Several recent articles in United States magazines have given the impression that the day of missions is nearly over, and that there is an anti-missionary spirit on the mission fields of the world today. Strong proofs have been cited in support of this notion. Nonetheless, as a Mexican who has served with a mission board for five years and has traveled in nearly every country of Latin America, I do not believe these articles give a correct analysis of the situation—for my continent, at least, and probably for others throughout the world.
Neglect Of Stewardship
Missions have been in Latin America for about one hundred years. At the beginning of their work there, missionaries hesitated to teach the people Christian stewardship, for two reasons: (1) there existed unfavorable circumstances created by the domination of the Roman Catholic church and its exploitation of the ignorance and earnings of the people, and (2) the missionaries wished to emphasize the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace and not by works. In many places, therefore, offerings were not taken, mention was not made of the people’s responsibility to give for the work, and funds for the operation of national churches were consequently having to be supplied through the missionary’s own mysterious sources.
Sadly enough, this policy was pursued for many years with the result that churches in time became accustomed to depending upon missions for their own support. However, as social and economic situations changed, and new missionary leaders appeared who realized the Christian irresponsibility in not teaching new believers the privilege of giving their first fruits to the Lord, there began a new movement which might well be called the plan of responsibility for the ...1
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