From left to right: John Eliot (1604-1690), David Brainerd (1718-1747), William Carey (1761-1834), David Livingstone (1813-1873) and Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) were respectively the forefathers of the modern evangelical missionary movement in North America, Africa and Asia.
The men who pioneered the modern missions movement were mainly postmillennial Calvinists who held the Word of God in such high esteem that they saw Jesus command to “Go into all the world and make disciples of the nations” (Matthew 28:19) as an order to be obeyed.
They took their marching orders from Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, in which the Swiss Reformer wrote, “Our doctrine must tower unvanquished above all the glory and above all the might of the world, for it is not of us, but of the living God and His Christ who will rule from sea to sea and from the river even to the ends of the earth.”
Calvin’s missionary zeal is attested to by the fact that within 25 years – from the time John Calvin began his ministry – there were 2000 Calvinist churches and about half a million Calvinists, in France alone Calvin sponsored missions throughout Europe and even as far afield as Poland, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Iceland and even to Brazil.
The passion to preach the Gospel in every nation and to win heathen tribes to Christ sprang from those Reformed churches, in England and America, which had been most deeply influenced by the Great Evangelical Awakening of the 18th century. These revivals were based upon the study and proclamation of the Reformed teachings of the Puritans. The two primary human instruments whom God was pleased to use in the 18th century revivals were Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield.
Edwards was a Calvinist whose books reasserted the faith and conduct of the Puritans. His sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” was used by God to spark the Great Awakening. In 1749, Edwards’ published The Life and Diary of Rev. David Brainerd, which was based on the memoirs of his son-in-law-to be as he established a missionary effort among the Algonquins. This book was mightily used to inspire the 19th century missionary movement. Jonathan Edwards himself invested the last seven years of his life as a missionary amongst these same Native American tribes at a frontier settlement in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
All the founders and missionaries of the original prototype Baptist mission launched by William Carey in 1792 were Reformed Christians who came under criticism for their “strict Calvinism” and being “followers of Jonathan Edwards” (Life of Andrew Fuller, John Ryland).
The Calvinistic missionaries of the 19th century were without exception initially derided as “dangerous madmen.” Even within their own churches skeptics laughed at the audacity of their ideas discounting any possibility of theirs success. The view of the public was even worse. The British East India Company’s attitude was published in these words:
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 moon struck fanatic! Such a scheme is pernicious, imprudent, useless, harmful, dangerous, profitless, fantastic (20 Centuries of Christianity, p. 279).
Pioneer missionary, William Carey, and his co-workers, were belittled as “fools, madmen, tinkers, Calvinists and schismatics!” Their preaching was stereotyped as “puritanical rant of the worst kind.” (William Carey, S. Pearce Carey, 1923). The Edinburgh Review editorialized: “We see not the slightest prospect of success; we see much danger in making the attempt.”
The nineteenth century missionary movement in particular had an incalculable impact on human history. The rapid advance of Christianity throughout Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands introduced hundreds of illiterate languages to writing; produced libraries of books and pioneered thousands of schools; provided medicine to save millions of lives from tropical diseases; introduced modern methods of agriculture to provide for millions of previously malnourished people. They put an end to cannibalism, human sacrifice, infanticide, the euthanasia of leprosy patients, widow burnings, slavery and numerous other social evils.
Adapted from A World to Win.
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With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?
Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?
Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?
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Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
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Running Time: 145 minutes
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Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.
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Running time: 85 minutes
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“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.
Running time: 105 minutes
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Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
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