Posted in missionaries, theology

History’s Single Female Missionaries: ‘Woman’s Work for Women’, or Proto-Feminists?

By Elizabeth Prata

God does a powerful and magnificent thing by raising up missionaries. He not only regenerates hearts but He establishes some to go to the hard places, live a hard life, and some even to die for His name. The selfish will of the natural man would never do that. The self-sacrificing heart of a regenerated Christian, would.

I think of many woman missionaries who lived and died for His Gospel. One of my favorites is Gladys Aylward, missionary to China. We remember the female missionaries of the 1800s and 1900s who first went places, like Lottie Moon, Amy Carmichael, Annie Jenkins Sallee, Mary Slessor, and Isabel Crawford… among many others.

We might be inclined to even think of them like super-Christians, given extra strength or morality or character, or who were extra spiritual. LOL, they were simply women, with the same sins, tendencies, and foibles as the rest of us.

In fact, you might be surprised to find that some female missionaries may have possessed extra doses of foibles and struggles as they considered the mission field. Some of them may have mixed their motives for going, struggling with the exact same issues we do today- feminism and being conflicted against prescribed gender roles.

After William Carey, missionary to India and considered the Father of Modern Missions, died in 1834, a fervor arose among the faithful. He had founded the Baptist Missionary Society, spent 41 years in India (without a furlough) and raised consciousness among Christians of the need for bringing the Gospel to the nations. Missions exploded.

In addition to the missions movement powerfully springing up in the mid 1800s, in which many Christians desired to go, another powerful movement sprang up too- First Wave Feminism. (1848-1920). Whereas previously, the only credible careers available to women were teaching or nursing, now, many women found that a missionary life afforded them a chance at a fulfilling career and even leadership opportunities on the foreign field that would not have happened back home. The Civil War had helped with that, either with women handling the homestead or the business while the men were gone, or serving in the army itself as doctors. Once bitten by the independence bug, many women found that missions offered similar opportunity to lead an independent life.

In 1834, New York businessman’s wife, Sarah Doremus, heard a sermon about the need for women on the field in China, in order to reach Chinese women. She tried to get an organization going, but it went nowhere. By the time of the Civil War in 1861, there was less opposition to females singly joining men on the foreign mission field. Doremus’s organization was finally founded with success: the Women’s Union Missionary Society.

Let’s look at a few of these missions ladies.

800px-lottie_moon-1Charlotte ‘Lottie’ Moon (1840-1912) Missionary to China.

One of the earliest and easily the most famous single female missionary, Lottie Moon, seems to have been a relentless advocate for expanded women’s roles, a proto-feminist.

Lottie was indifferent to the Baptist religion of her parents until age 18, when she experienced an awakening during a series of revivals. She then attended Virginia Female Seminary and Albemarle Female Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia graduating in 1861 with the first master of arts degrees awarded to a woman by a southern institution.

Lottie taught at home for a while, but then responded to a call from her sister Edmonia in 1871 who had already been approved for the China mission field and had been there a year. Edmonia had previously served in the Confederate Army as a Doctor in the US Civil War.

Foreign missions often encountered an issue of gender. In many nations, only women could reach women. Men counseling or giving the Gospel or interacting in general with women presented a scandalous problem. The teaching career having palled for Lottie, she responded to her sister’s call and went to China to “go out among the millions” as an evangelist. Instead she wound up in the same work-situation as she had been back home, teaching what she termed as “unstudious children” in China and feeling like an oppressed class of single women missionaries.

In an article titled “The Woman’s Question Again,” published in 1883, Lottie wrote:

Can we wonder at the mortal weariness and disgust, the sense of wasted powers and the conviction that her life is a failure, that comes over a woman when, instead of the ever broadening activities that she had planned, she finds herself tied down to the petty work of teaching a few girls?

That was how Lottie viewed women missionaries teaching children on the mission field. It was “petty work.”

Lottie Moon was in fact ardent activist for women’s rights and a tireless supporter for an expanded sphere for women’s evangelistic work, despite what the Bible said women’s roles are to be. Her specific directive from the SBC Missions Board was to teach women, not to plant churches, evangelize, or teach men. Rebelling, Lottie did all three, loudly. She decided that to make a lasting impact she had to reach the men of the community. So she incited curiosity enough so that the men attended her teaching meeting, and Lottie ‘innocently’ said that she was just mainly preaching to women but would not send the men away if they chose to come. That attitude was similar to Beth Moore’s stance a hundred years later,

Being a woman called to leadership within and simultaneously beyond those walls [of an SBC church] was complicated to say the least but I worked within the system. After all, I had no personal aspirations to preach nor was it my aim to teach men. If men showed up in my class, I did not throw them out. I taught. ~Beth Moore

Lottie wrote,

“Simple justice demands that women should have equal rights with men in mission meetings and in the conduct of their work.”

Lottie did receive criticism from both men and women for her opinions, one of which included women entering the missions field in order to do the “largest possible work,” but other women abhorred Lottie’s “disorderly walk” and called for her to stop her “lawless prancing all over the mission lot.” Lottie didn’t.

She found it easier to advance her expanded view of female missionary work on the foreign field. When no men were available to preach, she did. Around 1885 Lottie decided on her own without permission from the home Board, to move to China’s interior, P’ingtu. Her heart was burdened for the many who were ‘groping ignorantly for God,’ and where incidentally there was also less Board oversight.

By 1886, Lottie had completely abandoned the “woman’s work for women” policy that had she had agreed to in order to receive her appointment as a Southern Baptist missionary to China. Her move to P’ingtu accomplished, she had no male protection, no male supervision, and evangelized as she saw fit, experimenting with various methods.

And of her Field Director’s attempts to redirect her efforts toward the call to which she agreed, teaching, she wrote-

“[His plans] would make him, through the Board, dictator not only for life but after he had passed from earthly existence. If that be freedom, give me slavery.”

Forgoing biblical submission, she threatened resignation. Lottie Moon was an egalitarian who did much to erode the SBC’s stance on complementarian roles for men and women. Her rebelliousness resonates to this day.

Lottie remained unmarried to her death. As regards her death, the common story is that Lottie gave away all her money and gave her food to starving Chinese during a famine, dying a board a ship at Kobe Harbor weighing 50 pounds. Other documents indicate Moon suffered from an infection located behind her ear, which the missions doctor theorized had invaded her spinal column and caused dementia. Part of Moon’s end-of-days dementia included fixations on lack of money and refusal to eat.

Lottie Moon was no doubt a lover of the Gospel and a lover of souls, but was also a fearless and relentless advocate for ‘women’s rights’ within the SBC, spending many years fighting the SBC (once on the field), rights that went far outside the bounds of biblical roles.

Mary Slessor 1848-1915. Scottish Missionary to Nigeria. Mary accepted a marriage

mary
Mary Slessor

proposal from a man 30 years her junior, but decided not to marry him when the Board refused to allow him to leave Duke Town, and Mary refused to leave the interior. Mary chose missionary work over marriage, eventually becoming a revered Judge in native court, something that would not have happened back in Scotland.

 

Annie Jenkins Sallee American Missionary to China. First woman to receive a Master’s Degree from Baylor U. in 1899. Married W. Eugene Sallee. Not a single female missionary, but Annie’s marriage was a close call. She resisted mightily. In “‘Women’s Work for Women’: Annie Jenkins Sallee in China” by Amanda Sawyer, we read of Annie’s uncertainty about marriage because it conflicted with her goals to the mission field-

Yet Annie remained uncertain. Though she said she loved Sallee a great deal, she also viewed marriage as a personal defeat. And despite this love, she remained uncertain about fulfilling the station of wife.

From Annie’s diary

I didn’t want to marry for many reasons, I had decided on so much work I was going to do. I feel a single woman can do so much more work than a married one with household cares. I feel I could have more influence with the young unmarried. I never did feel called upon to keep house for a man. I want to be in the work myself. As yet I have not been able to find the great importance and “privilege” as some term it of being a “wife”! It seems to me I’d be cut off from everything and shut up to house-hold cares.

Amanda Sawyer continues,

Marriage represented a giving up of the “feminist spirit” which Annie had so eagerly taken upon herself when she received her master’s degree, traveled to Chicago to be trained as a missionary, and set sail to China.

More from Annie’s diary. Annie related how Eugene pleaded with her:

I’ve told him [Eugene] how it seemed to me my education and all the years of training I had put on myself would be useless. He wouldn’t need it, and I couldn’t use it. It hurts him when I talk this way. He says he knows it is asking me to give up everything for nothing; but he loves me…I have learned such things and had such high ambitions for myself as a single woman that I can’t give all these up just now. I know that Papa says that a woman’s highest possible attainment in this world is to be a wife and mother but oh! I have seen the other side…the taste I had of public work, of the meetings with women, of moving whole audiences, and of helping people make decisions for God, of counciling [sic] with people about their work, and helping the discouraged–has taken a bigger hold on me than I thought and I flinch when I think of merging my own self, identity and all, literally losing right of self and all for him.

My how it hurts my pride. I don’t want to be ‘Mrs.’ Anybody. I don’t like married women as a general rule. … I don’t feel I can get used to being Mrs. S, and really don’t want to. I hate to think I gave up my name.

When Annie did eventually marry, she had the officiant take the word obey out of the vows and replace it with the word help.

(Source God Speaks to Us, Too: Southern Baptist Women on Church, Home, and Society By Susan M. Shaw)

It is a fact that God calls some to singleness, and that is OK. However, to choose singleness because there is a greater chance of renown, or of expanding one’s role, or of being independent, is another matter. In that case it would be a mixed motive that we women should be careful to examine before making drastic life decisions, most importantly, of the mission field.

Genesis 3:16 makes that clear that it is within all of us until the glorification to want to rule over a husband. And on top of that there is the general tendency of our sin nature to usurp God’s plan from all quarters, something satan is only too happy to help with. But is developing self or working to push gender boundaries God’s plan for women, or for any of us? We die to self, conforming our identity to Christ’s in a lifetime of submission and sanctification. Is the marriage institution that God created “for nothing” as Annie wrote? Or as Lottie wrote, is teaching girls ‘petty work’? If it is for the Lord, no work is petty. Did Paul deem it petty to make tents?

Any historical person will have had a blending of truth and myth attached to their name. We are all used to the mythologizing that surrounds Lottie Moon or Amy Carmichael (she will be looked at in a separate essay). There’s no doubt that these women mentioned and many others did have the Gospel and souls in mind when they embarked for the mission field. In the 1800s and early 1900s life was rough for these women (as it still is in many places). They endured hardships for the Lord’s name, but some of them also intentionally or perhaps unintentionally used the situation to advance an agenda that was not totally consistent with biblical roles for women.

It’s clear that single female missionaries were not all feminists nor did they all use the field to advance extra-biblical boundaries. The hard life, relentless cultural opposition, and some martyrdoms make it clear that God was first priority. Yet their mixed motives are not out of bounds to examine, nor is is unwarranted to say that the sometimes lack of rigorous oversight may have later incited some of these women to overstep, bowing to a natural tendency to usurp.

As in today’s times, with woman founding organizations, gallivanting the globe for social justice, or heading out on book tours (leaving husband and children behind), and calling it ministry, these subterfuges simply indulge the Genesis 3:16 tendency in women who knowingly or unknowingly want to live a role that seems more attractive to them than “wife”, a moniker that missionary Annie Jenkins Sallee actively chafed at.

This essay is not meant to impugn the good work of these women, but to warn and advise ladies who want to strike out for the mission field, to examine one’s own motives for doing so. It is also a call to examine everything with clear eyes, not to be clouded by mythologizing or romanticizing missions. It’s especially important to be clear-eyed about these more famous missionary women when using them for role models.

Here are some helpful articles-

Learn How to ‘Adult’ Before You ‘Missionary’

Many conferences rally young people to do extraordinary, counter-cultural, radical things for kingdom. High school, college, and seminary students are exhorted to do anything but settle for a predictable, cozy existence. The drumbeat, intentional or not, is risk, run, burn out, and die for Jesus.

What Does It Mean That Women Should “Remain Quiet” in Church? (1 Timothy 2) By Denny Burk

“Quietly” does not mean that women are never to utter a word when the church gathers for worship. This would completely contradict what Paul says about women in 1 Corinthians 11, where he tells the women how to pray and prophesy in church. His assumption is that they will pray and prophesy, which means his assumption is that they will speak during church services. We may note that the term for “quietly” in verse 11 is similar to the term for “quiet” in verse 2. When Christians are commanded to pray for a “peaceful and quiet life,” that phrase does not describe a life in which no one talks. It aims rather at a life “without turmoil.”

A letter to young women interested in going overseas

 As a wife, I am designed to help my husband be the best man he can be as he lives out his calling to make disciples. So this means that if I am married, I can be confident that I am following God’s calling when I support my husband in his calling. If you are called to singleness, you are still created to be a helper in a general sense to the body of Christ, but you are also able to maximize your giftedness in a unique, devoted way (1 Cor. 7:32-35). So if you are single, I would encourage you to find a ministry that you love with leaders that you can work under and help.

 

Posted in missionaries, theology

John Allen Chau’s death stuns, angers, and perplexes the world

By Elizabeth Prata

chau1
Source

John Allen Chau, a 27-year-old American, was killed a few weeks ago on Sentinel Island, part of a series of islands owned by India in the middle of the Bay of Bengal. An isolated tribe dwells there with whom very few people have made successful contact over the last hundreds of years. Chau, desiring to contact the tribe for the purpose of telling them about Jesus, (as his notes and journal state), was appeared to have been speared on the beach by arrows. The same fate had awaited nearly all of the visitors to the island since written records first mentioned the place. [Photo above source]

It’s interesting to read and watch India news outlets on this story. Some there, believe Chau to have been a rogue adventurer out to get more likes on his social media. Others believe him to have been a passionate missionary desiring to share the name of Jesus.

Chau’s arrival wasn’t the first visit to the island by Chau, who had gone to or near the Sentinelese at least 5 times previously. He had brought gifts such as safety pins, a football, and other trinkets in hopes of proving his friendliness. This had been hard to do, as the first recorded contact in 1880 by British Officer Maurice Vidal Portman ended badly and all subsequent contact since has demonstrated only hostility by the natives.

Portman was stationed at Port Blair on nearby South Andaman Island (the port from which Chau had departed on his ill-fated trip). Portman was fascinated with the tribe, who were painfully timid, he wrote, and ate roots and turtles. He absconded with two elderly tribe members and four children, bringing them back to his house on the nearby island for observation, where the elderly members promptly died, having been exposed to diseases against which they had no immunity. Portman returned the children to North Sentinel Island and called the foray a failure.

In more recent times, a NatGeo group attempted to land on the island to film the tribe in the 1970s, but they were repelled in a hail of arrows, one of them striking the director in the leg. Sadly, in 2006 two local fishermen were stranded there after their boat engine failed, and were also immediately killed. Their bodies were impaled and erected like scarecrows on the beach, perhaps as a warning to others who might want to venture near.

Chau had stated that he was motivated by a missionary zeal. This is commendable. However, I strongly caution all of us to be discerning about those who go forth to proclaim Jesus to the nations. Just because someone claims to be a missionary, doesn’t mean they have a firm grasp of who Jesus is. Some Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jesuits and other Catholics call themselves missionaries, yet they do not know Jesus. Chau also graduated from Oral Roberts University, which is not known for teaching the most solid of doctrine. We don’t know Chau’s doctrine. We don’t know which Jesus he was proclaiming. One hopes and prays that he was a true believer, laying down his life for his friends.

“The poor Heathen knew not that they had slain their best friends” ~John G. Paton

But moving on from that caution, Chau was motivated by a strong urge to proclaim Jesus to an unreached tribe. His writings demonstrate this.

His joy turned to sorrow as he was sadly killed on the beach. Fishermen observed the natives dragging Chau’s body and burying it in the sand. Some still hold out hope that Chau is alive, that the arrows did not slay him. This is not likely, however.

There are many facts and circumstances around the death of John Allen Chau that aren’t known yet. Some may never be known. However, I am satisfied that this death has captured the world’s attention. The lost do not know why Christians are willing to die in order to proclaim Jesus. Though there are Christian missionary deaths every day, sometimes in large groups at once, the fact that this death, a young man, solo, on the beach, with an unknown stone age tribe hostile to outsiders, captured the world’s attention for over a week and is still going strong. A week is a long time in the minute by minute news cycle.

Clipboard01
Google Earth

Because of this, people now know of the tribe and are praying. Additionally, it’s sparked a discussion about dying for the Gospel. It has baptized the ground for Jesus and for perhaps an awakening to come.

People make many comparisons of Chau’s death to the 5 Ecuadorean martyrs in 1956 (Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming, and Roger Youderian) but I see the comparison more toward the missionaries to the New Hebrides Islands in the 1800s. This is an excerpt from missionary to the New Hebrides, John Paton’s book, Thirty Years among the South Sea Cannibals-

Glance backwards over the story of the Gospel in the New Hebrides may help to bring my readers into touch with the events that are to follow. The ever-famous names of Williams and Harris are associated with the earliest efforts to introduce Christianity amongst this group of islands in the South Pacific Seas. John Williams and his young Missionary companion Harris, under the auspices of the London Missionary Society, landed on Erromanga on the 30th of November 1839. Alas, within a few minutes of their touching land, both were clubbed to death; and the savages proceeded to cook and feast upon their bodies. Thus were the New Hebrides baptized with the blood of Martyrs; and Christ thereby told the whole Christian world that He claimed these Islands as His own. His cross must yet be lifted up, where the blood of His saints has been poured forth in His name! The poor Heathen knew not that they had slain their best friends; but tears and prayers ascended for them from all Christian souls, wherever the story of the martyrdom on Erromanga was read or heard.

Again, therefore, in 1842, the London Missionary Society sent out Messrs. Turner and Nisbet to pierce this kingdom of Satan. They placed their standard on our chosen island of Tanna, the nearest to Erromanga. In less than seven months, however, their persecution by the savages became so dreadful, that we see them in a boat trying to escape by night with bare life. Out on that dangerous sea they would certainly have been lost, but the Ever-Merciful drove them back to land, and sent next morning a whaling vessel, which, contrary to custom, called there, and just in the nick of time. They, with all goods that could be rescued, were got safely on board, and sailed for Samoa. Say not their plans and prayers were baffled; for God heard and abundantly blessed them there, beyond all their dreams.

When these Missionaries “came to this Island, there were no Christians there; when they left it, there were no Heathens.”

Subsequent missions were more successful, and within some years, 3500 natives had thrown away their idols and been converted to the name of Christ. One may hope and pray, just as Williams and Harris, though killed almost immediately upon meeting the tribe in New Hebrides, that further approaches at North Sentinel Island will be met with Gospel success.

Time will tell of the results of Chau’s death. I do have a fear that we still do not know his doctrine, thus, ‘which Jesus’ (Acts 1:11) Chau proclaimed, but the Lord will take the global conversations, the worldwide shock, and the questions about these ‘strange Christians’, and open many hearts, I am sure. The slumbering world, immune to knowlege of the wrath to come, was awakened by one man’s lone act, his death ‘for Jesus’ both angering and perplexing it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Below are some resources regarding the John Allen Chau issue and missions in general.

Denny Burk:
Mission agency clears away some false assumptions about John Chau’s missionary work

Interview via Quick to Listen/Christianity Today with the director of All Nations missionary organization Mary Ho about John Allen Chau

What John Allen Chau’s Missions Agency Wants You to Know

All Nations missionary organization issues letter regarding John Allen Chau

Al Mohler The Briefing

Segment 1: The morality of global missions: How should those in the developed world look at hunter-gatherer tribes?

Segment 2: Motivation vs. methodology: What the modern missions movement has taught us about how to most effectively reach the unreached.

Garrett Kell: Was murdered missionary John Chau and arrogant fool?

End of the Spear: Movie about Operation Auca and the five missionary deaths in 1956

Gladys Aylward: The Little Woman autobiography of first woman missionary to inland China

Rethinking the viability of short term mission trips

Why short term missions is really long-term missions

Incomprehensible Evangelicals and the Death of John Allen Chau

Posted in encouragement, faroe islands, missionaries

God’s word goes out and does not return void: Faroe Islands

I love mission stories. It warms my heart to hear tales of past missionaries’ work, and the fruit their work might be bearing nowadays. I love to hear of people turning to solid ministries to seek truth in sermons, books, or commentaries. That’s why this monthly letter I receive from John MacArthur’s Grace to You ministry was a refreshing balm to a weary soul. I hope it encourages you as well.

Source: Google map

———-begin excerpted letter————-

The Faroe Islands 

It’s hard to fully express our overwhelming joy as we see the Lord blessing and working through the ministry of Grace To you. He is doing glorious things all across the planet- including in places I’ve known little about until recently. 

The Faroe Islands is one such place. After a worship service at Grace Community Church, where I pastor, a man named Bernhard introduced himself to me. While visiting the United States on business, he wanted to meet me so he could express his gratitude for Grace to You’s ministry to him and others in his obscure corner of the world. 

The Faroe Islands comprise eighteen small, rocky islands halfway between Norway and Iceland. Their jagged cliffs are lashed year-round by powerful Arctic winds. While the natural scenery is stunning, tourism is limited due to the nation’s remote location. The major industry is commercial fishing in the volatile North Sea. 

Over the centuries, the Faroese people have endured Viking invasions, the Black Death, (which killed half the population), and many seagoing tragedies. those historic challenges, along with isolation and elements to which the Faroese are exposed, have forged a small but resilient population of just 50,000. As you can imagine, reaching the Faroese with the gospel also involved some resilience. 

No true evangelistic work ever took root on the Faroe Islands until 1865 when a Scottish missionary, William Sloan, arrived. While in Scotland, Sloan had been forced by his fiancee to choose between marriage and the Faroe mission field. To the benefit of the Faroese, including those living today, he sailed alone to fish for souls in a land of pagan fishermen. Through many years of going door to door selling books and conducting Bible studies, William Sloan established thirty-six churches spread among the islands. Evangelicals in the Faroes now make up one of the highest percentages of evangelicals on any nation on earth. 

I didn’t even know that population existed until the last few days. But my education has been rapid thanks to my encounter with Bernhard. he gave me two fascinating books, which I immediately read. But the letter Bernhard handed me made a greater impression, a letter that in a sense, involves you and friends like you.

John, my dear brother, what a blessing your ministry has been in my life. I have listened to many hundreds of your sermons over the past five years. Without your teaching, how empty my understanding and life would be. The Faroese church desperately needs a reformation. Like churches elsewhere, our churches are really falling apart.  That is why Grace To You’s online teaching is such a sweet and fresh breeze to our hearts.  At forty-six, I am the oldest of five brothers; we all listen to your sermons. We have your commentaries and many of your other books as well. many of my friends also listen. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we really love you and hope to see you in the Faroes sometime.

God’s word never returns void- it always accomplishes His divine, saving sanctifying, comforting, and equipping work. While we call ourselves a mass-media ministry, our focus isn’t the size of our reach. It’s not about numbers of people.  We are all about unpacking God’s word for individual men and women, verse by verse. There are no unimportant issues or people. And thanks to the technology at our disposal,  there’s essentially no area too small or remote to reach. What an exciting time to minister biblical truth.

———-end excerpted letter————-

Source: Google maps

Further reading

CNN: Faroe Islands, Bleak, Beautiful Land of Grass Roofs

The Atlantic: Faroe Islands in Pictures

Faroe Islands, Backbone of our monarchy

When he arrived 27 years old in 1865 he had to start from scratch.  The language was Faroese, but the language of the church and the whole Civil Service was Danish.  He worked 13 years without seeing any fruit and being often scorned by the dead Lutheran state church –  but then awakenings broke out, and many new assemblies were spontaneously planted.

Posted in agape, brian palmer, ebola, jesus, missionaries, sacrifice

Christian missionary doctors fighting Ebola irritate Brian Palmer and other liberals

I read an interesting opinion piece in the liberal online magazine Slate, by atheist Brian Palmer, who also writes for the National Resources Defense Council. He noticed that many of the people working in West Africa with the Ebola patients are Christians. Worse, they are Christian missionaries, Christian missionary nurses, and Christian missionary doctors. He is at once amazed that people would volunteer for such a task, and at no pay (which blows his mind!) yet at the same time he is irritated.

Caduceus, Wiki CC

Why? They talk of Jesus too much.

His attitude was, ‘if they want to be do-gooders, at least shut up about Jesus and keep the medical science free from all that … religion‘. He also notices that governments and corporations are not rushing in there to help, and that’s just too irksome to deal with. The Christians are showing up the organizations that are supposed to help.

You can read his original piece here. His title is telling, don’t you think?

In Medicine We Trust
Should we worry that so many of the doctors treating Ebola in Africa are missionaries?

This piece at NewsBusters responding to Palmer’s opinion about the Ebola missionaries is interesting. NewsBusters nailed Palmer’s tone. They put Palmer’s quotes in bold.

Mingling of Religion and Health Care’ in Ebola Crisis Stirs ‘Visceral Discomfort’ at Slate

Brian Palmer revealed what many secularists feel about Christian missionaries in Africa in a Thursday piece on Slate, especially the role on the front lines of the ongoing fight against Ebola. Palmer acknowledged how “missionary doctors and nurses…have undertaken long-term commitments to address the health problems of poor Africans,” but added that “for secular Americans…it may be difficult to shake a bit of discomfort with the situation….It’s great that these people are doing God’s work, but do they have to talk about Him so much?

The writer later hyped that “some missionaries are incapable of separating their religious work from their medical work. Whether implicitly or explicitly, some missionaries pressure their patients, at moments of maximum vulnerability and desperation, to convert.” He admitted, “That troubles me. I suspect that many others have the same visceral discomfort with the mingling of religion and health care.

Mr Palmer’s attitude is nothing new. It is as old as the hills. In 250 AD in northern Turkey, there was a terrible pandemic. Bodies piled up. Terrified healthy people fled. Some cities were decimated. Afterward, they found battlefields littered with dead soldiers but without wounds. They had simply dropped dead from the pandemic.

Camp Fuston, KS, Spanish Influenza

Christian pastors Dionysius and Cyprian, along with many deacons and laypeople, stayed behind to help. It’s not that they were immune, they weren’t. It’s that the Christians had the hope of Jesus in them, knowing He had come to earth to reconcile men to Himself. His loving sacrificial act spurred the Christians to do likewise of the pagans dying in droves. They laid down their lives for them. Dionysius later wrote about the nursing efforts of the Christians

“Most of our brother Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves and thinking only of one another. Heedless of danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy; for they were infected by others with the disease, drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbors and cheerfully accepting their pains. Many, in nursing and curing others, transferred their death to themselves and died in their stead … The best of our brothers lost their lives in this manner, a number of presbyters, deacons, and laymen winning high commendation so that death in this form, the result of great piety and strong faith, seems in every way the equal of martyrdom.”

Dionysus noted next how the Christians even prepared the pagans for burial. He also described how the pagans reacted:

The heathen [pagans] behaved in the very opposite way. At the first onset of the disease, they pushed the sufferers away and fled from their dearest, throwing them into the roads before they were dead and treated unburied corpses as dirt, hoping thereby to avert the spread and contagion of the fatal disease; but do what they might, they found it difficult to escape.”

Screen shot, Monty Python & Holy Grail, “Bring Out Your Dead” scene

Human nature is no different then as it is now. When the Ebola deaths spiked this summer, The Liberian Observer reported,

Guarded by heavily armed platoons of officers from the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and the Police Support Unit (PSU) several weeks ago, two mini trucks conveyed the corpses of Ebola victims to be buried in Johnsonville. This dumping of about 45 bodies on the bank of the Kpan-wein River under the heavy guard of police and soldiers immediately created a stampede, with people running in all directions, for fear of being contaminated or afflicted with the Ebola disease.

One hundred years after the plague Dionysius wrote about had abated, Roman Emperor Julian (the last Emperor) tried to get the pagan priests to perform such heroic acts of charity and care. They wouldn’t. It is perplexing to the unsanctified mind that people would lay down their lives for a stranger, would give and provide for them. It further perplexes them, as it does Mr Palmer now, that the government won’t step up neither will the pagan religions, but the Christians always do. Julian wrote,

“The impious Galileans support not only their poor, but ours as well, everyone can see that our people lack aid from us.”

Source

The bible tells us:
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

Gill’s Commentary explains,

His sense is this; that the light of the Gospel, which he had communicated to them, the spiritual knowledge of the mysteries of grace, which he had favoured them with, were to be openly declared, and made manifest before men. Light was not given merely for their own private use, but for the public good of mankind; and therefore, as they were placed as lights in the world, they were to hold forth, in the most open and conspicuous manner, the word of light and life:

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, (Ephesians 2:10)

In 1 Peter 2:12 we read,

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

We are called to live a good life before the pagans. This glorifies Jesus. In some cases, we are called to live a good death. This glorifies Jesus.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Further Reading

Why Do So Many Liberals Despise Christianity?
Liberals increasingly want to enforce a comprehensive, uniformly secular vision of the human good. And they see alternative visions of the good as increasingly intolerable.

Oh Yuck, Christian Doctors

Posted in a city upon a hill, boston, hope, missionaries, new england

Mission New England, the city on a hill where the light has (almost) gone out

A church in Gray Maine. EPrata photo

New England is comprised of 6 states: Maine, New Hampshire Vermont (northern New England) and Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut (southern New England). Five, and sometimes all six of these states are listed in surveys in the top ten most Godless states in the US.

Providence RI is listed as one of the ‘least bible-minded‘ cities in the US. This is ironic, given its name.

Portland Maine is known as one of the most homosexual friendly and tolerant cities in the US.

Spiritually, New England is dark. I know. I lived there for 42 years. For those who were saved by grace at an early age, or were raised in a Christian home or even live in the south or Midwest … perhaps this next statement will seem strange to you. But growing up in New England means that one can never go to church, never see anyone else go to church, never hear talk of church, never hear the name Jesus, never see a bible store or a Christian store. Never see a cross. As embedded as the visible Christian life is in the south, it is just as invisible in the north.

One of the oldest church buildings and the biggest, located in the most prominent place, the center of my old town, has no displayed cross outside. The Methodist Church and the Congregational Church staff female lead pastors. There is no bible store in town (no book store at all, as least as far as I know). Jesus doesn’t live in most of the people there and thus He isn’t seen in the culture.

New England needs missionaries. To that end, NETS is a church planting mission aimed at New England. Does it seem strange to you that New England is as dark as Norway? Or India? They write,

The New England landscape is dotted with white steeples and picturesque churches. But

North Yarmouth church. EPrata photo

look closer, and you’ll find pulpits that once held gospel preachers like Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield now proclaiming Universalism, Liberalism and postmodernism. Halls that once echoed classic hymns stand eerily silent behind “For Sale” signs. Many church buildings have already been converted into shops and condos. And influential colleges like Harvard, Yale and Brown, founded to train gospel preachers, now lead the way into spiritual darkness. With the exception of Mormon Utah, New England is the most gospel-parched region of the nation.

Portland is one of the toughest regions to be on mission with the gospel: Some 59% of residents are considered “post-Christian.” … As shown by this homosexual publication reports that Portland, Maine is one of the top five surprisingly gay towns.

Portland Maine is on our gaydar Home to one of the biggest per capita LGBT populations on the east coast and now host of the entirely enticing Frostbite ME weekend (early March, dates TBA), a LGBT winter celebration with an alluring array of homo hijinks, activities, and events that launched in 2008, Portland is Maine’s captivating largest city (population 65,000). Portland has a venerable gay bar, Blackstones, and Styxx Video Club (3 Spring Street), where the dance floor and pool tables are popular with women on Thursdays and Saturdays.

The Portland Press Herald reported, “Maine a mecca for gay couples; Experts attribute the numbers to the state’s gay-friendly laws and its history of tolerance.”

A long-dead New England church that is now an antique store

This is the very spot in the world where European men and women of faith left all they knew to travel to a new and dangerous world, in pursuit of freedom to worship Jesus. They stepped off the Mayflower in 1620 Plymouth Massachusetts, survived, thrived, founded cities, and seminaries. Harvard College was originally a seminary institution of higher learning for men to be trained in the Gospel. So was Yale and Princeton and most other New England higher learning institutes that were founded over 300 years ago.

Harvard’s crest stated Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae (Truth for Christ and the Church) and their charter proposal read thus:

After God had carried us safe to New England and we had builded our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, reared convenient places for God’s worship, and settled the civil government: One of the next things we longed for and looked after was to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches, when our present ministers shall lie in the dust.

And so a mere 6 years after landing in Plymouth, the Puritans founded Harvard College in 1636.

And so satan went to work.

In 1803 Harvard voted out the Calvinist President and voted in an anti-Trinitarian president. In 1869 Harvard dropped the “Christ and Church” from their motto and crest, leaving only “Veritas”, (Truth). Cementing the long, liberal decline, Harvard expanded their mission statement in 2008,

To help in building a world in which people can live and work together across religious and cultural divides, we strive to be a primary resource in religious and theological studies for the academy, for religious communities, and in the public sphere…. 

because,

A well-educated student of religion must have a deep and broad understanding of more than a single religious tradition; [emphasis mine]

Bangor (Maine) Theological Seminary is 200 years old and liberal as liberal can be. It was not always so. Like Harvard, it was founded by a conservative Calvinist minister in the Puritan tradition. Rev. Jonathan Fisher of Blue Hill Maine was concerned that there was no institute of Christian higher learning in northern New England. Then, ‘Harvard defected, and so had many other clergymen and churches.’ (source). BTS was founded. Though it started out well, it ended up committed to scholarship, just not biblical scholarship. They adhered to ecumenical learning and the ever-deadly free thought. Another New England seminary had fallen. This month, conservative New England Bible College in Maine closed its doors, for lack of enrollments. The people of New England, its churches and its seminaries reject Jesus.

John Winthrop was the long term original governor of Boston, the first city of Massachusetts Bay Colony after Plymouth. He preached to the Puritans as they emigrated that theirs was a holy endeavor and they would found a holy “city upon a hill”. This was his famous “Modell of Christian Charity” sermon. Winthrop wrote it aboard the ship Arbella, (I edited the language from 1630 to today’s)

Winthrop: 2nd, 6th, 9th, & 12th Governor
of the Massachusetts Bay Colony

We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies; when he shall make us a praise and glory that men shall say of succeeding plantations, “the Lord make it likely that of New England.” For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill.”

The city upon a hill was from Matthew 5:14. Winthrop was so right in his next paragraph-

The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world.

Because Jesus IS hope … rather than lament the loss of our original Christian identity, one pastor in New England (a friend of mine) wrote this week an encouraging message. The decline we are seeing, the degradation of the name of Jesus in the wider community, is nothing new. It is nothing unexpected. Knowing this, we can persevere in joy and hope! He wisely wrote:

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As many families and church families struggle to meet their financial obligations amid an uncertain economy and an increasing global conflict, major changes are affecting everyone. Some folks may even sense a spirit of discouragement or worse, despair. Some folks simply dismiss what is happening in our world, as they are tired of all the bad news. Hmmm, it reminds me of the times Habakkuk lived.

God told the prophet, Habakkuk, that Israel’s worst and most fearsome enemy was coming to destroy the nation and carry off many people into captivity because of Israel’s idolatry and sinfulness. While Habakkuk wrestled with God on this issue, the prophet came to understanding that “the just shall live by faith” (2:4). As a result, Habakkuk accepted the inevitable judgment of God upon Israel by offering up praise to God.

As I close this email with the prophet’s words (3:17-19), remember, that no matter how difficult the times may get for our lives, our families, our church families, and our nation, God will be your strength as you walk with Him.

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet, I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s
he makes me tread on my high places.

————————————-

Oh Puritan New England, what happened? Satan happened!

The great preacher George Whitefield preached about satan’s schemes.

But Satan is most known for his remarkable ability to use his cleverness against mankind. Since he is not given power from God to take us by force, he is therefore required to wait for opportunities to betray us, and to catch us by the use of deception. He, therefore, made use of the serpent, which was the most crafty of all the beasts of the field, in order to tempt our first parents; and accordingly he and his accomplices are described in the New Testament as being cunning and crafty in their deceitful scheming. In the words of our text, this morning, the Apostle says, “We are not unaware of his schemes:” thereby implying, that we are more in danger of being seduced by his system of deception, than overpowered by his strength.

The people of New England throughout the recent centuries were overpowered by stealth. Little by deadly little, they succumbed. Satan entered into their minds, and led them away from the pure doctrines of the bible. They were not vigilant! Satan seduced them into installing women pastors. He slithered in to its seminaries and lured them into ecumenicalism. He is the angel of craft and subtlety. No guns were needed. No swords were drawn. The battle has been long, and it has been silent, but it has been a success. They forgot Jesus. Veritas. But no Christo.

But Jesus does not forget them! He raises up faithful pastors to staff solidly biblical churches there! He sends missionaries to plant churches in its frigid mountains where hearts need the light of God! He sustains the beleaguered congregations persevering in a place that is as corrupt as Corinth! God is good. Our High Priest, Jesus, ministers to the hearts of those who love Him, few as they may be in that northern place.

Pray for our stalwart missionaries, pastors, and brethren who dwell in a place where once the lamp was shining on a hill, but now shines only dimly in laboring flickers here and there.

No matter where we are in the world, spiritual decline is inevitable. Fear not! The world hates Jesus. (John 15:18). No matter what the type of beginning a nation had, high or low, sacred or profane, all will fall. All parts of all nations will fall. Satan is working mightily to try and overthrow heaven’s gates. The areas we hold dear, where we grew up, or where we live now, will some day be renewed! Every Christian who dwells in the places that are so dark now, will cry with joy when the Light comes. Jesus will revive every ember, bursting into glory light of pure and holy truth.

Until then, pray for New England.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Further Reading:

US History: Massachusetts Bay Colony, the City upon a Hill

John Winthrop: A Model of Christian Charity

The First Baptist Church in America: in Providence RI (1638)

Posted in christianity, integrity, missionaries, news, test all things

Christian Martyrs about to be executed, or mind-controlled North Koreans mourning their dictator?

North Korea is the most closed nation on earth. Extracting any reliable information from that closed dictator-led nation is near impossible. Still, reports leak out. Depending on the source, some of them are more reliable than others.

There is a recent report that the new dictator, Kim Jong Un, son of the old dictator, Kim Jong Il, held a mass public execution last November 3. November you say, and we’re just hearing about it now? That is how slowly real news leaves the closed and mysterious country of North Korea. If the reports are true at all.

The reports say that the executions were held publicly with children forced to watch. There was no clear reason why the executions were held, other than for some infractions such as owning a bible or watching a South Korean film.

There are more recent reports that the dictator has ordered the execution of 33 Christians, for the crime of having had contact with a South Korean Baptist missionary. Those reports seem more reliable.  Read more here.

I am extremely saddened by these events. We are told that Christians throughout the Church Age will be persecuted or even killed for the faith. It doesn’t make knowing the fact of them happening in front of our faces any easier to take.

However, something that diminishes the honor due missionaries and martyrs who give their life on earth for the faith in a brutal, lonely death is when undiscerning Christians, well-meaning no doubt, fall for easily discovered ruses. Like this:

Accompanying the recent story about the November executions, often appears this photo of alleged about-to-be killed North Korean Christians-

These are not Christians. These are not believers about to be killed. These are young North Koreans mourning the death of their beloved Kim Jong Il, AKA “Dear Leader”, “Superior Person” and “Father of the People.” The are victims, brainwashed and mind-controlled atheists in a locked country, suddenly bereft of their ‘god.’

How do I know this? A 5 second google search yielded this photo published in Russia Today in December 2011, not March 2014. The headline to the article in which this photo originally appeared states,

Kim Jong-il dead: Grief & mass hysteria in North Korea (VIDEO)

And the caption states, “Pyongyang residents react as they mourn over the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang (Kyodo / Reuters)”

Please, if we are to test all things regarding what we are taught by bible teachers and preachers, then let’s extend that to testing Christian news before we pass along information about missionaries and martyrs. Far too often on Facebook, twitter, or other social media and blogs, I find mindlessly repeated hoaxes, false information, and just plain obvious ruses that diminish the credibility of Christians. Let’s stay as pure as we can, on behalf of the One of whom we speak. Check it out before you pass it along. In other words, Google is your friend.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now as to some real news about a N. Korean missionary, this is from Voice of the Martyrs-

North Korea: Missionary Released

UPDATE #2
After being detained for two weeks for attempting to distribute gospel tracts in North Korea, John Short, 75, was released by North Korean authorities on March 2. The Australian missionary, who resides in Hong Kong with his wife, had traveled to Pyongyang as part of a regular tour group on Feb. 15. The following day, he was questioned about the gospel tracts and subsequently detained. Upon his release, he was flown to Beijing, where he was met by officials from the Australian embassy. He is expected to return to his home in Hong Kong.

UPDATE #1
Praise God that North Korean officials deported John Short to Beijing on March 2, 2014.

ORIGINAL STORY
Australian missionary John Short, 75, was questioned and detained by North Korean authorities on Feb. 16., reportedly after police learned of gospel tracts in his possession.

Short, who has lived in Hong Kong with his wife for the past 50 years, traveled to Pyongyang on Feb. 15 with a tour group, and police questioned him at his hotel the next day about the Korean-language gospel tracts that he was carrying. Officials reportedly asked him who translated the material into Korean, who sent him and to what organization he belongs.

Short’s wife was informed of his detention by a member of the tour group who was allowed to leave on Feb. 18. The tour company has made repeated calls to North Korea, but officials have refused to provide any information.

North Korea is considered the worst persecutor of Christians in the world. Although its constitution provides for freedom of religion, the practice of any non-state-sanctioned religious activity is prohibited. Possessing a Bible, praying to God or Jesus, and meeting with other Christians all are punishable by death.

The Australian government is working on Short’s behalf through its embassy in South Korea and has also requested help from Sweden, which has an embassy in Pyongyang.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here is one account of a martyr we will meet in heaven, killed under Diocletian’s persecution beginning in 304AD. From Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

Agrape, Chionia, and Irene, three sisters, were seized upon at Thessalonica, when Diocletian’s persecution reached Greece. They were burnt, and received the crown of martyrdom in the flames, March 25, A.D. 304. The governor, finding that he could make no impression on Irene, ordered her to be exposed naked in the streets, which shameful order having been executed, a fire was kindled near the city wall, amidst whose flames her spirit ascended beyond the reach of man’s cruelty. 

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O, for the day when we are all beyond reach of man’s cruelty, under the shelter of the arms of Jesus! When all children will be translated instantly to a place of safety and love. When the aged and infirm receive their resurrected, glorified bodies and can run and leap in joy toward Jesus and kneel without pain at His feet. When persecution is no longer a word in our vocabulary and it has lost all power to instill fear or cause death. That day is coming, brothers and sisters, it is coming.

Posted in end of the spear, Huaorani, missionaries, nate saint

Movie: "End of the Spear", and being lost in Ecuador

I watched a movie called End of the Spear, about missionaries making first contact with the Stone Age Huaorani tribe of Ecuador not far from the Shell oil company corporate base in Shell-Mera Ecuador. It’s a good movie and I recommend it. The missionaries made the contact in 1956 in the Amazon basin. I got curious and looked up where Mera is, and it is only 5 miles from Puyo.

I was in Puyo, I was in the Amazon.

This is why I am so fascinated by Providence. Little did I know that the incident the modern movie depicts was in 1956 a famous event in Christianity- and still is. When the five missionaries who were killed by an aggressive tribe in the jungle in the middle of the last century in a different hemisphere, that a mere four decades later there I would be at that nearly exact place, sitting at a cafe on the main street unaware of my own lostness and need for those same missionaries who had come there years before. I was unaware and unaffected by the drama of courage and salvation that had taken place and had opened up so many hearts. And how Jesus knew that a few years after that, I would become one of His children, my very own heart He opened up to His grace.

He knew I’d come to understand the debt I owe to those missionaries who in the great relay race over

centuries, kept the faith alive for all peoples and tribes and tongues to hear the words of life, the baton of belief passed from hand to hand and mouth to ear, so that one day I might partake of the great truth. All I knew back in 1996 was that there were too many Jesus statues in Puyo.

Even grander is the story of the missionary widows who shared the Gospel with the very men who killed their husbands. The Huaorani came to faith. I remember reading the Life magazine story about it online. The movie depicts it well.

With a magnificence as great as His grace and the power of the Gospel word, we should rightly celebrate His work in the world in awe and in gratitude. Even on the days when you feel useless for Christ, know and understand that the seeds of faith are powerful and everything you do and say in His name adds to His tapestry of faith, and makes a difference. Providence is an amazing thing- because Jesus is always at work.

———————
Further reading:

Take heart, O grieving family members!

How to be effective Christians wherever you are

Posted in jesus, missionaries, repent, wrath

They refused to repent

The bible is full of examples of people given time to repent but they refused.

One that comes to mind is in Jeremiah 5:

“O LORD, do not your eyes look for truth? You have struck them down, but they felt no anguish; you have consumed them, but they refused to take correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to repent.” (Jeremiah 5:3)

The situation in this chapter is dire. Isaiah had prophesied doom for 50 years in the century before Jeremiah’s prophesying. The people did not take it seriously enough. By the time Jeremiah came along, they did not know it but the prophecies of destruction and abandonment were almost upon them. It happened in Jeremiah’s lifetime. The LORD is patient, giving time to repent!

God’s willingness to spare and bless the nation if the people repent is a theme throughout the bible. He is patient, too. He says repent, and waits in Amos 4:6, Zephaniah 3:2, and Zechariah 7:11 to name just a few examples. In the New Testament Jesus called for repentance to the false prophetess He calls a ‘Jezebel’. In Rev 2:21 it is written,  “I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.”

They refused to repent.

The Lord is gracious and kind, always calling for us to repent and giving us time to do so. Seems amazing, doesn’t it? That they refuse. Even after prophets prophesy a direct word from the LORD, they don’t. Even after they receive a direct letter from the Lord as in Revelation, they refuse.

Lest we think that the refusals to repent are an Old Testament, bygone behavior, here is an update from two dedicated servants of the Lord on mission in a South American jungle. Though they are seeing some harvest, they sadly report heartbreaking news. As they were welcomed into homes and they presented the Gospel, they saw some commit their lives to Christ. Praise the Lord for that! Every single soul added to heaven is a praise to the Lord in His loving-kindness. Yet…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Some say ‘no’.

“After we clearly presented the Gospel, we asked, “Do you understand what we are sharing?” and several responded that they did understand. When asked if they were ready to receive Jesus as their Savior and Lord, they said “No.”

“Why would they respond this way? The local believers said it is because they find pleasure in their sin and are not ready to forsake their sinful ways. They understand that in following Christ, they will have to leave their lives of immorality, drunkenness, and other sinful ways. They are not willing to give up their sin.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

They understood but refused, preferring to remain in their sin.

Paul wrote, “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.” (Romans 2:5).

That Day is fast approaching. Please do not reject any Gospel message you hear. As Wesley said, “man may refuse it; God will not compel.” The fact that the Gospel exists is a praise to the Lord who died as the substitution for our sin, becoming sin who knew no sin and enduring all of God’s wrath as punishment for it. And it is a praise to Him who was resurrected and who now sends witnesses, ambassadors, and missionaries to proclaim His beautiful truth- that He loves you and He wants you to become part of His family. As in the OT times, God’s willingness to spare and bless the nation and spare and bless and individuals who repent still stands. But equally true, as Paul said, there will come a day when His righteous judgment will be revealed. I can’t imagine how it will be for those who have heard but who have consciously and willfully rejected Him. Worse still, having rejected Him for the reason they they want to extend their season of sin is a terrible reason.

Sin is actual rebellion against God. It is not a matter of taking pleasure in alcohol, adultery, homosexuality, carousing, thievery or what have you. No. In fact, each of those acts and all sins are a direct poke in God’s eye.

So as you pray tonight, pray for all those who have heard the Gospel message and have refused to repent. Our missionaries asked, “pray with us that they will desire the hope that is only in Christ, obey the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and receive Jesus as the Savior and Lord of their lives.”

Posted in frontline missions, grace, missionaries

The Gospel is advancing

Though the world is dark and satan prowls, the Gospel’s power to transform lives and enlarge the kindgom is advancing!

As you shake your head is dismay at the darkness that is covering the world, remember the Light is advancing MORE because Jesus is the power! I dare you to watch these two trailers from the DVD Dispatches from the Front series and not be moved by the Gospel’s power and awed at the grace and love of our Savior. THIS is what it is all about: salvation

“Frontline Missions is an amazing ministry that produces the Dispatches from the Front DVD series. Here is what the ministry is all about: Frontline’s key objective is to advance the Gospel, forming vibrant, Word-centered, disciple-making churches, especially in those regions of the world that have the least Light. We are driven by the same desire that animated the apostle Paul who said it was always his ambition to preach the Gospel where Christ was not known (Romans 15:20). We pursue this goal by equipping Christians on the frontlines to reach their own people for Christ, by forming strategic partnerships with them, and by developing creative platforms in countries closed to traditional missions.”

Please support missionaries with your prayers and your money. They are on the frontlines. And lives are being changed, eternally.