airport in as few as 7 to 10 minutes. Shanghai is a second Hong Kong, to say the least. But with modernization and increased wealth has come a love for money and modernity, tolerance of immoral lifestyles, colder attitude toward spiritual things and an increased difficulty in evangelization. This is culture.
Culture is much more than traditional items of formal dress, certain foods on holidays, removing one's shoes before entering a home, how to call a neighbor to the door. Culture is what affects every area of people's lives and their families. How people raise their children. How children are disciplined, or not disciplined. How husbands treat their wives is determined by culture, and so is whether men will be honest with their employers, business clients and others. Culture will also affect how pastors in local churches view themselves and how they will treat their people. We discovered this especially in the Philippines.
Should missionaries' ministries affect culture? Should their Bible teaching and preaching expose culture that is destructive to Christian holy living?
The Friday, September 22nd issue of the Shanghai Daily had a front page article entitled, Scholarly forum helps chart China's revival. Here are some quotations from the article, along with our observations:
"The revival of Chinese civilization is a Chinese dream, [Zheng Bijian] said. "We will not have an American dream, or a European dream, or a former Soviet Union dream."
Let's see, now. Zheng Bijian, chairman of the China Reform Forum, is claiming that they will not have a former Soviet Union dream, while the national government in Beijing claims that China practices Marxism with Chinese characteristics. Before 1949, China's top leaders had all studied either in Moscow or under socialists in France. Zhang claims that China will not have a European dream while the fashions of Paris and Amsterdam are virtually daily aired, advertised and promoted on Chinese television, along with the European fashion world's manner of modeling, which is being emulated by young Chinese women. The CRF chairman denies that China will have an American dream, while China is bathing itself in Hollywood's cesspool, as well as in the drink of Motown's sexually explicit rap and hip-hop, rock and heavy metal music scenes.
The Russian "missionaries" of Marxism have done their job well. The European "missionaries" of fashion and loose sexual attitudes are doing their job. The American "missionaries" of Hollywood, the television broadcast industry, and the contemporary music world are doing their job. They are all altering culture in China and in every nation on earth. Christian missionaries, on the other hand, are instructed that it is not their job to change culture.
...Wang Zhongwei, head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China's Shanghai Committee, said the forum organizers hope to work with scholars to help foster harmonious development between China and other nations.
Scholars are also holding discussions on development modes such as ancient Chinese Confucianism.
This is especially interesting, knowing that Confucius promoted home education (home schooling) and trade apprenticeships. But the "missionaries" of Western contemporary pop culture are apparently now welcomed with open arms in China. Christian missionaries are officially unwelcome.
Can any society think correctly without the affects of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? A society without the Gospel doesn't know what morality is, and this is illustrated once again in the Shanghai Daily for Thursday, December 21, 2006, under the title, City's leaders unveil harmony blueprint, by Zhang Jun.
SHANGHAI'S leading lights yesterday vowed to turn the city into a more harmonious society by strengthening the public service and helping citizens improve moral standards. (emphasis added)
A wide-ranging proposal, adopted by the Shanghai Committee of the Communist Party of China, said over the next 15 years the Party will:
•Pay more attention to coordinating the city's economic and social development;
•Promote social equity and justice;
•Form a set of common aspirations, ideals and moral codes (emphasis added); and
•Strengthen social affairs management and services.
So, how does the Communist Party define or describe moral standards and codes? A later paragraph in the same article gives us some idea:
To improve moral standards, the government was urged to launch more etiquette lessons in communities to help them to correct poor public manners, such as queue-jumping and speaking loudly.
During the weekend of January 13th, 2007, there was much publicity about the big increase in the number of syphilis cases in China, especially in the commercially advanced cities of Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. People don't contract syphilis from queue-jumping and speaking loudly in public.
The Bible tells us that in the last days evil men will wax worse and worse. The morality of this wicked world is already in the sewer, and the Shanghai Daily Paper nor the city's "leading lights" know how to define morality anymore. What China needs is the same thing every nation still needs-the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). Salvation brings with it a change; a new creature in Christ Jesus. Can a missionary change culture? Not technically. But the Word of the Living God, the Gospel of the Grace of God, and the workings of God's Holy Spirit from the inside out of those who believe God will certainly change culture. What is it that your missionaries are sent to preach? If they preach Truth, they will affect and change culture.
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Some Gospel Tracts and Pamphlets We Recommend
The tracts and pamphlets listed below are not the only good ones in print, but they are examples of literature that is more comprehensive in the presentation of the Redemption Work of Jesus Christ. We believe these present Christ and will steer the hearts of sinners to trust solely in Him. We recommend that these tracts be carefully translated into the languages spoken on foreign mission fields and then submitted to the original sources (or other publishers by permission) for publishing.
God Made Jesus to be Sin by Michael Pearl
Source: Michael Pearl
1000 Pearl Road
Pleasantville, TN 37147
English, Tagalog (Filipino)
The Eternal Purpose of God by William Green
Source: David Johnson
1880 Whorton Bend Road
Gaston, AL 35901
English, Chinese, Russian
The All-Sufficiency of Christ by C.H. Mackintosh
Source: Moments With the Book
P.O. Box 322,
Bedford, PA 15522
Phone (814) 623-8737
English, Currently being translated into Chinese
Faith That Counts by E. Mac Johnson
Oh! God I Need Help! by E. Mac Johnson
Peace is Made by E. Mac Johnson
Source: Faith Publications
Faith Baptist Church
6423 Hamilton Bridge Road
Milton, FL 32570
English, Currently being translated into Chinese
Because Jesus Christ Is a Personal Saviour by R. E. Patenaude
Saving Faith, What Does It Include by R. E. Patenaude
Source: Vision Baptist Press
Vision Baptist Church
397 Little buck Lane
Millers Creek, NC 28651
Phone: (336) 696-2389 or 838-1611
English, Currently being translated into Chinese
Gospel Literature as to Its Substance
Imagine yourself as a Bible and Gospel tract smuggler into communist countries or other totalitarian regime-run countries. Or imagine yourself smuggling Gospel tracts into an Islamic country. Consider the great risks! You are at risk of your freedom and perhaps even your life. National believers who are the intended recipients of the materials you are smuggling are taking risks often much more intense than the ones you are taking.
Now, you are smuggling Gospel tracts in suitcases and backpacks and the quantities that you can carry are limited by many factors including your own physical abilities. You have learned how to carry quantities of materials in ways that arouse the least suspicion. What kind of literature would you want to carry under these circumstances? You would want to carry the literature that has the greatest possible effectiveness in every piece. You wouldn't want to carry so much ink on paper called a "Gospel tract," just so that you could report that you had smuggled so many hundreds or thousands of pieces. You would want to carry the literature with the most comprehensive presentation of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ available.
Some tract printers today can boast of millions, or even billions of Gospel tracts printed, boxed, containerized, shipped and distributed to national believers. That's all well and good, but what is the substance of those millions or billions of pieces? Can foreign national people, who have much less exposure to God's word than does the general American populace, benefit from the contents, or will they just throw the tracts in the trash bin or on the street, only being bewildered that someone would spend money on literature that they haven't the background to begin to understand?
Many tracts that we see shipped to the mission field have only a few Bible verses cited and then invoke the reader to pray a prescribed prayer, promising that if the reader will pray that prayer, God would be obligated to save him or her. The objective of many tracts, even many published by fundamental Baptists, are, in reality, asking the readers to place their faith in their own response, rather than to place their faith in the Person and Finished Redemption work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The contents of such tracts are often too lacking of any real explanation of the Work of the Cross of Christ and the necessity and sufficiency of it. In many deeply religious, but spiritually dark, countries, where prayers are often demanded, people are often willing to pray any recommended prayers, adding them to the ones prescribed by the religious tenets of their own church or temple. Hopeless people, void of truth, will grasp at any religious straw and hope that any religious response they make will earn them a few more points with a God they do not know.
In 30 years in the ministry, we have seen only a small handful of Gospel tracts that explain to sinners the necessity of repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). We have seen only a few tracts which insist that accepting and trusting Jesus Christ as one's only Hope of eternal life means the abandonment of any other hope, especially hope in a religious system. Second Timothy 2:25 teaches that repentance is to the acknowledging of the Truth. The sinner, then, convinced by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit of the truth of the Gospel of the Grace of God, must repudiate that, whatever it was, in which he or she had previously placed hope. The Roman Catholic, understanding the Gospel and the sufficiency of Christ and His Blood-shedding, can no longer trust the Mass or the mediation of Mary-he turns from-repents from-the Roman system. The Buddhist, shown by the Holy Ghost who Christ is and what He did to bring sinful men to a Holy God, will repudiate Buddhism altogether for life in Christ, in order to have genuine salvation.
One head of a tract league once told me that his presses, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, were only set up to print one format. They were happy with that four-page, shirt pocket-sized tract, and that would be the extent of the information they would offer to sinners in their tracts. The tracts that agency printed at that time were seriously deficient of Gospel substance, especially their tracts that were in other languages and being shipped to those benighted countries.
A tract smuggler needs comprehensive Gospel literature for the risks he is taking getting it into dangerous places, even when it means he will carry fewer pieces per excursion. We have distributed Evangelist Bill Green's 16-page booklet, The Eternal Purpose of God, in Chinese, on the streets of Harbin City, China, and watched Chinese sit down on the curb and read every word of every page before going on their way. Yes, 16 pages! The Eternal Purpose of God is comprehensive enough introduce someone with little or no exposure to Bible knowledge to the Personality, Holiness and Love of God, explain sin as man's great problem, clearly present the Cross Work of the Lamb of God, the Resurrection, and invoke trust in Christ's sufficiency for eternal life. The tract has gone out by the thousands in English, Chinese and Russian. Correct-I can smuggle only one copy of Brother Green's tract to every four tracts published by some tract leagues. I honestly believe, however, that each 16-page copy of The Eternal Purpose of God will be more effective and will be read by many more people than a thousand pieces of most 4-page tracts published today by Independent Baptist tract agencies.
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What will serve to remind the missionary that he is a servant? Being a stranger and an alien in a foreign land will remind him that he is a servant. The national people will always view the foreigner with some suspicion. As Americans, we are accustomed to seeing and speaking with visitors from other lands very often in the United States. In America we hear other languages spoken around us in all of our major cities, all the time. We hear people speaking with foreign accented English on a regular basis; we have become tolerant of it. But the people of Asia, for example, are still awkward and nervous around foreigners in their nations. Chinese people, even in huge cosmopolitan cities such as Shanghai, still stare glaringly and suspiciously at white western faces on their streets, in their markets and restaurants and riding their public transportation. And Chinese and other Asian authorities will absolutely require that you register your presence and tell them where you reside. They don't trust us foreigners, and, by the way, they have the prerogative to not trust us. Servants-strangers and pilgrims (Hebrews 11:13; 1 Peter 2:11)-will respect that, and be reminded that they are just servants.
I'll tell you what else will remind the missionary that he is a servant. Showing up in a land where nobody knows what he is saying will remind him that he is only a servant. Not understanding what people around him are saying-and they are very often talking out loud about him-will remind him that he is a servant. Having to rely for a long time on someone else, who is bi-lingual, just to get basic necessities will strip the missionary of his pride and remind him that he is nothing more than a servant. A proud and arrogant man will not survive where native people on a crowded bus can openly talk about him while standing pressed against him, watching him smile in his ignorance. One can study a language for many years and still not catch all the conversation about him. Native speakers of a language know idioms and expressions for things that a newcomer may not learn even after many years of language study. Face it: they are talking about you! They are sometimes having unkind fun at your expense! The missionary must study the language for the purpose of transmitting the Gospel, not for getting back at discourteous people or to match their rudeness. He is a servant.
Before the missionary ever gets to the field of his calling, he will have to learn servanthood in local churches. We have stressed in this booklet that the missionary is God-called. And that he is. We have stressed that the missionary has a biblical commission. He does. We have sought to remind pastors that missionaries, and helping missionaries, are a part of their responsibility, if they claim that "Missions is the mission of the Church." We have asked pastors to respect missionaries as being men of God, just as they would claim that they and their fellow pastors are men of God. We have suggested ways that pastors should treat and respond to missionaries, and ways that they should not. And now, we must remind the missionary that, in the final analysis, he is a servant.
In the Scriptures of Truth, God doesn't say, "Moses my leader," but He says, "Moses my servant." It is "My servant Job." "My servant Caleb." "My servant David." "My servant Isaiah." "My servant Eliakim." "My servant Jacob." "O Zerubbabel, my servant." "My servant the BRANCH." "Behold my servant [Christ], whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles."
The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. (Matthew 10:24, 25)
And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: (Matthew 20:27)
But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. (Matthew 23:11)
Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. (Matthew 24:45, 46)
His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (Matthew 25:23)
As Marks' gospel is the gospel of the Servant, Paul's epistle to the Philippian church is the epistle of the servant. In Romans Paul describes himself as a servant and an apostle. In all other of his epistles, Paul is an apostle, except to the Thessalonican church he gives no description of title for himself.
The Epistle of Paul to the Philippian church is a short course on the heart attitude of the servant in the ministry, and should be the missionary's handbook in that regard. Paul teaches us that we are to be vulnerable and submissive to the working of God in us (1:6, 19; 2:13), when things do not appear to be going right on the outside-bonds and abuse (1:7, 13), so that we will be filled with the fruits of righteousness (1:11).
The servant accepts the seeming or real injustices that come his way from-time-to-time, or often, as falling out rather unto the furtherance of the Gospel (1:12) This will keep the servant from being a complainer-but only if he genuinely stands in defense and confirmation of the gospel (1:7). This is a hard subject in 2007, when "the Gospel" is preached by so few, even among our independent Baptist brethren.
Nowadays, so many stand in defense of "the sinner's prayer," "repeat this prayer and you will be saved" kind of thing. Our churches need the New Birth-REGENERATION in the pews and at the altars. The Object always has been Jesus Christ and His Finished Blood-shedding Work. The correct response has always been faith in the Sufficiency of Christ and His Blood. But Christ has ceased to be sufficient in our independent Baptist movement. The servant who stands today in defense and confirmation of the Gospel of the Grace of God may find himself in modern bonds under the modern (showman; entertainment-style) Baptist clergy. But the servant takes it and keeps on preaching Christ (1:15-20).
Philippians 1:20 through 2:8 settles the servant's heart as far as his physical life or death. The mind of Christ is clearly delineated in 2:5-11. It is suffering and death now, and exaltation afterward. This is the subject of "The End of the Lord" (See James 5:11 with Job chapter 42), spoken of in the lives of all of the Lord's true servants throughout both Testaments. It is the end which the Lord Himself gives to His servants who recognize their servanthood.
Paul would not be ashamed because he reckoned himself to be dead. To live is Christ, and to die is gain (1:20). Paul was so confident in His position in Christ that he was willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). The only reason, then, for Paul to hang around in this wicked world was to serve others. To be with Christ would have been "far better." Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for others, for their furtherance and joy of faith; that their rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ... (1:25, 26).
The servant, though often subject to man, serves Christ and not man (Ephesians 6:6-8). Therefore, ....
When pastors in the United States treat you well-you are a servant. When they treat you roughly, or ignore you-you are a servant. When churches in the United States support you and love you-you are a servant. When they misunderstand your ministry or your family-you are a servant.
When the national people befriend you and put up a guard around you-you are a servant. When they despise and mistrust you, and couldn't care less about the safety of you and your family-you are a servant. When the people are honest with you-you are a servant. When they cheat you and steal from you-you are a servant.
When national church folks understand your calling and purposes and get under the yoke with you-you are a servant. When they think you are just being arrogant and offensive to their cultural peculiarities, when you are preaching Bible truth to them-you are a servant. When you love and people love in kind-you are a servant. When the more you love the less you are loved-you are a servant.
The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. (Matthew 10:24, 25)
You are a servant to your Lord, Who loved men and gave up Himself for them. This is your missionary servanthood.
 Lackey. n. 1. A footman, esp. a running footman; a valet; b. a constant follower (obs.); one who is servilely obsequious, a toady. 2. v. to do service as a lackey, especially as a running footman; to run on errands, dance attendance, do menial service. Oxford English Dictionary, 1971.
 Hireling. n. 1. One who serves for hire or wages; a hired servant; a mercenary (soldier). ibid. See John 10:12, 13.
 It should be understood that being unpopular to some people, at a time when the missionary must take an unpopular stand on any issue, should not be equated with generally not being able to get along with people. Just as pastors must take stands on issues from time-to-time, and get on the "bad side" of some people, so must the missionary, if he is a God-called man with biblical standards.
 Caution! Many will realize that there are cases nowadays where missionary families are actually more spiritual, more dedicated and more separated (from the world) than a large segment of their sending churches-and sometimes even more so than their own pastors. Sometimes there are some hard feelings among church members toward their missionary families because the missionary families present an example of godly lifestyle and practice that the church shuns and despises. Sometimes missionary families are, in effect, missionaries to their own sending churches. The reason for this has to do with the apostasy and worldly, popularist bent in the independent Baptist churches of this generation.
 Having high standards of separation is not the same as being a Pharisee.
 Some missionary agencies have set standardized support levels for missionary families determined by the cost of living figures on the missionary's particular field, the size of the family and other criteria. Some agencies have done this well, but others have set aside the matter of faith in the life of the missionary. Some have actually set the required minimum support levels far too high.
 There are many cases in which a veteran missionary is older and more experienced in the ministry than his own pastor. There are many instances in which younger pastors should seek counsel from older and more experienced missionaries. A thirty year-old pastor, for example, should be very careful how he uses his authority with regard to a godly and experienced fifty or sixty year-old missionary, even if the missionary is under the authority of the young pastor's church.
 Missionaries serving internships under pastors can be a good practice, but not always. We might recommend it for some younger men who lack maturity and people skills...but not always. Every situation is different. Some young men, perhaps, need to serve internships to better understand authority structures. We would not set serving an internship as a rule for every missionary. After all, we meet middle-aged pastors all over America who are very immature and who are not as proficient in their use of the Scriptures as many of their own church members, and maybe of inferior proficiency to their interns. Some pastors are abusive of their authority and would only instill immature attitudes in their interns. Internships are often just a way for pastors to hire cheap labor to build their own ministries, and sometimes it is slave labor!
 China Inland Mission (Britain), now known as the Overseas Missionary Fellowship, which is in the neo-evangelical scheme of things.
 Plymouth Brethren are, doctrinally and distinctively, very close cousins to us Premillennial independent Baptists. We can sweetly fellowship with them one-on-one around the Person and Work of our Saviour, and also agree over prophetic truths, but it would be difficult for us to abide by some of the rules the Brethren practice (mandatory head covering on women in worship, weekly communion, other) in their assemblies. Further, we Baptists love our local church membership rolls. Although Plymouth Brethren have local assemblies, they do not keep local membership rolls, per se.
 At this writing, perhaps half of our supporting pastors are junior in age to us and have less "time in service."
 emulation, n. 1. an emulating. 2. desire or ambition to equal or surpass. 3. (a) ambitious rivalry; (b) envious dislike. [Obs.] Syn.-competition, rivalry. &c. Webster's Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (New York: Ferguson Publishing Company, 1977), p. 595
 For example, Bob Jones University, Greenville South Carolina, operates a nursing school in Shanghai, China, and it would be assumed that their ultimate purpose is to influence China with the Gospel and the benefits of biblical Christianity. That nursing school has teachers who graduated from Bob Jones University, and perhaps from other Christian institutions. Even an outfit as large as Bob Jones University cannot approach the Communist Chinese government and tell them that all of the American staff at the school in Shanghai are there as "missionaries" or "soul winners." Actually, any certified health professional from the United States would find it very easy to be invited by hospitals and medical schools in China. Graduates of nursing from Bob Jones University, for example, wouldn't necessarily have to work under Bob Jones' auspices to serve as a missionary underground in China. If any nurse or other health care worker, from any school, is credentialed, he or she could enter China
 The Question Of Independent Baptist Churches In The United States Supporting Foreign National Ministers (Missionaries & Pastors) is No. 15 of the series, Truth Doesn't Change When You Cross Borders, a series on missions principles by this author. Request materials at P.O. Box 95, Campbellsburg, IN USA 47108 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
 Linton Smith, Jr., Not By Might, Nor By Power, The Bible Believer's Study Guide to The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit (Adamsville, Alabama: Seed for the Sower, 1995). Seed for the Sower, P.O. Box 587, Adamsville, AL 35005-0587. email@example.com.
 WAF. Women's Air Force.
 It is our observation that many pastors are negligent in their responsibility to question missionaries with regard to their doctrine, and especially the content of their salvation preaching. Nowadays, there is a romanticism and emotionalism about supporting foreign national pastors as though they were missionaries, and there is precious little actual accountability of these men on the field. It should not be readily accepted that the organizations that sponsor the national pastors' trips to the United States are closely aware of the doctrine and practices of those men. For further information, request our series, Truth Doesn't Change When You Cross Borders.
 Romans 8:3; etc.
 1 Corinthians 14:1-4; etc.
 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18; Romans 8:3; etc.
 Isaiah 53:4-7; etc.
 Psalm 16:10 with Acts 2:27; Isaiah 53:11; Jonah 2:2, 5, 6 with Matthew 12:40; etc.
 Isaiah 53:11; Romans 3:25, 26; 1 John 2:4; 4:10; etc.
 Acts 20:21; 2 Timothy 2:25; etc.
 Acts 16:31; 13:38, 39; Romans 3:20-26; Ephesians 1:13; 2:8, 9; etc.
 Please request our personal evangelism manual, The Hearing of Faith, Second Edition (Bible-Literalist Institutes, P.O. Box 95, Campbellsburg, IN, USA 47108).
 Matthew's gospel-that of the King (Lion).
Mark's gospel-that of the Servant (Ox).
Luke's gospel-that of the perfect, sinless Man (Man).
John's gospel-that of God manifest in the flesh (Eagle).
See Ezekiel 1:10.