Archive for the ‘Missions history’Category

David Jones: Pioneer Missionary to Madagascar

David Jones was one of the first missionaries to Madagascar during the early 1800s.  He faced many hardships, but pressed on for the Gospel’s sake.  Through his faithful labors, he developed a written language system for Malagasy (still in use today). Shortly thereafter he, with the help of coworkers and Malagasy nationals, translated the entire Bible into the Malgasasy language.  The Word of the Lord spread rapidly and had free course among the people.  But within 20 years of Jones’ arrival, severe persecution took place at the hand of Queen Ranavalona, including the enslaving and killing of many believers.  God used the affliction to purify His people; and, as so often is the case amongst the persecuted, to strengthen and spread His kingdom in Madagascar.  The years of trial were followed by a period of religious freedom, after which came the bondage of European colonization.  To this day, millions of Malagasy have never heard the true Gospel.

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?

Daniel put together the video posted above for a class project several years ago.  At that time, the population of Madagascar was 18 million.  The census now reports over 20 million.  (It seems that ever since we’ve been researching this country, the population has grown at a rate of 1 million per year!)



09 2009

Guest Post by Hudson Taylor

Today, Hudson Taylor, has left a few words for the blog. This comes from The Collected Works of J. Hudson Taylor of the China Inland Mission, Dust & Ashes Publications. These quotations come from a sermon he preached at a missionary conference in 1900.

Beloved, you whose duty it is to remain at home, are equally sharers with those who go into the mission fields in this work; yours the responsibility; yours equally to share in the reward when Christ is glorified and His kingdom is everywhere made known.

The command was not given to a limited class; it was given to the whole Church, and we all have our share of the responsibility.

There is another method of preaching the gospel; believing it to be the power of God unto salvation; preaching it in the expectation that He who first brought light out of darkness can and will at once and instantaneously take the darkest heathen heart and create light within. That is the method that is successful.

We may well thank God that He has not left us a difficult service without providing us abundant power, adequate power and resources for its discharge for all time, even to the end of the world.



07 2009

Guest Post by John Paton

Since I’m away for a few days, I asked John Paton if he wouldn’t mind leaving a guest post. He graciously obliged, thanks to his 524-page autobiography that he left behind in 1891. I realize that reading dusty quotes by dead guys is probably less thrilling than looking at your friend’s Facebook pictures.

However, all these quotations strike a theme, common in Paton, that I think is extremely relevant today. See if you can pick up on that theme, and ask yourself if Paton is right or wrong.

I clearly saw that all at home had free access to the Bible and the means of grace, with Gospel light shining all around them, while the poor Heathen were perishing, without even the chance of knowing all God’s love and mercy to men…Some retorted upon me, “There are Heathen at home; let us seek and save, first of all, the lost ones perishing at our doors.” This I felt to be most true and an appalling fact; but I unfailingly observed that those who made this retort neglected these Home Heathen themselves; and so the objection, as from them, lost all its power.

My heart often says within itself – when, when will men’s eyes at home be opened? When will the rich and the learned . . . renounce their shallow frivolities, and go to live amongst the poor, the ignorant, the outcast, and the lost, and write their eternal fame on the souls by them blessed and brought to the Savior? Those who have tasted this highest joy, “The joy of the Lord,” will never again ask – Is Life worth living? Life, any life, would be well spent, under any conceivable conditions, in bringing one human soul to konw and love and serve God and His Son, and thereby securing for yourself at least one temple where your name and memory would be held for ever and for ever in affectionate praise,–a regenerated Heart in Heaven. That fame will prove immortal when all the poems and monuments and pyramids of Earth have gone into dust.

What could not the Church accomplish if the educated and gifted Elders and others in Christian lands would set themselves thus to work for Jesus, to teach the ignorant, to protect the tempted, and to rescue the fallen.

Your own Towns and Villages are overmanned; why not resign your charges, and go to the millions of Heathendom?



07 2009

John Calvin: Missions Killer?

John Calvin

July 10, 2009 marked the 500th birthday of John Calvin. There is a sad notion, begun somewhere a long time ago, that views John Calvin as sort of a Missions Killer. Somehow, the doctrines of grace, often labeled as “Calvinism,” are suspiciously viewed as pious and intellectual-sounding excuses for those who refuse to share the gospel. This anti-missions thinking plagued William Carey’s religious world of the 1790s. One old pastor, hearing of Carey’s crazy ideas on foreign evangelism said, “Young man, sit down. When God pleases to convert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or mine.”

Don’t blame John Calvin.

What follows is not a scholarly defense of John Cavin’s missiology, but a little (belated) birthday present to John on the occasion of his 500th. We can thank God for his profound impact upon church history, among which includes a significant contribution to world evangelism.

1. In a very unmissions minded age, John Calvin was himself a missionary. He left his native France and ministered in Switzerland.

2. John Calvin pastored a missionary-sending machine. His church sent hundreds of missionaries to Catholic-blinded France, into England, Germany, Scotland, and even  far-flung Brazil.

3. John Calvin taught missions, because the Bible teaches missions.

God certainly desires nothing more than for those who are perishing and rushing toward death to return to the way of safety. This is why the gospel is today proclaimed throughout the world, for God wished to testify to all the ages that he is greatly inclined to pity. (From his commentaries)

We must labour as much as possible to draw those to salvation who seem to be afar off. And above all things, let us pray to God for them, waiting patiently till it please Him to show His good will toward them, as He hath shown it to us. (From a sermon)

The gospel does not fall like rain from the clouds, but is brought by the hands of men wherever it is sent from above. (From his commentary on Romans)

The principle thing we have to look to is to teach the ignorant and to show them the way of salvation. (From a sermon in Ephesians)

“Our duty is, to be employed in sowing and watering, and while we do this we must look for the increase from God.” (From his commentaries)

So please, do not blame Calvin (or even biblical Calvinism, properly defined) for being a missions killer. Most importantly, listen to what the Bible has to say, not just John Calvin:

Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 18:19-20)



07 2009