The letter that follows is not a journalistic gimmick; it is an actual letter written by the author, a missionary under The Presbyterian Church U.S.A., in response to a request from his field leader in a Latin American country. .
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Principles of missionary strategy and tactics remain unchanged from the days of the apostles. We do well to remind ourselves of these by diligent review of the Scriptures. Methods, however, have changed so vastly that the greater missionary advances are now being accomplished by larger organizations and societies, rather than by individuals and small groups.
The Apostle Paul told the Christians in Galatia: “Ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (3:29). Since he addressed them as individuals (“Ye”), he was referring to a unity of persons. Since he affirmed that they were “in Christ,” he was restricting this unity to a favored group, not to the world in general.
Douglas Webster, missions professor at Selly Oaks College, Birmingham, England, in his article, “Down With Heroes” (Evangelical Missions Quarterly, Summer, 1967), examines the current rash of missionary biography and recommends that missionaries be taken off their literary pedestal.
How can we work both with indigenous churches in other lands and (with) our own missionaries there, preserving the proper freedom and initiative of both? Thus a major mission board formulated a key question discussed at a convocation of missionaries.1
A few years ago at a student missionary rally an earnest young American Christian rose to his feet to ask several very searching questions of the missionary speaker concerning some of the things he had seen on the field during a visit to Africa.