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    April 29, 1897

    “What Can He Say?” The Signs of the Times, 23, 17.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In a meeting of the Foreign Missionary Society of the American M. E. Church, a returned missionary to Persia, who was described as “full of enthusiasm for his work,” spoke as follows:SITI April 29, 1897, page 2.1

    I am often asked by the Persians how it is, if the Christian religion be the pure Gospel I claim, that my nation, Christian America, has a far longer list of crimes than Persia? What can I reply? What can I do but bow my head in shame, and raise my heart in prayer to God to lift the cloud from rum cursed America? O, this Christian nation will have to rouse from her slumber, and sweep this evil from her borders, ere she can hold out pure hands to other nations, asking them to accept her Bible and her God!SITI April 29, 1897, page 2.2

    A man who would have any trouble in answering such a question as that asked by the Persians, ought to get better acquainted with the Gospel before going out as a missionary. He should learn that the Gospel is “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth,” no matter in what land he dwells. He should be able to assure the questioners that the Gospel is an individual matter, and that therefore America is not, never was, and never will be Christian, and that it is not possible that any nation on earth, as a nation, can be Christian.SITI April 29, 1897, page 2.3

    The fact that America “has a far longer list of crimes than Persia,” is all the evidence that is needed to show that it is not Christian; for Christianity means freedom from sin. America is no more a Christian nation than Persia is.SITI April 29, 1897, page 2.4

    But it would doubtless be most galling to the missionary’s “patriotism” to make such an answer as that. And that is the trouble with too many missionaries, both home and foreign. A mistaken loyalty to their native country interferes with their loyalty to the Gospel. If they could but learn that true Christianity is only a sojourner on this earth,—a pilgrim and a stranger even in the land of his birth,—and that his citizenship is in heaven, they would not be embarrassed by such questions as were asked the missionary to Persia. The only country in which they would have a special interest, as a country, would be the heavenly country.SITI April 29, 1897, page 3.1

    But would not the same charge against the Gospel remain unanswered, namely, that it can not be as pure as is claimed, or else it would have more influence in diminishing crime in America?—Not by any means. The Gospel cleanses from sin and crime all who accept it, and no others. If it were less pure than it is, it would be more generally accepted; but then it would be of no use. The Lord himself gave no warrant for supposing that the majority of men in any nation would accept the Gospel, but, on the contrary, warned his followers that they must always be comparatively few in number, and must suffer persecution.SITI April 29, 1897, page 3.2

    The Gospel knows nothing about natural or artificial boundaries on this earth. It is to be “to all people.” It knows nothing about states and governments. Its mission is to “every creature.” Kingdoms may rise and fall, nations may extend their boundaries, and others may be absorbed, but none of these things concern the ambassadors for Christ. They are the representatives of no country but heaven, and are accredited to no earthly government, but to the world as a whole, and to the whole world considered as individuals, who are to be transformed by it, and made to live a different life as individuals. When all of Christ’s ambassadors fully realize this truth, then will their mission be clothed with a dignity and power befitting its exalted origin. E. J. W.SITI April 29, 1897, page 3.3

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