Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 22, 1951

You Can Do "Foreign" Work

Repeatedly we have urged that the surest and most certain defense against the wrong kind of "missionary" endeavor is for all the churches to get busy in the right kind of work. Opportunities exist all over the world right now that have not existed before within the memory of living men; they may not come again like this for centuries. It a time to strike while the iron is hot. To let the mistakes and errors of a few earnest souls, whose zeal has led them into dangerous extremes, discourage the rest of us and cause us to stop all efforts is simply unthinkable. Our duty toward God and toward our fellowmen is as sharply set forth in the matter of preaching as it is in the matter of maintaining the purity of the doctrine. Because a few brethren may be in danger of violating God's law in the one respect is certainly no excuse for the rest of the brethren to violate it in the other respect.

We have talked with many brethren these past few months who tell us that the church where they worship is TOO SMALL AND WEAK to undertake the full support of some preacher in a foreign field. They might be able to give $50.00 per month, they tell us, or perhaps even $100.00; but that is a far cry from the $300.00 that would be needed to support a man in Germany or Italy or Africa. Are these small churches to be estopped from supporting the gospel in foreign fields? Are they to be denied the privilege of having part in this great work? Are they to have none of the joy and none of the blessings that will come from such endeavors?

To these brethren we have always given the same answer: Supporting the gospel in a "foreign" field is absolutely the same as supporting the gospel here at home. There are several thousand "small" churches here in America that cannot pay (or think they can't) $300.00 per month to have the gospel preached in America. What do they do, then? Do they refuse to have preaching because they cannot pay that much to support a man? Of course not; they get a man whom they can support. Or, failing to find a man who can give full time to the work for the support they can raise, they support a man part time.

We have word from brother Mack Kercheville of 59 Luna Street, El Paso, Texas, that a Mexican preacher can be supported for about $50.00 a month. There are great opportunities in Mexico; and there are a number of fine Mexican gospel preachers, well trained and anxious to go. Now where is the little church that is interested in "foreign" work? Just how "foreign" must the work be? Is Mexico far enough away? Brother Kercheville will be happy to supply information to any congregation that is interested and put you in touch with the field and the man. We believe such a work would stimulate and strengthen any church. The people would be in contact with their own man, could have him visit them occasionally, and would know what was being done.

Or, if $50.00 per month is still out of reach, we are informed that a Japanese gospel preacher can be supported for TWENTY DOLLARS a month. Now, where is the church interested in "foreign" work that could not send $20.00 per month to support a man?

If neither of these works is appealing, then why cannot the small churches follow the plan outlined by brother Brewer in 1943, which suggestion we have carried in these columns two or three times already:

"If one church is not able to support a missionary, or to supply the funds and equipment for the endeavors of any given field, then let a dozen churches if necessary select the same group of workers and the field in which they are to work, and let each church contribute its pro rata to the sum required by the undertaking in that field. And that sum should be known and understood and agreed upon by all the participants. What more is there to be explained about this plan? It is plain and scriptural, is it not?"

Under this proposal, each church would bear the same relationship to the work; there would be no "centralized control" of the funds; and the needs of the field could be supplied directly by the churches supporting it.

It will be a tragic and awful blunder if the churches generally let the mistakes of a few well-meaning brethren discourage them from a carrying out of their obligations under the Great Commission. No matter how small the church, there are opportunities for preaching the gospel. And where opportunity is, there also is responsibility. If the brethren will awaken to their responsibilities in these matters, we will not see two or three hundred workers being supported by contributions channeled through three or four "Centralized Boards of Elders;" but we will see five or six thousand preachers being supported in "mission" fields, both in America and throughout the world, by twelve or fifteen thousand congregations of Christians.

— F. Y. T.