Thursday, May 07, 2015

Saphir: the missionary character of the church

Thursday, May 7, 2015
    [Jesus:] “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
    —Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
    Let us remember how very soon the missionary character of the Church was forgotten, and the Church, instead of obeying the commandment of Jesus to go and make disciples of all nations (in fact, that it was chiefly a missionary association), neglected this great and important calling... It is astonishing how a commandment so simple and distinct, and how a duty which you would have imagined would be eagerly greeted by the impulse of gratitude, of affection, and of compassion, was forgotten for so long a time, in the churches of the Reformation especially. Now we are accustomed to hear of mission work among the heathen nations, and to find that a great multitude of people are interested in it, and regard it with respect; but it was only at the commencement of the last century, and with great difficulty, [that] the attention of the Church was roused to this important duty; and even in the... Church of Scotland there were a number of ministers who thought that the state of heathenism was so utterly corrupt, and that there was so much to be done in our own country, that it was altogether a Utopian project to think of converting the idolaters, and that it was not our imperative duty to trouble ourselves with their wretched condition.
    ... Adolph Saphir (1831-1891), Christ and Israel, London: Morgan and Scott, 1911, p. 83-84 (see the book)
    See also Matt. 28:19-20; Ps. 22:27-31; 98:2-3; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-49; Acts 1:8; 2:38-39; 10:45-48; 13:46-47; 28:28; Col. 1:22-23
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, may Your word cover the earth.
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