MISSIONARIES—Why send missionaries to other lands?
Why do Christian churches send missionaries to other lands, when they already have their own religions and when there are so many people who still need to be reached here in this country?
There are three main reasons why we should support foreign missions.
The first is simply that Christ commanded it. The Great Commission, which He gave to His disciples, explicitly commands: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). He also said: “Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the Earth” (Acts 1:8).
Whether we understand fully the reason for the Commission or not, or even whether we agree with it or not, is therefore beside the point. Since the Lord Jesus commanded it, true Christians must and will try to follow it, either by going themselves or by supporting those who do go. “If a man love me, he will keep my words,” Jesus said (John 14:23).
The second reason for foreign missions is that all men desperately need to know the way of salvation. The Bible is exceedingly clear in its emphasis that all men are sinful and rebellious against God and therefore are lost and need to be saved. “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God… Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God” (Romans 3:11, 19).
It is true that there are many who do not have the Bible and many who know very little about the true God and His will; in fact, there are no two individuals anywhere who are exactly “equal” in terms of their opportunities to know God. Nevertheless, all men have at least some “light” (in nature, in history, in their own consciences) which points them to God, but they have all rejected or ignored it. “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them: for God hath shewed it unto them… so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20).
Therefore, all men urgently need to learn how to be saved. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” (Romans 10:13-15).
The third reason for foreign missions is that only Jesus Christ can meet the need that each man has for salvation. “He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (I John 2:2). Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6).
Jesus Christ is uniquely the eternal Son of the only true and living God. His atoning death on the cross paid the price of redemption for all who will come to Him in faith. “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Since there is no other God, no other Savior, and no other way of salvation, it is imperative that Christians do all they can to confront all men everywhere with the offer of free forgiveness and eternal life to all who will receive Christ as personal Savior. There have been multitudes of individuals, “of all nations, and kindred's, and people, and tongues” (Revelation 7:9), who have responded to this invitation and who gladly testify that Christ has indeed met their need for both present confidence in living and assurance of eternal salvation. Christ alone is sufficient, for people of all ages, nations, and classes, and men from all types of cultural and religious backgrounds do respond to Him.
People in our own country have exactly the same great need of salvation as those in other lands, and Christians should earnestly try to lead their friends and acquaintances to Christ. At the same time, it is obvious that they have already had many opportunities to hear the gospel. Bibles are easily available in this country, gospel-preaching churches are available, radio broadcasts, Christian literature, Christian friends, etc. Surely, no one in this country has even the semblance of an excuse for not being a Christian, though admittedly relatively few have really accepted Christ. If anything, therefore, there is much greater need and urgency for foreign missions that even for home missions and evangelism though both are essential activities of all true Christian churches.
Author: Henry Morris and Martin Clark, excerpted from The Bible Has the Answer, published by Master Books, 1987.
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