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Re-Thinking Church Missions


All through the history of the Church of Christ. There has been a ceaseless struggle to maintain the truth that is a quote from Alan McRae Twentieth Century Presbyterian Churchmen and Biblical scholar. He learned that quote firsthand. He was with J Gresham Machen as a student at Princeton Seminary in the late nineteen twenty s and when Mason left Princeton in one across the Delaware River over to Philadelphia to found Westminster Theological Seminary. Mcrae went along with them and a few years later in one thousand nine thirty six when Mason. Who was ousted from the Presbyterian church U S and he formed a new church the Orthodox Presbyterian church well McRae went along with him again. So what was the issue in the Nineteen Thirties and specifically in nineteen thirty six mccray is about this ceaseless struggle to maintain the truth. Will broadly speaking. The issue was liberalism and cultural progressivism This had been at work in the Presbyterian Church USA and many other denominations as well at the time from the eighteen nineties on through the roaring twenties. Mason battled it at Princeton and he was battling it. Within the denomination narrowly. Speaking the issue was missions in nineteen thirty to the fall of nineteen thirty two. A report was issued entitled Rethinking Missions. This report was then published fully in nineteen thirty three no fewer than seven volumes published by Harper again under the title rethinking missions. This project was all funded by John. D Rockefeller it had representatives from seven key positions on mission boards. In seven denominations participated. This document had two major parts. One was based on a fact finding mission and just spoke of the state of missions and the conditions of places three places in particular China and India. Japan were studied the second part raised new ways. That mission should be done and challenge the old ways that missions was being done in a nutshell. What this document wanted to promote was to advance spiritual idealism social brotherhood Economic Welfare and Cultural Unity. The rethinking part means that to think of missions as simply the Great Commission the Proclamation of the Gospel to every tribe to every nation that is too narrow and in fact has been wrong headed we need a different mission. Different approach that represents the realities of the twentieth century so missions needs to be rethought well. This deeply troubled J. Gresham mation. He saw in this and denial of the Gospel and he couldn't believe that not only did his own mission board of the Presbyterian Church U s not only did it not refute this document but it had key representatives. Who are part of it and were promoting it. This was also the time of the missionary. Pearl Buck in nineteen thirty two. She had just won the Pulitzer Prize. She was a very significant figure in American culture and she was a Presbyterian missionary. Who denied the Atonement of Christ the Deity of Christ the authority of Scripture and all of this just perplexed Mason and so he challenged his denomination. He wrote a one hundred and ten page pamphlet to go along with an overture that he introduced in his presbytery and he wanted the Presbyterian Church to refute this document. They didn't and so. In one thousand nine hundred thirty three he formed the independent board of Presbyterian foreign missions that eventually led to his ouster from his denomination and so in Nineteen ninety-six once he was defrocked he just formed a new denomination the Orthodox Presbyterian church six months later January one nineteen thirty seven. Mason died but his commitment to the church and his commitment to the Gospel was evident there in that action of standing against the tide of his denomination and standing for the Gospel. He did not want to rethink missions but rather in the twentieth century he wanted to reaffirm the mission of the Church and the Great Commission. Well that was mentioned in one thousand nine hundred eighty three. And I'm Steve Nichols and thanks for joining us. For Five minutes purchased

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Re-Thinking Church Missions

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