To Whom Do Our Missionaries Preach?

Naturally our missionaries preach the gospel to everybody. But it is sometimes charged by opposers that our aim primarily is to reach adherents of other churches.

By WILLIAM A. SPICER, Former President of the General Conference

Naturally our missionaries preach the gospel to everybody. Every preacher of every denomination is bound to follow Christ's order, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." But it is sometimes charged by opposers that our aim primarily is to reach adherents of other churches.

Let two witnesses of other churches tell it as they have seen it, first in a non-Christian mis­sion field, then in a catholic land of Europe. Our people should keep the facts in mind in order to correct misrepresentation.

BEGINNINGS IN CHINA.—The author of A History of Christian Missions in China--Ken­neth Scott Latourette, of Yale University—tells of our decision in 1901 to open work in China. Our first entry was in South China, as many know, touching the two great cities there, Hong Kong and Canton, to get bases from which to work out into all parts. Profes­sor Latourette notes this : "As a rule the Sev­enth-day Adventists established themselves first in the chief cities, usually where other Protes­tants had long been, and before many years they were to be found in the provinces."—Page 598.

Of course, other. Protestant societies had long held bases in the great cities. But as a matter of fact our next immediate step, the year following, was to plant a station in'a country town far in the interior of Honan, with school and medical and publishing work carried on along with preaching. Then the author, fol­lowing the .facts of record, continues: "Their major emphasis seems to have been upon reach­ing non-Christians, and to this end they not only preached in the large cities but traveled far and wide through the countryside: they were indefatigable evangelists."

In a later chapter, near the close of the his­tory, carrying the story to the years 1918-26, the author says : "The Seventh-day Adventists conducted evangelistic meetings in tents in many centers, even in the Forbidden City in Peking."—Page 776.

IN A CATHOLIC COUNTRY.—A member of the Friends Society (Quakers)' of England, some years ago wrote a book on Protestant missions in Hungary. In it he reported his observation of the work of different churches. Of missions by Methodists he said: "The Methodist congre­gations are chiefly composed of Lutherans, and I am convinced that the Lutherans will be swal­lowed up by the Methodists in Hungary." Of our work in Hungary he wrote :

"The Seventh-day Adventists' movement is simi­larly worthy of notice. . . . In this materially trou­bled country, where the struggle for life must be fought against gigantic difficulties, there are to be found Adventists who consecrate a tenth part of their income in favor of the church. This is the more ad­mirable in that their members are poor and that 70 per cent of them are drawn from Catholicism."— AMBROSE CZAKO, The Future of Protestantism in Hungary.

Thus the history is told by other witnesses than our own. Remember that 70 percent drawn from Catholicism. The advent message is for every creature, for Protestants, Catholics, and non-Christians everywhere.


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By WILLIAM A. SPICER, Former President of the General Conference

January 1947

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