Reflections on Syncretism

Craig Ott and Stephen Strauss, in their book Encountering Theology of Mission, define contextualization as “relating the never-changing truths of scripture to ever-changing human contexts so that those truths are clear and compelling” (266). Contextualization is necessary because of both the sender and the recipient. For the sender, the gospel is always “presented in cultural clothing,” and for the recipient, “when the gospel is presented in ways that ignore the local context, much of culture and life remain unaddressed by biblical truth” (266). The gospel must penetrate deeper than than surface level changes, but must take hold “until it transforms a culture’s inner beliefs, values, feelings, and worldview” (268). This is needed universally: “because all cultures are human, they are all corrupted by sin. So the gospel must also challenge every culture to change and more deeply conform to the will of God” (268). Context includes religious or theological heritage, historical era and current events, social, economic, education group, age, gender and personal circumstances (268–69). We find hints of contextualization in the Old Testament but much more in the New Testament, and in church history in figures like Cyril and Methodius, Roberto de Nobili, and Matteo Ricci.

Once the chapter turns to questions of “Syncretism,” “Traditional Practices,” and “Globalizing Theology,” it seems that there is an inconsistency and a failure to rigorously apply these principals to all cultures. Instead, a western view is still considered default. Earlier in the chapter the authors acknowledge that “well-educated, middle-class Westerners often do not realize the extent to which their education and socioeconomic condition affects the way they perceive both the world and the Word” (268). However, when addressing the danger of syncretism, only “other” theologies are up for consideration and critique. “Advocates of liberation theology, Minjung theology, or theologies of decolonization often seem to find their authority more in economic or political ideologies than in scripture” (275). I know next to nothing about Minjung theology, only a little about theologies of de-colonization, and only slightly  more about liberation theology, so my response may require alteration upon deeper investigation, but it seems to me that Western, American-theology ought also to be in the mix, with warnings against the dangers of syncretism. Evangelicalism in America is far from a “neutral” theology, but may itself be a dangerous form of syncretism. It seems incongruent that “dozens of ‘ethnic theologies’” are viewed as a problem, but that “American-theology” isn’t itself also included as another “ethnic theology” (276). Why is it that when Europeans blend theology and empire to colonize someone else’s land, we find it so easy to abstract their “pure theology” but when the oppressed react to that, their theology is “syncretistic”? Why is it that Jonathan Edwards’s theology is considered normal, Reformed, biblical and orthodox, irrespective of the fact that it was wedded comfortably to his own personal ownership of slaves, but when descendants of those slaves produce a theology in reaction, that “liberation theology” is dangerously syncretistic? Why is it that for Ott and Strauss, of the “five different responses” to culture, celebrating “Independence Day” is a cultural practice that can simply be “adopted” without modification, when for Native Americans and African Americans, that “holiday” represents the worst of American oppression and inequality? This is perhaps a nice litmus test: if an American can without reservation or reflection partake in activities like the 4th of July or “pledging allegiance to the flag,” it looks like deep syncretism is taking place.

A theology, like Jonathan Edwards’s, which uses all the correct and orthodox terminology, betrays its deep syncretism by its egregious ethical shortcomings. What is your doctrine of man, really, if it permits you to enslave another human being made in the image of God? What is your doctrine of salvation, if it doesn’t cause your life to change in setting your slaves free? What is your doctrine of the church if you are willing to baptize converted slaves, only so long as such a baptism has no bearing on their status as property? What is the nature of one’s “love” if he not merely “sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him,” (1 John 3:17) but actually is the one keeping him in utter deprivation? The Apostle John wonders: “how does the love of God abide in him?” What is the nature of your “faith” if you not only fail to give a brother or sister “the things which are needed for the body,” but are actually the one responsible for keeping them in destitution. James wonders: can such faith save you?

Ott and Strauss hint in the right direction: “The more theological exchange that exists between believers from different cultures, socioeconomic groups, ethnicities, and theological traditions, and the more carefully we learn from the theological lessons and mistakes of the past, the less likely it is that a church will slip into syncretism” (276). Indeed, but in order for an “exchange” to truly be an exchange, the critique has to cut with equal sharpness in both directions, otherwise those in the west are left with an under-contextualized gospel, and wide swaths of culture and life “unaddressed by biblical truth” (266).

If “Latin American theologians might have special insight into what the Old Testament prophets teach about justice,” (279) then they need to be heard, not written off as “syncretistic liberation theologians.” And that hearing has to be done with humility and openness, not as one holding some superior theological high ground and passing judgment on “other” “ethnic” theologies, and only accepting those parts that fit neatly into the Western grid.

In words Ott and Strauss point in the right direction: “the key is humility and a true learner’s spirit among all believers” (288). Their citation of Whiteman is apropos: “we do not have a privileged position when it comes to understanding and practicing Christianity” (287). Their reminder is good: “even the ancient creeds and the well-tested confessions of the church are themselves contextual theologies, shaped by their own historical era” (288). Yes and good, but in order for true “global theology” to take root, these ideas will have to push much further than just words, and the critique of evangelicalism will have to become much more radical and thoroughgoing. And most importantly, true Biblical theology, true saving faith, will have to be accompanied by a radical commitment to Biblical obedience, and not stop at merely being satisfied with an orthodox creed.

(Photo by Stephanie McCabe on Unsplash)

Calvin and Missions, Part II: Practice

(see also Calvin and Missions, Part I: Theology)

The reaction to Roman Catholicism is the weakest point in Calvin’s missiology, one that needs correcting as we seek to appropriate his thought for our own day. In practice, however, Calvin exemplified great readiness to spread the gospel beyond Geneva. Refugees who fled to Geneva were trained and then sent back to their home countries. France was a particularly fruitful field, seeing the number of churches grow from 5 to over 2000 in less than 10 years. There are several particular practical means that Calvin used that blossomed into important aspects of missions in his wake.

Vernacular Languages

One is the revival of language work. Instead of forcing Latin on everyone, whether they understood it or not, the reformers recovered the original languages in Greek and Hebrew, and then translated the Scriptures into vernacular languages.

Printing Literature

Another means tied closely to this was the use of the printing press to print and disseminate literature throughout Europe. “English…Italian, Spanish, and even Greek books came from the Genevan printing presses… In this way the printing press became one of the principal missionary tools.”[1]

Theological Education

A third means that fostered missions was the education and training of those who came to Geneva. They didn’t want to send unprepared men back to their home countries, so they trained them in languages and theology. In his Commentary on Acts 13:1, Calvin lays out a Biblical vision for this: “Even in our time God enriches certain churches more than others, so that they may be nurseries for propagating the teaching of the Gospel.”[2] Indeed, Geneva became “a dynamic center or nucleus from which the vital missionary energy it generated radiated out into the world beyond.”[3] It is important to keep in mind that Calvin’s lectures were not “ivory tower” theology lectures. “It was for missionaries in training, for envoys on furlough in Geneva and for other interested parties that Calvin’s lectures were intended; and it is in this light that they are to be read.”[4]

Missiological Influence

All of these elements show up later in the lives of men like Eliot, Edwards and Carey, and those who followed after them. The necessity of the use of means; the need for earnest prayer; translation work; printing; education: all of these elements are beginning to blossom in Calvin’s Geneva, both in teaching and practice. While we would want to think more carefully about “apostolic cessationism” and its tie to the missionary mandate, we would do well do draw from the riches of Calvin’s thought and example in missions.

 

Notes:

Photo by Hannes Wolf on Unsplash

[1] W. Stanford Reid, “Calvin’s Geneva: A Missionary Centre,” Reformed Theological Review 42 (Sept.-Dec. 1983), 68.

[2] Calvin, Acts 1–13, 351.

[3] Philip E. Hughes, “John Calvin: Director of Missions, “in The Heritage of John Calvin: Heritage Hall Lectures 1960–1970, ed. John H Bratt (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973), 45.

[4] Pete Wilcox, “Evangelisation in the Thought and Practice of John Calvin,” Anvil: An Anglican Evangelical Journal for Theology and Mission 12 (1995), 202.

Calvin and Missions, Part I: Theology

“All the Nations”

Calvin’s theology is robust and includes explicitly the scope of the gospel going through all the earth, to every nation. He has a biblical-theological shape to his missiology, seeing progression and fulfillment from the OT prophets and the nation of Israel to Christ, the Apostles, and the church. In his commentary on Acts 13:1, he says, “the calling of Paul ought to carry just as much weight with us as if God openly proclaimed from heaven that the salvation once promised to Abraham and his seed belongs to us today.”[1] From the commentary on Luke 24:47: “At last Christ brings into the open what He had concealed before, that the grace of redemption, brought by Himself, is clearly for all nations, without distinction.”[2] And later on Matthew 28:18: “The Lord orders the ministers of the Gospel to go far out to scatter the teaching of the salvation throughout all the regions of the earth…Thus was that prophecy of Isaiah fulfilled (49:6) and others like it, that Christ was made alight to the gentiles, that He might be the salvation of God to the ends of the earth.”[3] Calvin’s thought has “all the nations” clearly in view.

The Necessity of Means

Through the years many have been skeptical about Calvin’s theology and its influence on missions and evangelism, particularly the doctrine of predestination and election. However, Calvin’s commentaries contain explicit calls to use means for the conversion of the lost, including prayer, and preaching the word. In his commentary on the famous missionary passage of Romans 10, he says of 10:15 “how shall they preach, except they be sent?”: “the Gospel does not fall from the clouds like rain, by accident, but is brought by the hands of men to where God has sent it.”[4] In his section of the Institutes on the Lord’s Prayer, he comments: “We must daily desire that God gather churches unto himself from all parts of the earth.”[5] His theology explicitly calls for the means of preaching and daily prayer for the sake of the salvation of people from “all parts of the earth.”

Is Missions only for “Apostles”?

The blind spot in his missiology has nothing to do with election or predestination, but rather his teaching that the office of Apostle ceased in the 1st century. There were several reasons for this. One popular view of Calvin’s day held that the Apostles had in fact evangelized the whole world during the first century. Thus, every nation had already had a chance to hear and either accept or reject the gospel. “If the message had once been announced, was it necessary to spread it again?”[6]

The more pressing reason for Calvin’s rejection of the ongoing office of Apostles is a polemical one, vis-à-vis the Roman Catholic Church, which held Apostolic succession and authority down through the ages, including the current pope. Against this, Calvin argues that the office has ceased.

The negative implication for his missiology, however, is that the task of going to unreached peoples around the world was part of the office of Apostle. Calvin makes clear distinctions between Apostles who do initial gospel outreach, and pastors who continue the ongoing work of building up the church and preaching the gospel locally.

Romans 15:20 “The duty of an apostle is to disseminate the Gospel where it has not yet been preached, according to our Lord’s command (Mark 16:15) We must pay careful attention to this point, lest we make a general rule of what belongs particularly to the apostolic office… We may, therefore, regard the apostles as the founders of the Church, while the pastors who succeed them have the duty of protecting and also increasing the structure which they have erected… It is proper that this task should be performed by the apostles, for that command was specially given to them…Any attempt to apply this passage to the pastoral office is misplaced.”[7]

Nevertheless, Calvin does make room for the revival of the gift of apostleship in exceptional circumstances. “These three functions [apostles, prophets, evangelists] were not established in the church to be permanent ones, but only for that time during which churches were to be erected where none existed before… Still, I do not deny that the Lord has sometimes at a later period raised up apostles, or at least evangelists in their place, as has happened in our own day… Nonetheless, I call this office ‘extraordinary,’ because in duly constituted churches it has no place.”[8] He actually calls Luther a modern day apostle, in spite of the fact that Luther never traveled beyond Europe in his reformation work. In fact, Calvin himself, “was the only Reformer who actually planned and organized a foreign mission enterprise.”[9]

“The Task is Not Complete”

In spite of all this, Calvin also notes that there is still need for worldwide evangelism: “God commanded the Gospel to be everywhere proclaimed, and as at this day its course is not as yet completed.”[10] David Calhoun captures the tension in Calvin’s position aptly: “If the gospel must be preached to all the world, and the task is not complete, and the office of the apostle is no longer valid, who is going to do it and how?”[11]

This reaction to Roman Catholicism is the weakest point in Calvin’s missiology, one that needs correcting as we seek to appropriate his thought for our own day.

 

Notes:

Photo by Lena Bell on Unsplash

[1] John Calvin, The Acts of the Apostles 1–13, vol. 6 of Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries, trans. John W. Fraser and W.J.G. McDonald, ed. David W. Torrance and Thomas F. Torrance (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1965), 350.

[2] John Calvin, A Harmony of the Gospels Matthew, Mark and Luke Vol. III and the Epistles of James and Jude, vol. 3 of Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries, trans. A.W. Morrison, ed. David W. Torrance and Thomas F. Torrance (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1972), 246–7.

[3] Ibid., 251. See also his commentary on Isaiah 12:4–5: “The work of this deliverance will be so excellent, that it ought to be proclaimed, not in one corner only, but throughout the whole world… he shows that it is our duty to proclaim the goodness of God to every nation.” John Calvin, Commentary on the Prophet Isaiah, vol. I, vol. 7 of Calvin’s Commentaries, trans. William Pringle (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003), 402, 403.

[4] John Calvin, The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Romans and to the Thessalonians, vol. 8 of Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries, trans. Ross Mackenzie, ed. David W. Torrance and Thomas F. Torrance (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1961), 231.

[5] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, III.20.42, ed. John T. McNeil, trans. Ford Lewis Battles, Library of Christian Classics, vols. 20–21 (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1960), 905.

[6] Amy Glassner Gordon, “The First Protestant Missionary Effort: Why Did It Fail?” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 8, no. 1 (January 1984), 13.

[7] John Calvin, Romans, 313. On the clear distinction between Apostles, evangelists, and pastors, see also his commentary on Ephesians 4:11 in John Calvin, The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians, vol. 11 of Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries, trans. T.H.L. Parker, ed. David W. Torrance and Thomas F. Torrance (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1961), 178–80, and also commentary on 1 Corinthians 12:28: “Some of the offices to which Paul is referring are permanent, while others are temporary. The permanent offices are those which are necessary for the government of the Church. The temporary ones, on the other hand, are those which were designed, at the beginning, for the founding of the Church, and the setting up of the Kingdom of Christ; and which ceased to exist after a while… The Lord appointed the apostles, so that they might spread the Gospel throughout the whole world… In that respect, they differ from the pastors, who are bound, so to speak to their own churches. For the pastor does not have a mandate to preach the Gospel all the world over, but to look after that church, that has been committed to his charge.” John Calvin, The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, vol. 9 of Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries, trans. John W. Fraser, ed. David W. Torrance and Thomas F. Torrance (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1960), 270–271.  On “evangelists,” see also commentary on Acts 21:8 in John Calvin, The Acts of the Apostles 14–28, vol. 7 of Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries, trans. John W. Fraser and W.J.G. McDonald, ed. David W. Torrance and Thomas F. Torrance (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1966), 194.

[8] Calvin, Institutes, IV.3.4, 1057.

[9] Samuel M. Zwemer, “Calvinism and the Missionary Enterprise,” Theology Today 7 (July1950), 211.

[10] John Calvin, commentary on Micah 4:3, Commentaries on the Twelve Minor Prophets, vol. III, vol. 14 of Calvin’s Commentaries, (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003), 265.

[11] David B. Calhoun, “John Calvin: Missionary Hero or Missionary Failure?” Presbyterion 5 (Spring 1979), 24.

Review: Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret

Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret by Hudson Taylor

Stirring – the good side of the Keswick Movement

I picked this up in anticipation of the 2014 Desiring God Pastor’s Conference, and John Piper’s biographical message on Hudson Taylor. (as an aside, I highly recommend the audio from that conference – the message on Hudson Taylor was one of the best evaluations of Keswick Theology I’ve ever heard).

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have a wariness to anyone promoting a “secret” to spirituality, and am not favorably disposed to the Keswick movement or their theology, but I read with an open mind, and this book stirred my soul.

It is the life story of Hudson Taylor, the man who founded the China Inland Mission, and advanced the gospel from the coasts of China to the unreached regions further in. It was written by his son, and emphasizes not just the facts of Taylor’s life, but his inward spiritual experiences as he went through them. The book is filled with excerpts from his journal and letters and you really get to see the innermost struggles and triumphs of the man.

Taylor was similar to George Muller, in that he did not ask people for money, and refused to take out debt. This was a firm conviction of his:

“I could not think that God was poor, that He was short of resources, or unwilling to supply any want of whatever work was really His.” (82)

God did prove in Taylor’s life and the CIM, that His arm is not short, and He is more than able to provide whatever is needed. There are multiples stories of remarkable providence, in which just the right amount of money came in for the need, and was on its way even before they prayed. One time, George Muller himself sent money over to the mission!

Taylor believed strongly in the power of prayer:

“We do well to remember that this gracious God, who has condescended to place His almighty power at the command of believing prayer, looks not lightly on the bloodguiltiness of those who neglect to avail themselves of it, for the benefit of the perishing…” (118)

Unlike other more extreme figures in the Keswick movement (Rees Howells, for example), there is no mysticism, or listening to “voices,” or growing out a beard to appease God. This is just straightforward: seeking, trusting, and serving God with your whole heart.

What God accomplished in and through this man and the CIM is incredible. His life is a great example for us. I was stirred greatly reading this book, and I highly recommend it.

Review: Bruchko

Bruchko by Bruce Olson

From Minnesota to the Jungles of Columbia

This book has been on my radar for awhile. It is frequently recommended on lists of books on “missions,” and now I know why!

It tells the story of Bruce Olson: how a white boy from Minnesota ended up in the jungles of South America. It starts with the story of how he came to Christ from a Lutheran background. His testimony is heartwarming, and I can especially relate with the details, being from Wisconsin, and having a Lutheran background myself. He started attending an evangelical church, and then heard a missionary preach at a missions conference. He wrestled through whether he was “called” to the mission field, and finally decided to fly to Venezuela, planning to meet up with a missionary there.

Once there, things did not go the way he planned, and before long he was without friends, money, or direction, but God kept directing him. Seeing God’s providence and care for him in this time is wonderful, and stirs up faith in a good and faithful God who takes care of His children.

Bruce hears of the Motilone tribe and decides to try to contact them – no one else had done so. He plunges into the jungle, and the rest of the book is taken up detailing his adventures in meeting and assimilating with different tribes, learning their languages, earning their trust and eventually their love, and preaching the gospel to them. The story of his relationship with Bobby is moving and inspiring. Many parts read quickly, like an adventure or a mystery. I found the book very hard to put down, and would often keep reading several more chapters just to finish a certain segment of the story.

There is much to stir theological thought as well, particularly in the area of how to communicate the gospel cross-culturally, without just communicating your own cultural ideas. If God intends to be known and worshiped by every people group, what is the essence of what we communicate, and what is the American trappings of the way we currently understand it? These are the types of questions this book raised for me. The way Bruchko finally explained the gospel to the Motilones using stories and images from their own culture is very thought-provoking. Some of his methods would be considered controversial, I’m sure, nevertheless the effect they had was remarkable.

I loved this book. It is in the same vein as Shadow of the AlmightyThrough Gates of SplendorReckless Abandon, and Peace Child. I need books like this to inspire me, to remind me that the mission is not yet finished, and to bring real stories of real people directly to my mind. I forget so easily, about the billions of real souls that will not hear the gospel unless someone goes to them. I highly recommend this book as a means to stirring up your soul toward that end.

Like Some People Pack T-Shirts

I just returned from a 10 day trip to the Dominican Republic and Haiti.  Every time I go on a trip, even if it’s just a day trip to the in-laws, I carefully plan which books to bring.  Some people are meticulous about the clothes that they pack, whether the outfits will match, and making sure they are prepared for any and every weather condition.  That’s how I am when it comes to the books I bring.

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I debated how many to bring, I tried to calculate the perfect amount of material, so that I wasn’t left without something to read, but didn’t overpack.  Here’s what I ended up with:

I was partway through Bruchko, Gospel and Law, and Edwards “True Virtue” when I left on the trip.  By the end of the trip, all I had left was Volume 1, and I started Justification by Faith Alone on the plane trip back.

You’re Crazy

Some might think this is ridiculous.  What is the purpose of your trip, to do short term missions or to read books?  How much space did you use up schlepping your mini library halfway through the Caribbean?

For starters, I had two extended layovers, while the rest of the group was on another flight.  I wanted to make the best use of the time.  I also determined that I would never sacrifice relational time with people for the sake of reading a book.  At one point in the trip, after an hour long conversation, my brother-in-law looked at me and said, “I suppose I’m keeping you from reading, huh?”  “Not at all,” I replied. “I can read anytime.  When there are people to connect to, that is the priority.”  Nevertheless, there are dozens of opportunities every day to read, if only one has a book available.  The same brother-in-law borrowed two books at one point in the trip 🙂

At one point, we trekked from San Juan, D.R., to Dajabon, D.R. along the “International Highway”, DR-45.  7 of us in a small SUV, so the front seat was coveted, for the leg room, as well as the views.  When I finally got my turn in the front seat, I pulled out Volume 1, and immediately was heckled.  “No books allowed in the front seat.”  “Only if it’s not a theology book,” another chimed in.  Technically, The Nature of True Virtue is more philosophy than theology.  I protested, and was allowed my combination of sight-seeing, and wading through Edwards.

A Running Commentary

I found some enjoyable providences while reading during the trip.  Like when Pastor Marty preached a message on December 8th on Lydia from Acts 16, emphasizing that she was a very sincere and religious lost woman, until the Lord “opened her heart.”

Then I read in True Virtue, Chapter 4 on “Self-Love,” and Ch. 5 on “Natural Conscience and Moral Sense,” how people can “approve of true virtue, and disapprove and condemn the want of it, and opposition to it; and yet without seeing the true beauty of it.” (p. 134 in Volume 1, Banner of Truth)

This whole section, and really the entire work as a whole, develops philosophically how noble and sincere and seemingly virtuous a person can be, yet without any true love for God, and thus no true virtue, as was Lydia.  The parallels were unmistakable.

As I read throughout the trip, I saw several other instances where what I read related directly to what we were experiencing.

I had just read this in A Sweet and Bitter Providence:

At one level, the message of the book of Ruth is that the life of the godly is not a straight line to glory, but they do get there. The life of the godly is not an Interstate through Nebraska but a state road through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee. There are rockslides and precipices and dark mists and bears and slippery curves and hairpin turns that make you go backward in order to go forward. But all along this hazardous, twisted road that doesn’t let you see very far ahead, there are frequent signs that say, “The best is yet to come.” (99-100)

Then we embarked on our memorable journey on Highway 45 from San Juan to Dajabon through the mountains.  It was such a vivid picture and brought the point home with remarkable significance.  I have never been on a mountain road so steep, so winding, and so treacherous as DR-45.  And yet, I could see God’s hand in it every step of the way.  Thanks Pastor John.

A Grand Finale

We were in the airport in Santo Domingo, checking my backpack through security.  It went through the x-ray conveyor and was flagged as suspicious.  It must have been a couple of souvenirs in a pouch or something.  The security agent started going through the bag, and then he got to the books.  He proceeded to take each book, one at a time, and flip through the pages.  I guess to see what I was hiding in them.  I almost said said something when he got to Volume 1, to the effect of “that’s a good one!” but I wasn’t up for attempting it in spanish.

In the end, the picture you see at the top, was reproduced on the counter, until the agent pronounced it all clear, and let me on my way.

Ah well, such is what happens when you pack books for a trip like other people pack t-shirts.

 

Are None of Us Bound to Go?

What? Out of all these saved ones, no willing messengers to the heathen! Where are his ministers? Will none of these cross the seas to heathen lands? Here are thousands of us working at home. Are none of us called to go abroad? Will none of us carry the Gospel to regions beyond? Are none of us bound to go? Does the Divine Voice appeal to our thousands of preachers and find no response so that again it cries, “Whom shall I send?” Here are multitudes of professing Christians making money, getting rich, eating the fat and drinking the sweet—is there not one to go for Christ? Men travel abroad for trade—will they not go for Jesus? They even risk life amid eternal snows—are there no heroes for the Cross?

A stirring call to missions from Charles Spurgeon, found in “The Divine Call for Missionaries,” no. 1351, preached April 22, 1877.