A Plea For Samaria
The last message Jesus gave his followers, just before his ascension was "But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." This scribe wishes to make a plea for SAMARIA. He believes that Acts 1:8 is the divine pattern for the Lord's church as regards her missionary and evangelistic program.
"Beginning at Jerusalem" commanded Jesus, Luke 24:47. What is your Jerusalem? While your scribe resides and labors in Akron, Ohio, this city of 300,000 souls is his Jerusalem. On one momentous occasion, the Jewish High Priest and elders accused the apostles saying, "Behold ye have filled Jerusalem with your teaching," Acts 5:28. Can it be said of us "Ye have filled Jerusalem (your home community), with the apostles' teaching?" Have we made even a tolerably good job of filling our Jerusalem with the apostles' doctrine? Assuming we have done this, have we gone on into all Judea? Now I mean your Judea, or the adjoining county or counties to your home community. Have we sounded out the gospel in its original purity, in all its fullness and in its sublime simplicity in all of our Judea? Our next most urgent responsibility, after having filled our Jerusalem with the apostles' teaching is to sound out the gospel in all of our Judea or the adjoining district or territory. We surely ought to endeavor to do a reasonably good job reaching the thousands now unreached with the pure gospel in "all (of our) Judea."
"AND SAMARIA," is included in the marching orders of our great COMMANDER IN CHIEF! This was the province just north of Judea, and between Judea and Galilee. According to the Apostle John, "The Jews have no dealings with Samaritans," John 4:9. The sinful woman at Jacob's well in Samaria was amazed that Jesus, a Jew, should ask even so slight a favor of her, a woman of hated Samaria, as requesting a drink of water. Many Samaritans were won to an acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah by the woman's testimony "Come, see a man that told me all things that ever I did." (And Jesus really had her told!) John 4:29. Then after hearing Jesus' own message, the Samaritans exclaim, "Now we believe not because of thy speaking: for we have heard for ourselves and know that this is indeed the Savior of the world." John 4:42. When the disciples came Jesus suggests, "Lift up your eyes, and look upon the fields, that they are white already unto harvest." He envisioned a vast and bounteous harvest of souls redeemed for his kingdom from among the despised, hated people of Samaria. They were a mixed race, partly Hebrew and partly Gentile. At this time they had a rival temple on Mt. Gerezim, refusing to worship at the temple in Jerusalem. They were observing the ten commandments and the ceremonies and sacrifices instituted by Moses. In Acts, the eighth chapter, we read of the evangelistic labors of Philip in Samaria. He had amazing success in persuading the multitudes who heard him to believe in Jesus as the Messiah and to obey the gospel. Vast numbers of both men and women who believed were baptized, including Simon the sorcerer.
This lowly scribe is still fully persuaded that we should make a far more consistent effort to evangelize our SAMARIA, namely the regions that lie just beyond our Judea. Then if we have made a worthy effort to reach multitudes of lost souls in our own SAMARIA, and have sounded out the gospel to the mixed multitude out of every nation under heaven within our own state and national borders, then we should keep on going until we have reached the "uttermost parts." But why hop, skip and jump over our SAMARIA to get to the uttermost parts? Why not put forth a more persistent effort to reach the much despised and disliked Samaritans within our own borders?
I notice in the January 26th GOSPEL ADVOCATE, from the facile pen of Thomas Page, SO YOU WANT TO BE A MISSIONARY? I agree with editors Fanning Yater Tant and B. C. Goodpasture "this article deserves a careful reading." Was brother Page in error when he suggested that the same strategy that a certain brother advocates for saving Jews in Jerusalem, should work in any American city, where live tens and hundreds of thousands of Jews? He asks, "Why not undertake a Jewish mission" in this country? There are twice as many Jews in greater New York than in the entire land of Palestine, namely 2,000,000 descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
This scribe wishes to call attention to a very fine piece of missionary work now being carried on in New York, "the most important city in the world, home of the United Nations Assembly." Just recently your humble servant wrote the brethren at the Manhattan Church of Christ meeting at 48 East 80th Street in New York, suggesting that Brother Eddie Grindley call to see my only living brother Harry and his only daughter, my niece "Peggy" and her husband Harold Barkan. Brother Eddie made several efforts to contact them and succeeded in an admirable way. He found my niece in a state of confusion about matters in religion. She, like myself, was raised in an irreligious home. However, both she, her Harold and my brother Harry, gave our Eddie Grindley a reverent, attentive hearing. They have promised to attend worship at the Manhattan Church. In a recent letter, telling me about his noble efforts to reach my own loved ones in New York, he also informs me "Sorry my recent trip hindered me doing the things you wanted me to do for you. I returned to New York City after spending three months trying to raise support for my work here. So far the results do not look too encouraging. I believe there is just about enough support to carry me through March. I hope and pray that more will be forthcoming. Please pray to that effect for me."
This scribe will do more than just pray. As he is able, he intends to send a sacrificial offering to help brother Eddie reach my own kinfolk, besides many others, both Jews and Gentiles in populous New York. May your scribe also humbly suggest to his brethren who are far more favorably situated than he is (laboring in "the rubber manufacturing center of the world" and receiving only a very modest support, where he has been hospitalized thrice in the past three months, incurring extra expenses running into three figures), that they remember our capable missionary, brother Grindley, Christian, whose slogan is "If I can serve you in any way, let me know." He has not asked me to write this, nor did the brethren of our Manhattan Church. Gentle reader, do you want his much needed labor of love among New York's teeming millions to continue after March? If so, find it in your heart to give from the heart a free will offering made payable to Manhattan Church of Christ and marked "FOR GRINDLEY FUND." The address is 48 East 80th St., New York 21, N. Y. Your heart will rejoice, the brethren there will be encouraged to press on because of your fellowship, souls will be saved in this modern SAMARIA, where Jew and Gentile, those representing every nation under heaven, mix and mingle on "the sidewalks of New York." And as Thomas Page so aptly affirms, "If colonizing the Holy Land with gospel preachers will convert Jews in Palestine, then it should work in other places." What say you gentle reader?