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A Clarion Call to Missions from a Century Ago

John P Jones was a Welsh-born Congregationalist missionary who served in India for many years around the turn of the 20th Century. He was involved and influential in the epochal 1910 World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh. Looking for a particular quote in a digital copy of his world The Missionary Problem (also written in 1910), I found this gem. It is equally true today as it was 113 years ago! Urgency and patience must go hand in hand in world evangelization. For reasons we cannot fathom, God’s agenda awaits our obedience.

“This enterprise is not only the greatest that the world has ever known ; it is also the most difficult of achievement. Let us not fall into the error of thinking that Christianizing the nations and bringing the world to the feet of our Lord is the task of a day or of a generation. Its magnitude should be fully realized by the people of God in order that they may prosecute it with all seriousness and brace themselves up with a faith that is invincible, with a courage that will never yield, and with a purpose to lean hard upon God, that He may lead in the conflict and give patience in the work to the very end.

“With God all things are possible”; but in this enterprise He works through the agency of man. He depends upon His own Church to a much larger extent than we are wont to believe. It is true that His divine Spirit is working mightily in and through the Church ; but it is a complementary and equally significant truth that the Church itself can render, and has for many years sadly rendered, ineffective the work of God’s Spirit. It has blocked the way of the fulfillment of God’s own purposes, and is still so indifferent to its responsibility in this work that the infinitely patient Spirit of God waits, and still waits for His people to move on and stop complaining in their onward march to victory. The old command to Moses comes anew to the Church,—”Wherefore criest thou unto Me? Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward.”

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