Stewardship and World Missions
Notes taken from “The Message of Stewardship” by Ralph Cushman
“…he laid upon his disciples the stewardship of being his witnesses to the ends of the earth? ‘Go ye into all the world,’ he said, and he repeated the command so many times that there was no doubt as to his meaning. But how slow his Church and his disciples have been to understand!”
“’Did I ever tell you how I came to be a missionary?’ ‘Tell me,’ I answered. ‘I was born in China,’ he replied. ‘My father and mother had been missionaries for a long time. I begged to be sent home to America for school and college. They consented, and I went to America. One thing I had agreed with myself: I would never be a missionary! And then I went back to visit my parents. The months passed quickly. Then one day I started with the old servant of the mission, in a bullock cart, a long distance to the railroad station. Halfway to our destination one of the wheels of the cart broke, and we were obliged to go into a blacksmith shop in a little Chinese village. While the blacksmith worded, it seemed that the whole town gathered around, out of curiosity at the presence of a white man! For our old servant, it was the opportunity to bear his Christian witness. He stood up on a stump and told them the story of God’s great love in Christ. He talked until the wheel was fixed, and then we started away. When we reached the outskirts of the village, we heard a voice calling to us, and stopped. It was the blacksmith. When he came up, I said in direct American fashion, ‘What is the matter? Didn’t I pay you enough?’ ‘O sir, that is not it. I wanted to ask you a question. When you were gone, the people asked how long ago was it that this Son of God came down to earth. Can you tell me?’ ‘I replied, ‘It was about nineteen hundred years ago that Jesus came to earth’. It was at this point that my friend paused in his story. ‘Do you know what made me a missionary?’ he asked. ‘It was the look in that man’s face as I spoke those words. ‘Nineteen hundred years ago!’ he repeated. ‘Nineteen hundred years? Why haven’t we heard of him before?’”
“It must be because the Church as a whole has never understood that to be a Christian is to have what Paul felt when he said, ‘I have a stewardship entrusted unto me…Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel’”.
“That was what George Gordon meant when he said, ‘Our churches are full of people who have never understood what the call of Christ really is.’ There is no doubt that it is a call to a regenerated personality, but it is just as true that the gospel of the Kingdom is a call to help our Lord regenerate this earth. ‘After this manner therefore pray ye:…Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth’”
From Wikipedia: George N. Gordon (1822 – May 20, 1861) was a Protestant Canadian missionary to the Pacific Islands. Due to the murder of him and his wife, they are considered by many to be martyrs of modern times. George Gordon was born to Scottish parents near Alberton, Prince Edward Island in Canada. In 1848 at age 26, he was converted to Christianity and began distributing Bibles and religious tracts. In 1850, he attended Presbyterian Theological Hall in West River, Nova Scotia. Gordon began his missionary work in Halifax City Mission where he would minister to the poor about the gospel of Christ.
He arrived on the coast of Erromango, an island near Vanuatu, in the Pacific Ocean, in June 1857 to evangelize among the natives. About forty natives of Erromango were converted to Christianity. However, in March 1861 sandalwood traders intentionally exposed the natives to measles, and Gordon spent most of his time caring for them, however, the two children of one of the island’s chiefs had died in his care, and the chief thought that he had put a spell on his children, he banded together a group of warriors and killed both George and his wife on May 20, 1861. Gordon’s younger brother James followed him to Erromango, and was also martyred.
“But how slow even the leaders of the Church have been to recognize the fundamental truth of Jesus’ message—that the very life and vitality and prosperity of the Church would depend upon obedience to the great command to take the Christian gospel and life to the ends of the earth!”
Matt 28:16-20 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
“The Great Commission has been called by the unfriendly ‘The Great Absurdity.’ But think how absurd it must have sounded at the beginning to some half-consecrated disciples of Jesus! Picture such when they heard for the first time of the great stewardship which Jesus had entrusted to his disciples—to preach the gospel to all people everywhere! Just how absurd that command seemed may be imagined by recalling how absurd it seemed at the beginning of the nineteenth century to the money-seeking East India Company, rebelling at the going of missionaries to India. They said: ‘The sending out of missionaries into our Eastern possessions is the maddest, most extravagant, most costly, most indefensible project which has ever been suggested by a moonstruck fanatic. Such a scheme is pernicious, imprudent, useless, harmful, dangerous, profitless, fantastic. It strikes against all reason and sound policy, it brings the peace and safety of our possessions into peril.’”
Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mark 16:19-20 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
“No Christian can rightly say he does not believe in missions, for that would imply that he does not believe in his own religion. Christians should look upon the whole non-Christian world as the ‘prodigal son’ of humanity and believe that it is the duty of true Christians to call this prodigal humanity home to God and to share with them their treasure—the gift of the Father’s love.” Sherwood Eddy
From Wikipedia: After college Eddy attended Union Theological Seminary (1891-1893) in New York. He enlisted in the Student Volunteer Movement, which sought to “evangelize the world in this generation.” He also worked on the staff of a local Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). In 1893-1894 he served as a traveling secretary for the Student Volunteer Movement in the United States. Eddy’s father died in 1894, leaving him an inheritance that made him financially independent and enabled him to work for the causes he believed in without concern for finances. He attended Princeton Theological Seminary, from which he graduated in 1896.
Eddy was one of the first of sixteen thousand student volunteers who emerged from the leading universities of the U.S. and Europe to serve as Christian missionaries across the world. In 1896, he went to India and worked at the YMCA-organized Indian Student Volunteer Movement. He served as its secretary for the next 15 years. Working among the poor and outcasts of India he mastered the Tamil language and served as a traveling evangelist among the students and masses of southern India beginning in Palamcottah. In 1911, he was appointed secretary for Asia by the International Committee and he divided his time between evangelistic campaigns in Asia and fund-raising in North America. He is also known today for his works with the Oxford Group evangelical group, a predecessor to Alcoholics Anonymous. He spent the next 15 years doing student evangelistic work across Asia – from China, Japan, and the Philippines]], through the Near East to Turkey, Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, and then to czarist Russia and made 15 trips to the Soviet Russia. He admired the Soviet system and refused to believe reports of famine; in 1937 he agreed that the victims of Stalin’s show trials were traitors as charged. His was criticized as a “fellow traveler.” The Fellowship of Socialist Christians was organized in the early 1930s by Reinhold Niebuhr and others on the left. Later it changed its name to Frontier Fellowship and then to Christian Action. The main supporters of the Fellowship in the early days included Eddy, Eduard Heimann, Paul Tillich and Rose Terlin. In its early days the group thought capitalist individualism was incompatible with Christian ethics. Although not under Communist control, the group acknowledged Karl Marx’s social philosophy.
“Dreams are they? But ye cannot stay them Or thrust the dawn back for one hour! Truth, Love, and Justice, if ye slay them, Return with more than earthy power!” Alfred Noye
A famous poet known for the “The Highwayman” an epic poem about Drake and “Sherwood” about Robin Hood. From Wikipedia: In 1940, Noyes returned to North America, where he lectured and advocated the British war position. The following year, he gave the Josiah Wood lectures at Mount Allison University, New Brunswick, Canada. Titled The Edge of the Abyss, they were first published in Canada in 1942 and then, in a revised version, in the United States the same year and in Britain two years later. In The Edge of the Abyss, Noyes ponders the future of the world, attacking totalitarianism, bureaucracy, the pervasive power of the state, and the collapse of moral standards. George Orwell reviewed the book for The Observer and, like The Last Man, it is considered a probable influence on Nineteen Eighty-Four.
In his review, Orwell wrote that The Edge of the Abyss “raises a real problem” – the “decay in the belief in absolute good and evil”, with the result that the “rules of behaviour on which any stable society has to rest are dissolving” and “even the prudential reasons for common decency are being forgotten”. Indeed, in Orwell’s view, Noyes “probably even underemphasises the harm done to ordinary common sense by the cult of ‘realism’, with its inherent tendency to assume that the dishonest course is always the profitable one”. On the other hand, Orwell finds Noyes’ suggested remedy, a return to Christianity, “doubtful, even from the point of view of practicality”. He agrees that the “real problem of our time is to restore the sense of absolute right and wrong”, which in the past had ultimately rested on “faith”, but he thinks that Noyes “is probably wrong in imagining that the Christian faith, as it existed in the past, can be restored even in Europe”. Orwell offers no suggestion, however, as to what, other than faith, could serve as a basis for morality.
Acts 1:7-8 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
“It was a promise of power—power to do the impossible! Woe unto any one of us who forgets what the Great Commission was: ‘Ye shall be my witnesses…unto the uttermost part of the earth.’ Repeat those words: ‘Unto the uttermost part of the earth.’ What an impossible task, a monumental stewardship!”
“You really expect to make an impression on the idolatry of the Great Chinese Empire?” It was an amused American ship-owner who asked that question of Robert Morrison. And the answer came: “No, sir, but I expect God will!” And God did.
From Wikipedia: Robert Morrison was the first Christian Protestant missionary in China. After twenty-five years of work he translated the whole Bible into the Chinese language and baptized ten Chinese believers. Morrison pioneered the translation of the Bible into Chinese and planned for the distribution of the Scriptures as broadly as possible, unlike the previous Roman Catholic translation work that had never been published. Morrison cooperated with such contemporary missionaries as Walter Henry Medhurst and William Milne (the printers), Samuel Dyer (Hudson Taylor’s father-in-law), Karl Gutzlaff (the Prussian linguist), and Peter Parker (China’s first medical missionary). He served for 27 years in China with one furlough home to England. The only missionary efforts in China were restricted to Guangzhou (Canton) and Macau at this time. They concentrated on literature distribution among members of the merchant class, gained a few converts, and laid the foundations for more educational and medical work that would significantly impact the culture and history of the most populous nation on earth. However, when Morrison was asked shortly after his arrival in China if he expected to have any spiritual impact on the Chinese, he answered, “No sir, but I expect God will!”
Morrison’s conversion: It was about five years ago  that I was much awakened to a sense of sin … and I was brought to a serious concern about my soul. I felt the dread of eternal condemnation. The fear of death compassed me about and I was led nightly to cry to God that he would pardon my sin, that he would grant me an interest in the Savior, and that he would renew me in the spirit of my mind. Sin became a burden. It was then that I experienced a change of life, and, I trust, a change of heart, too. I broke off from my former careless company, and gave myself to reading, meditation and prayer. It pleased God to reveal his Son in me, and at that time I experienced much of the “kindness of youth and the love of espousals.” And though the first flash of affection wore off, I trust my love to and knowledge of the Savior have increased.
“We will miss the whole secret of the missionary movement if we suppose it is a man-made movement. Notice what was expected of the disciples: ‘Ye shall be my witnesses.’ “It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful,’ said the Apostle Paul. The witness is very important, but witness unto whom? ‘Unto me’ declares Jesus! It is vitally important to note that Matthew quotes our Lord as saying, at the end of the command to ‘Go’: ‘Lo, I am with you always.’ It is the Christ-Presence who is to change China –and the world! To the same point Mark’s Gospel ends with these words: ‘And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them.’ That was the secret of victory; ‘the Lord working with them!’”
“The primary work of the Church is to make Jesus Christ known and obeyed and loved throughtout the world.” John R. Mott
John Raleigh Mott (May 25, 1865 – January 31, 1955) was a long-serving leader of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) and the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF). He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946 for his work in establishing and strengthening international Protestant Christian student organizations that worked to promote peace. He shared the prize with Emily Balch. From 1895 until 1920 Mott was the General Secretary of the WSCF. Intimately involved in the formation of the World Council of Churches in 1948, that body elected him as a lifelong honorary President. His best-known book, The Evangelization of the World in this Generation, became a missionary slogan in the early 20th century.
An added tidbit: they were offered free passage on the Titanic; but refused and chose a more humble ship to make the Atlantic crossing. You know their thoughts.
“If I were to follow my own inclinations, they would lead me to settle down quietly with the Bakwains, or some other small tribe, and devote some of my time to my children; but Providence seems to call me to the regions beyond”. David Livingstone
“I will have faith That God is still in Heaven; I will have faith that he is by my side; I will have faith though every star is darkened, That he and truth abide!” RSC
Acts 8:1 At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
Acts 8:4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.
“He who loves not, lives not; He who lives by the Life cannot die”. Raymond Lull
From Amazon: ‘There is no more heroic figure in the history of Christendom than that of Raymund Lull the first and perhaps the greatest Missionary to Mohammedans.’ Raymund Lull ((Ramon Lull), was years ahead of his time; described ‘a reformer before the Reformation’ and ‘Dr. Illuminatus’, he was a great thinker as well as doer, establishing missionary colleges to carry the Gospel to Moslems, while personally obeying Christ’s command to ‘Go’ himself. In the Dark Ages, Heaven enlightened Lull to know the love of God and to do the Will of God as no other of his generation. From a powerful vision of Christ’s unrequited Love at the time of the bloody Crusades, Lull began his own crusade of love. Lull’s motto was, ‘He who loves not lives not; he who lives by the Life cannot die.’ In 1315, Lull was stoned to death while preaching to the Moslems in North Africa. Although nearly seven hundred years old, Lull’s story still powerfully speaks to Christians today.
“No enthusiasm will ever stand the strain that Jesus Christ will put upon his worker; only one thing will, and that is a personal relationship to Himself.” Oswald Chambers
A note on “My Utmost for His Highest”: It is among 30 works published by his wife who collected his sayings in his preaching at 250 words per minute.
“I wonder if Christ had a little black dog All curly and woolly like mine; With two silky ears, and a nose round and wet, And eyes brown and tender that shine. I’m afraid that He hadn’t, because I have read How He prayed in the Garden alone, For all of His friends and disciples had fled, Even Peter, the one called a ‘stone.’ And oh, I am sure that that little black dog, with a heart so tender and warm, Would never have left Him to suffer alone, But, creeping right under His arm, Would have licked those dear fingers in agony clasped, And counting all favors but loss, When they took Him away, would have trotted behind When they took Him away, would have trotted behind And followed Him quite to the Cross!” Elizabeth Gardner Reynolds
Acts 11:1-3 Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. 2 And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, those of the circumcision contended with him, 3 saying, “You went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them!”
“As a result Peter made some great discoveries. First, that there are noble souls among the foreigners, that the hunger for God is a universal hunger, that God is no respecter of persons—Jews or Gentiles. And he discovered that spiritual regeneration has no geographical or ecclesiastical limits.”
“An interesting thing happened the other day at Conference. The president of the Woman’s Society of Christian Service remarked, ‘Wendell Willkie need not have gone around the world to learn that missions and missionaries are the chief factors in building good will toward the United States.” From a preacher’s diary
“I came home certain of one clear and significant fact; that there exists in the world today a gigantic reservoir of good will toward us, the American people. Many things have created this enormous reservoir. At the top of the list go the hospitals, schools, and colleges which Americans—missionaries, teachers and doctors—have founded in the far corners of the world….Now, in our time of crisis, we own a great debt to these men and women who have made friends for us.” Wendell Willkie
He ran for president in 1940 as a Republican after a life as a democrat. He was selected in a deadlocked convention.
1 Cor 1:26-28 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;
“God chose the weak things of the world, the things that are despised! In 1808 at Williams College a little group organized themselves, as Sherwood Eddy says, into ‘the Society of Brethren, the first foreign missionary society in America whose members proposed to go themselves to work for the ‘heathen.’ The story is that this society was kept secret because of the almost universal opposition to an idea so bold as missions. The subsequent history of these ‘strange’ young men reds like a romance. It is strange, too, that the greatest missionary since the Apostle Paul was an obscure shoemaker, William Carey. In 1792 he preached his great sermon ‘Expect Great Things from God; Attempt Great Things for God.” The Baptist Missionary Society, which was organized ‘with sixty-five dollars in the treasury,’ would seem like a joke to the missionary leaders of today. So God has chosen ‘the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong.’”
From Wikipedia: Five Williams College students met in the summer of 1806, in a grove of trees near the Hoosic River, in what was then known as Sloan’s Meadow, and debated the theology of missionary service. Their meeting was interrupted by a thunderstorm and the students: Samuel John Mills, James Richards, Robert C. Robbins, Harvey Loomis, and Byram Green, took shelter under a haystack until the sky cleared. “The brevity of the shower, the strangeness of the place of refuge, and the peculiarity of their topic of prayer and conference all took hold of their imaginations and their memories.” In 1808 the Haystack Prayer group and other Williams students began a group called “The Brethren.” This group was organized to “effect, in the persons of its members, a mission to” those who were not Christians. In 1812, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (created in 1810) sent its first missionaries to the non-Christian world, to India.
“The eighteenth century, for example, with its collapse of an old social order, its appalling economic maladjustment and poverty, its rampant immorality and atheism…was more like our generation than any period in history. Christians were in despair. Did not their enemies say that Christianity had one foot in the grave and needed only decent obsequies to complete its history?…Then came the Wesleys to light a fire that broke into such a conflagration of triumphant faith as the English-speaking world had never known before. Once more came an authentic outbreak of a spiritual life, hope born out of despair…If we Christians were worth our salt, we could reproduce that now.” Harry Emerson Fosdick
From Wikipedia: In 1918 he was called to First Presbyterian Church, and on May 21, 1922, he delivered his famous sermon Shall the Fundamentalists Win?, in which he defended the modernist position. In that sermon he presented the Bible as a record of the unfolding of God’s will, not as the literal “Word of God”. He saw the history of Christianity as one of development, progress, and gradual change. Fundamentalists regarded this as rank apostasy, and the battle-lines were drawn.
A Time magazine cover story (notice which side gets the cover story) on October 6, 1930 (pictured). Time said that Fosdick “proposes to give this educated community a place of greatest beauty for worship. He also proposes to serve the social needs of the somewhat lonely metropolite. Hence on a vast scale he has built all the accessories of a community church—gymnasium, assembly room for theatricals, dining rooms, etc. … In ten stories of the 22-story belltower are classrooms for the religious and social training of the young…”
1 John 5:3-5 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
“What we now need to discover…is the moral equivalent of war; something heroic that will speak to men as universally as war does, and yet will be as compatible with their spiritual selves as war has proved itself to be incompatible.” William James
William James from Wikipedia: “James was one of the leading thinkers of the late nineteenth century and is believed by many to be one of the most influential philosophers the United States has ever produced, while others have labelled him the “Father of American psychology”.”
James for all of his intelligence came close to knowing God, yet couldn’t quite manage it. Two quotes: “First, it is essential that God be conceived as the deepest power in the universe, and second, he must be conceived under the form of a mental personality.” AND: “James held séances with Piper (after his son died) and was impressed by some of the details he was given, however, according to Massimo Polidoro a maid in the household of James was friendly with a maid in Piper’s house and this may have been a source of information that Piper used for private details about James.”
“A glorious band, the chosen few On whom the Spirit came Twelve valiant saints, their hope they knew And mocked the cross and flame; They climbed the steep ascent of heaven Through peril, toil and pain; O God, to us may grace be given To follow in their train!” Reginald Heber
From Wikipedia: Reginald Heber (21 April 1783 – 3 April 1826) was an English bishop, traveller, man of letters and hymn-writer who, after working as a country parson for 16 years, served as the Bishop of Calcutta until his sudden death at the age of 42.
The son of a wealthy landowner and cleric, Heber gained an early reputation at Oxford University as a poet. After graduation he expanded his view of the world by undertaking, at the height of the Napoleonic Wars, an extended tour of Scandinavia, Russia and central Europe. He was ordained in 1807, and took over his father’s old parish of Hodnet in Shropshire. He combined his pastoral duties with other church offices, hymn-writing, and more general literary work which included a critical study of the complete works of the 17th-century cleric Jeremy Taylor.
Heber was consecrated Bishop of Calcutta in October 1823. During his short episcopate he travelled widely in the areas of India within his diocese, and worked hard to improve the spiritual and general living conditions of his flock. A combination of arduous duties, hostile climate and indifferent health brought about his collapse and death while visiting Trichinopoly (now Tiruchirappalli), after less than three years in India. Monuments were erected in his memory in India and in St Paul’s Cathedral, London. A collection of his hymns was published shortly after his death; one of these, “Holy, Holy, Holy”, is a popular and widely known hymn for Trinity Sunday.
Rev 19:6-8 And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! 7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”
“This is the scripture that inspired Handel’s ‘Hallelujah Chorus.’ St. John is setting over against the tribulations of the early Christians the vision of glorious and final victory. The blood of the martyrs is avenged by judgment descended upon the Great Harlot, Rome. At last God reigns, and Christ is King of Kings!”
“Nothing will induce me to form an impure Church. Fifty added to the Church sounds fine at home, but if only five of these are genuine what will it profit in the Great Day?” David Livingstone
“’Ye are not your own; for ye have been bought with a price.’ This text fairly leaps out of the Scriptures. After these years of war no man can say, ‘My life is my own and I shall do with it as I please. My possessions are my own, I shall do with them as I will.’ Should such a man be found among us, he is not worthy to be alive. The present sacrifices of our sons and daughters should compel us to face the meaning of the Cross and the call of Christ.” Harry D. Henry
“Is there some desert or some stormy sea Where Thou, good God of angels, wilt send me? Is there some sod, Some rock for me to break, Some handful of thy corn to take And scatter far afield, Till it in turn shall yield Its hundred fold Of grains of gold, To feed the waiting children of my God? Show me the desert, Father, or the sea! Is it thine enterprise? Great God, send me! And though this body lies where ocean rolls, Count me among all faithful souls.” Edward Everett Hale
Famous for “Man Without a Country” a pro-north civil war piece as well as grandson of Nathan Hale the Revolutionary War patriot. From Wikipedia: Decades later, he reflected on the new liberal theology there:
The group of leaders who surrounded Dr. [William Ellery] Channing had, with him, broken forever from the fetters of Calvinistic theology. These young people were trained to know that human nature is not totally depraved. They were taught that there is nothing of which it is not capable… For such reasons, and many more, the young New Englanders of liberal training rushed into life, certain that the next half century was to see a complete moral revolution in the world.
Hale was licensed to preach as a Unitarian minister in 1842