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Another Article on Campbell and Mission Work

August 3, 2011 Leave a comment

On Marion’s One Heart In Christ list Marion complained about my not having removed the article where I charged him with hypocrisy for not debating me after stating that he would debate me. That debate has now come to pass, and as such the article has been removed. Actually I should have removed it months ago, but I was busy studying for our debate and I overlooked it. However, in this post, Marion argued that I took Campbell out of context when I stated, in another article, that Campbell held to the position that Mission Work was limited to the age of the Miraculous. Here is Marion’s post:

Jerry still has not removed his charges that I am a hypocrite for not debating
him. 
http://www.maeft.org/marionhyp.pdf

Jerry also claimed that I would not debate him, but it does not really matter
who debated the proposition, as long as it was debated.

Jerry also took Alexander Campbell’s words out of context. I sent the readers to
another page because the page numbers on the internet file and the book are
different. (Anyone who has the book can verify this point.) Alexander Campbell
was arguing against some denominational errors (the church having the authority
to “send” preachers). The denominational “calling of their preachers.” Campbell
certainly believed in preaching the gospel to the lost. (He argued that
“missionaries” needed miraculous gifts to do what the apostles did.) I suggest
that you look at the context of what he wrote.

I wonder if he will take them off his list or if I will have to write an article
replying to them.

Yours in His service,

Marion R. Fox

Five F Publishing Company: http://www.fivefpublishing.com/

Oklahoma City School of Biblical Studies: http://www.okcsbs.com/

Blog: http://okcsbs.com/blog/

One Heart Journal: http://www.okcsbs.com/oneheart.html

(http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OneheartinChrist/message/2811).

At no time, in my article on Campbell’s position on Missionaries, did I take Campbell out of context as Marion claims. While Campbell was arguing against Missionary Societies, he was arguing that Mission work was complete. He clearly states that all that needed to happen after that was for the church to continue in the apostles doctrine. I have highlighted the appropriate places for easy access, but I am reproducing all of what Campbell had to say on missionaries, below.

Remarks on Missionaries.

      FOR two centuries the “christian nations,” emperors, kings, princes, priests and laity, were uniting their efforts to rescue the “holy land,” in which the Saviour lived and died, from the hands of the infidels. A superstitious veneration for the city of Bethlehem, the place of the nativity; for the villages of Judea, the theatre of the miracles; and for Jerusalem, the place of the crucifixion, and the sepulchre of the Messiah, was the cause of innumerable pilgrimages to Palestine. These pilgrimages were, many years, performed with safety. But, in the year 1065, this land fell into the hands of the Turks, and pilgrimages to it became extremely dangerous. The merit and indispensable necessity of these pilgrimages increased, in popular estimation, with the dangers attendant on them. The hard usage of the pilgrims, from the tyranny of the Turks, filled all Europe with complaints. In a council of four thousand ecclesiastics and thirty thousand seculars, it was determined to be meritorious in the sight of God, to be a great and pious design, and to be “the will of God,” that all christians should engage in one grand system of hostilities against the Turks; that great and powerful expeditions should be fitted out against the infidels who possessed the “holy land;” that the soldiers should all wear a cross on their right shoulders, and, with swords in their hands, open the way into the holy city. These expeditions were called croisades, from the circumstance of the soldiers wearing the cross. All Europe was engaged in this project. Buck tells us in his compend of history, that “all ranks of men, now deeming the croisades the only road to heaven, were impatient to open the way, with their swords, to the holy city. Nobles, artisans, peasants, even priests enrolled their names, and to decline this service, was branded with the reproach of impiety and cowardice. The nobles were moved by the romantic spirit of, the age to hope for opulent establishments in the East, the chief seat of arts and commerce at that time. In pursuit of these chimerical projects, they sold at low prices, their ancient castles and inheritances, which had now lost all value in their eyes. The infirm and aged contributed to the expedition by presents and money, and many of them attended it in person, being determined, if possible, to breathe their last in sight of that city where their Saviour died for them. Even women, concealing their sex under the disguise of armour, attended the camp.” The first croisade consisted of three hundred thousand undisciplined and about seven hundred thousand disciplined men. No less than eight croisades were undertaken in something less than two hundred years. Upwards of two millions were destroyed in these croisades–and yet the Holy Land is still retained by the infidels. “If,” says the same Charles Buck, “the absurdity and wickedness of this conduct can be exceeded by any thing, it must be by what follows. In 1204 the frenzy of croisading seized the children, who are ever ready to imitate what they see their parents engaged in; their childish folly was encouraged by the monks and schoolmasters, and thousands of those innocents were conducted from the houses of their parents, on the superstitious interpretation of these words: “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast thou [13] perfected praise.” Their base conductors sold a part of them to the Turks, and the rest perished miserably.”

      We are all prepared to call those croisades chimerical and wicked projects, and to compliment ourselves as elevated above such wild enthusiasm and debasing superstition; yet, perhaps some of the great and popular undertakings of our era may be pronounced by posterity as absurd and superstitious, as enthusiastic and unscriptural as those we so cheerfully censure. The collecting of money by the hands of a constable, to pay a “divine” for teaching us righteousness, mercy, and the love of God; the incorporating of a Christian society by the act of a legislative body, often composed of men of no religion, of sceptics in the Christian revelation, and of men of different religious sects; the asking and receiving money from those who have not received the gospel as the gospel of their salvation, to send the word to the heathen which they themselves have not obeyed; the selling of pews for hundreds of dollars to defray the expenses of building a house of worship, decorated like a theatre, to gratify the pride of life; the taxing of those pews to collect a revenue to support the reverend incumbent, who weekly from the rostrum sells his prayers and his sermons; the consecrating of grave-yards; the laying the foundation stones of cathedrals and meeting-houses with masonic and clerical honors; the making of holy water, or the consecrating a few drops from a common to a special use; and many other pranks of protestant priests, will, no doubt, be viewed by those that come after us as superstitious, as enthusiastic, as anti-Christian as the croisades; though, perhaps, inferior in magnitude and not so palpably wicked.

      For three hundred years great exertions have been made to convert the whole world to the Christian religion. Much zeal has been exhibited, many privations have been endured, and great dangers have been braved by missionaries to heathen lands. In this laudable object the most ignorant and most superstitious sect in Christendom has been the most active, and, if we can credit its reports by far the most successful. The Portuguese and Spaniards of the holy see of Rome, in the sixteenth century, spread (what they call) the gospel, through large districts in Asia, Africa, and America. Different orders of monks, particularly, the Dominicans, Franciscans, and, above all, the Jesuits, displayed astonishing zeal, and spent immense sums in reclaiming African, Asian, and American Pagans. The great missionary Xavier spread the Romish gospel through the Portuguese settlements in the East Indies, through most of the India continent, and of Ceylon. In 1549, he sailed to Japan and founded a church there, which soon amounted to six hundred thousand Roman Christians. Others penetrated into China, and founded churches that continued one hundred and seventy years. In 1580, other Catholic missionaries penetrated into Chili and Peru, and converted the natives. Others labored with ardent zeal and unwearied industry among the Greeks, Nestorians, Abyssinians and Egyptian Copts. In 1622, the pope established a congregation of cardinals, de propaganda fide, and endowed it with ample revenues for propagating the faith. In 1627, Urban, the pope, added a college, in which the languages of pagans were taught. France copied the example of Rome and formed establishments as for the same purposes. Amongst all the religious orders there was “a holy ambition” which should do most. “The Jesuits claimed the first rank as due to their zeal, learning, and devotedness to the holy see. The Dominicans, Franciscans, and others, disputed the palm with them. The new world and the Asiatic regions were the chief field of their labors. They penetrated into the uncultivated recesses of America. They visited the untried regions of Siam, Tonkin, and Cochin China. They entered the vast empire of China itself, and numbered millions among their converts. They dared to confront the dangers of the tyrannical government of Japan. In India they assumed the garb and austerities of the Brahmins, and boasted, on the coast of Malabar, of a thousand converts baptized in one year by a single missionary. Their sufferings were, however, very great; and in China and Japan they were exposed to the most dreadful persecutions, and many thousands were cut off, with, at last a final expulsion from the empires.”–Buck’s Theological Dictionary, vol. 1, p. 147.

      We all, who call ourselves protestants, hesitate not to say, that those missionaries, notwithstanding their zeal, their privations, and their sufferings in the missionary cause, left the heathen no better than they found them; nay, in some instances, they left them much worse; and, that there is as much need for their conversion from the religion of those missionaries, as there was from the religion of idols. It may be worthy of the serious consideration of many of the zealous advocates of the various sectarian missions in our day, whether, in a few years, the same things may not be said of their favorite projects which they themselves affirm of the Catholic missions and missionaries. They should also remember that it was once as unpopular and as impious to speak against the missionary undertakings of the “mother church,” as it can possibly be now to even call in question the schemes of any of her daughters. It might not be amiss also to consider, that a Dominican or a Jesuit did appeal to the privations and sufferings of their missionaries as a proof of their sincerity and piety, and to their great success, as a proof that the Lord of Hosts was with them. These reflections suggest the necessity of great caution in forming opinions on the measures of the religionists of our time. We pass over the Moravian, the Episcopalian, the Presbyterian, the Methodist, and the Baptist missionaries of this age, and proceed to suggest, in the most respectful manner, to the religious community, a few thoughts on what appears to us the capital mistake of all the missionary schemes of our time.

 

The capital mistake of modern missionary schemes.

      IN order that this may appear as plain as possible, we shall take a brief view of the two grand missions instituted by God. The first was that of Moses and Joshua. Moses was the great apostle from God to the Israelites in Egypt. Before he became God’s missionary, from his own benevolence, to his brethren the Jews, and from a sense of the tyranny of the Egyptians, he became a revenger of the wrongs of his people, In this period of his history he very much resembled one of our best missionaries: he was a benevolent zealous, and bold man; felt himself called to a good work; but not being commissioned by God, his efforts were unavailing, and he was obliged to fly his country for his ill-timed zeal. After forty years, the Lord appeared to him and commissioned him as his missionary to Egypt. Moses, from his own experience on a former occasion, discovered that [14] something more was necessary to his success than good professions and good speeches; he, therefore, answered and said, “But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken to my voice; for they will say, the Lord hath not appeared unto thee.” The Lord immediately authorized and empowered him to work miracles. He now goes forth, in conjunction with his brother Aaron, clothed with proper authority, confirming his testimony with signs and wonders, and effects the deliverance of the Israelites from ignorance and bondage. (See an account of this mission,Exodus, 3d and 4th chapters.) The success of his mission Stephen compendiously relates in these words, Acts vii. 35, 36. “This Moses whom they refused, saying, who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel that appeared unto him in the bush. He brought them out, after that he had shewn wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years.”

      Joshua becomes, after the death of Moses, the second missionary in this mission, and is thus authorized, Joshua, i. 5. “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses so I will be with thee; I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.” 9. “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” Signs and wonders accompanied the ministry of Joshua until he placed the tribes of Israel in their own land and divided it to them by lot. In this manner the first grand mission commenced, progressed, and terminated. Without pausing on the mission of John the Baptist, to introduce the Christian era, which was also authenticated by signs and wonders attendant on his conception and birth, and which were noised abroad throughout all Judea, whereby his testimony was confirmed to the people; we proceed to the second in order of time, but in fact the first grand mission to which all others were subservient–we mean the Father’s sending his own Son into the world as his great apostle or missionary, and the Son’s sending his missionaries to perfect this grand mission. We need scarcely stop here to show that signs and wonders accompanied his preaching, as every Christian, on the evidence of those signs and wonders, receives him as God’s Messiah, the Saviour of the world. But how did he send forth his missionaries? He tells them, “As the Father sent me, so also I send you.” Matthew informs us, chap. x., that “Jesus called unto him his twelve disciples, and gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and disease.” These he commanded to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and to preach the approaching reign of heaven, and to confirm it by miracles–“Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons: freely you have received, freely give.”

      The seventy disciples, who were sent out by the Messiah to go before his face, and to announce the approaching reign, were sent, in the same manner, empowered to confirm their testimony by signs and wonders. See Luke x. The apostles, in the last commission, were sent to all the world; but were prohibited, in the accompanying instructions, from commencing their operations until they should be endued with a power from on high. Thus all the missionaries, sent from heaven, were authorized and empowered to confirm their doctrine with signs and wonders sufficient to awe opposition, to subdue the deepest rooted prejudices, and to satisfy the most inquisitive of the origin of their doctrine.

      After Pentecost their powers were enlarged and new signs added. So sensible are they of the vast importance of those miracles, that their prayers ran in the following style, Acts iv. 29. “Lord, behold their threatenings; and grant unto thy servants, that, with all boldness, they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thy hand to heal, and that signs and wonders maybe done by the name of thy holy son Jesus.” Those spiritual gifts continued until the gospel was preached to all the world, Jews and Gentiles, and until churches were planted in all nations. Then they ceased. Why? Doubtless, because, in the eyes of Omniscience, they were no longer necessary. The missionary work was done. The gospel had been preached to all nations before the end of the apostolic age. The bible, then, gives us no idea of a missionary without the power of working miracles. Miracles and missionaries are inseparably connected in the New Testament. Nor can it be considered an objection to this fact, should it appear that some persons in the train of the true missionaries wrought no miracles, seeing those that led the van performed every thing of this kind that was necessary. Just as if a missionary were sent to India, with powers equal to those of Paul, with a score of attendants and fellow-laborers, his spiritual gifts or miraculous powers accredit the mission as of divine origin, and are as convincing to the witnesses as though they all wrought miracles. From these plain and obvious facts and considerations, it is evident that it is a capital mistake to suppose that missionaries in heathen lands, without the power of working miracles, can succeed in establishing the Christian religion. If it was necessary for the first missionaries to possess them, it is as necessary for those of our time who go to pagan lands, to possess them. Every argument that can be adduced to show that those signs and wonders, exhibited in Judea, were necessary to the success of that mission, can be turned to show that such signs and wonders are necessary at this day in China, Japan, or Burmah, to the success of a missionary.

      The success of all modern missionaries is in accordance with these facts. They have, in some instances, succeeded in persuading some individuals to put on sectarian profession of Christianity. As the different philosophers, in ancient nations succeeded in obtaining a few disciples to their respective systems, each new one making some inroads upon his predecessors; so have the modern missionaries succeeded in making a few proselytes to their systems, from amongst the disciples of the different pagan systems of theology. But that any thing can be produced, of a credible character, resembling the success of the divine missionaries, narrated in the New Testament, is impossible; or, that a church, resembling that at Jerusalem, Samaria, Cesarea, Antioch, or Rome, has been founded in any pagan land, by the efforts of our missionaries, we believe incapable of proof. Is, then, the attempt to convert the heathen by means of modern missionaries, an unauthorized and a hopeless one? It seems to be unauthorized, and, if so, then it is a hopeless one.

How, then, is the Gospel to spread through the World?

      The New Testament is the only source of information on this topic. It teaches us that [15] the association, called the church of Jesus Christ is, in propria forma, the only institution of God left on earth to illuminate and reform the world. That is, to speak in the most definitive and intelligible manner, a society of men and women, having in their hands the oracles of God; believing in their hearts the gospel of Jesus Christ; confessing the truth of Christ with their lips; exhibiting to their lives the morality of the gospel, and walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, blamelessly, in the sight of all men. When spiritual men, i. e. men having spiritual gifts, or, as now termed; miraculous gifts, were withdrawn, this institution was left on earth, as the grand scheme of Heaven, to enlighten and reform the world. An organized society of this kind, modelled after the plan taught to the New Testament, is the consummation of the manifold wisdom of God to exhibit to the world the civilizing, the moralizing, the saving light, which renovates the human heart, which elevates human character, and which prostrates in the dust all the boasted expedients of ancient and modern times. The church of the living God is therefore styled the pillar and ground of the truth; or, as Macknight more correctly renders it, the pillar and support of the truth.

      The christian religion is a social religion, and cannot be exhibited to the full conviction of the world, only when it appears in this social character. An individual or two, in a pagan land, may talk about the christian religion, and may exhibit its morality as far as respects mankind in general; but it is impossible to give a clear, a satisfactory, a convincing exhibition of it, in any other way than by exhibiting a church, not on paper, but in actual existence and operation, as divinely appointed. The ambassadors of Christ, or his missionaries to the world, were commissioned to go to all nations in quest of materials to build this pillar of truth, this house of the living God; and then to place and cement these materials in such a way as to bear the inscription of the blessed gospel, and to exhibit it in such conspicuous and legible characters, as to be known and read by all men. This work the apostles accomplished in having made of twain one new man, i. e. of Jew and Gentile one new institution, or associated body, the church; and having placed this in all nations, in the most conspicuous and elevated situations; in the most populous countries, the most commercial states, and in the most renowned cities, they were taken to heaven, and left the church, by its doctrine and example, to christianize the world. All that has been necessary ever since was to hold fast the apostles, doctrine and commandments. If this had been faithfully done, there would have been no need, at this moment, to talk of converting the heathen. But it has happened, by the woeful departure of ambitious and ignorant men, from the ancient simplicity of the new religion, that the same awful crime is justly preferred against the people called Christians, that was, by an apostle, charged upon the Jews, viz. “The christian name has been, through your crimes, blasphemed among the heathen.” Yes, indeed, so blasphemed, so disgraced, so vilified, that amongst those pagans that have heard of it, the term christian denotes every thing that is hateful and impious. If the channel of, the vast Atlantic were filled with tears of the deepest contrition, they would not suffice to wash the “christian nations” from the odium and turpitude of crime with which they have debased themselves, so as to appear worthy of the approbation of the pagans that know them best. Nothing can be done worthy of admiration by the christians of this age, with any reference to the conversion of the pagan nations, until the christians separate themselves from all the worldly combinations in which they are swallowed up, until they come out from amongst them that have a form of godliness, but deny the power of it; until they cast out all the selfish, money-lovers, boasters, proud, blasphemers, drunkards, covenant-breakers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, without natural affection, slanderers, incontinent, fierce, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up, and lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; until they form themselves into societies independent of hireling priests and ecclesiastical courts modelled after the forum, the parliament, or national conventions; until they cast to the moles and to the bats the Platonic speculations, the Pythagorean dreams and Jewish fables they have written in their creeds; until they return to the ancient model delineated in the New Testament; and until they keep the ordinances as delivered to them by the apostles. Then suppose a christian church were to be placed on the confines of a heathen land, as some of them must inevitably be, the darkness of paganism will serve, as a shade in a picture, to exhibit the lustre of christianity. Then the heathen around them will see their humility; their heavenly-mindedness, their hatred of garments spotted with the flesh, their purity, their chastity, their temperance, their sobriety, their brotherly love; they will observe the order of their worship, and will fall down in their assemblies, as Paul affirms, and declare that God is in them of a truth. Then will be verified anew the words of the Saviour–“If ye love one another, all men will know that you are the disciples of the Saviour of the world.” They will say to one another, and proclaim to their countrymen on every occasion, “These christians are peaceful, benevolent, humane, forgetful, and forgiving of injuries; they hate war, oppression, theft, falsehood, detraction; they are always talking of the hope of a glorious resurrection from the dead, and are looking for the coming of him whom they call their Lord. In their assemblies there is order, peace, love, and harmony. Their chief guide is not distinguished by his dress, as our priests, nor does he, like them, live upon the sweat and sacrifices of the people. He works with his own hands as those who meet with him in their assembly. They repay the curses of wicked pagans with blessings, and their benevolence is not confined to themselves. They are as benevolent to all our people as to themselves–come, see if their religion is not better than ours–better than all others.” When the christian church assumes such a character, there will be no need of missionaries. She will shine forth in the doctrine and in the practice of her members, as the sun in the firmament, and the brightness of her radiance will cheer the region and shadow of death.

      If, in the present day, and amongst all those who talk so much of a missionary spirit, there could be found such a society, though it were composed of but twenty, willing to emigrate to some heathen land, where they would support themselves like the natives, wear the same garb, adopt the country as their own, and profess nothing like a missionary project; should such a society sit down and hold forth in word and deed the saving truth, not deriding the gods nor the religion of the natives, but allowing their [16] own works and example to speak for their religion, and practicing as above hinted; we are persuaded that, in process of time a more solid foundation for the conversion of the natives would be laid, and more actual success resulting, than from all the missionaries employed for twenty-five years. Such a course would have some warrant from scripture; but the present has proved itself to be all human.

      We do not intend to dwell much on this topic. We have thought the above remarks were due to the great interest manifested by many in those enterprizes. We know many of the well disposed are engaged in these projects; nay, it is not long since we ourselves were enthusiastic in the missionary spirit. Let the reader remember our motto–let him “prove all things, and hold fast that which is good.”

EDITOR (http://www.mun.ca./rels/restmov/texts/acampbell/tcb/TCB102.HTM#Essay5).

There, you have all that Campbell had to say about Missionaries and their work. Campbell was not arguing against denominational mission work, he was arguing against missionaries and their work, period. In his view, they and it are unauthorized.

In Christ Jesus

Jerry McDonald  

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