MurKeyt 09-10-147

The Key to the Missionary Problem

A Passionate Call to Obedience in Action


Andrew Murray

CLC Publications  ISBN 978-0-87508-401-5



The well known South African pastor and devotional writer was not able to attend the 1900 World Missionary Conference but wrote a major response to the two-volume set of papers submitted in preparation for the Conference.  He concludes that the army of missionaries is so small because of lack of heart on the part of church members, so little enthusiasm for the King.  He asks how the Church can be aroused to the work God has destined for her.


In the first chapter he responds to the papers submitted to the Conference.  In the second chapter he investigates the situation of the Church in regard to missions.  In subsequent chapters he draws lessons from three great missionary movements of the past century.  The Moravians were motivated by their great love for Christ.  The Church Missionary Society in England was propelled by the deepening spiritual life.  Hudson Taylor illustrated the power of believing prayer.  Next he examines the power of the Holy Spirit in the Church at Pentecost.  Final chapters examine the personal situation of Christians, the challenge for pastoral leadership, and the priority of prayer.


Chapter 1.  Responses to the Missionary Conference

"The problem is…not how to train new missionaries, but how to kindle missionary passion in every person." (Dr. Cuthbert Hall)


"Until our pastors are ready to back this enterprise, there will never be a missionary spirit adequate to the needs of this generation." (S. Earl Taylor)


"…it is the faithfulness of the local pastor, translating the special appeal into an individual message to his own people, that is, after all, the secret of success in foreign missions." (Rev. D. S. MacKay)


"It is one thing for a minister to be an advocate and supporter of missions: it is another and very different thing for him to understand that missions are the chief end of the Church, and therefore the chief end for which his congregation exists. …  He must learn how to lead the congregation on to make the extension of Christ's kingdom the highest object of its corporate existence." (15, Andrew Murray)


"Each youth worker should make it his first aim to inspire in every child real love for Christ and for the unevangelized." (18, Mrs. T. B. Hargrove)


Chapter 2.  Missions: A Test of the State of the Church

What can be done to so stimulate the spiritual life of the Church that the missionary cause shall have all the hearty enthusiasm and support which it deserves?


Why is the church so unfaithful?  Because of the low spiritual state of the Church as a whole.  The chief symptoms are worldliness and lack of prayer. (28-9)


Chapter 3.  Love to Christ as Motivation

The Moravians took their inspiration from Isaiah 53:10-12, making our Lord's suffering the spur to their activity: "To win for the Lamb that was slain, the reward of His sufferings." (34)  "They counted the service of God the one thing to live for, and everything was made subservient to this." (36) 


The first missionaries were sent out in 1732 with only a few shillings and faith in God and his care.  Their instructions were to "see and be led of the Spirit in all things." (44) 


"In the first twenty years of its existence, the Moravian Church actually sent out more missionaries than the whole Protestant Church had done in 200 years." (46) 


"…the majority of men are guided more by emotions than by intellect: the heart is the great power by which they are meant to be influenced and molded." "…the more intensely the fire of God's love burns in the heart, the more surely will it burn into those around us." (48) 


The Moravians were detached from the world and its hopes.  They were literally strangers and pilgrims on earth and they had learned to endure hardships. (49) Their power came from the intensity of their united and personal devotion to Jesus Christ.  (50) 


Three great principles: (52)

  1. the Church exists only for extending the kingdom,
  2. every member must be trained to take part in it, and
  3. the personal experience of the love of Christ is the power that fits for this.


Chapter 4.  The Deepening of the Spiritual Life

"In the long run the spiritual tone of the missionaries and the mission congregation abroad cannot be higher than that of the home church out of which it was born."  "Great advances in missions are always connected with a deep revival of spiritual life, and a higher devotion to the Lord Jesus." (55)


"The only way to waken true, deep, spiritual, permanent missionary interest is not to aim at this itself so much as to lead believers to a more complete separation from the world, and to an entire consecration  of themselves, with all they have, to their Lord and His service." (55)


"God's demand upon every one of His servants is surrender with no conditions, no terms." (58, Dr. Handley Moule)


"All failure in caring, giving, praying and living for missions is owing to a weak, superficial spiritual life." (63)


"The missionary problem is a personal one.  Seek the deepening of the spiritual life and missionary consecration will follow." (64)


Chapter 5.  The Power of Believing Prayer

"We have given too much attention to methods and too little to the source of power--the filling with the Holy Ghost." (66, Hudson Taylor)


"Hudson Taylor's experience shows us how God trains a man to believe in Him, to wait on Him, to give himself up entirely to His will and service, however great the difficulty may be.  The Church needs to learn the lesson, our missionary meetings and our mission sermons must aim at teaching that, as individuals give themselves wholly to God, He will equip them for being used in the service of His kingdom. …And it requires close communion with God, and a full surrender to His guidance, to fit us to do His work." (77) 


"…the missionary problem is a personal one.  Hudson Taylor's training for fellowship with God was an intensely personal one.  The missionary problem…is only to be solved by each believer giving himself personally to the work…  We want to train every believer to take such an interest in the progress of the world of God's kingdom that he may feel and hear the burden of its great need.  Only thus can he realize the impossibility of its being done without God's own power, and he may learn to cry for more men and money, for the Spirit's power, and for the ingathering of souls." (79-80)


Chapter 6.  The Church of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit

"If we take as a basic premise that it is possible to evangelize the world in this generation--in view of the achievements of the Christians of the first generation--then it is a terrible condemnation of the Church of our day." (81)


"…pastors and congregations must be led to study the pentecostal pattern.  We should be content with nothing less than an equal devotion to the work of making Christ known everywhere."  "The only power to evangelize the world in this generation lies in knowing what Pentecost means and to have its faith and its Spirit." (82)


"The first coming of the Holy Spirit in power was to a prepared people.  For the Church in our day to receive the Spirit in Pentecostal power, we need the same preparation.  This involves giving up and forsaking all that hinders, an emptying and a cleansing of ourselves and a thirsting, waiting, and entire surrender to Christ.  Then the blessing of the Spirit's power surely comes." (83) 


"The missionary problem is a personal one.  Every believer, in receiving the love of Christ into his heart, has taken in a love that reaches out to the whole world.  The great commission rests on every member of the Church." (90) 


Chapter 7.  The Missionary Problem is a Personal One

"…every believer has been saved with the express purpose that he should make the saving of other souls the main, the supreme end of his existence in the world." (94) 


"The new life…is a life of love; how can it manifest itself but in loving as God loves, in loving those whom God loves?" (95) 


Love is the inward law of our new nature.  In the surrender to a life of close following, our spiritual nature can be strengthened.  (96)


"The one and supreme end of the Church is to bring the world to Christ." (96)


"It is simply a matter of being near enough to Him to hear His voice, and so devoted to Him and His love as to be ready to do all His will." (100)


Chapter 8.  The Responsibility of Leadership in Missions

"To the pastor belongs the privilege and responsibility for the foreign missionary problem." (103)


This responsibility rests on four principles:

  1. Missions are the chief end of the Church.
  2. The chief end of the ministry is to guide the Church in this work.
  3. The chief end of the preaching to a congregation ought to be to train it to help to fulfill her destiny.
  4. The chief end of every minister in this connection ought to be to fit  himself thoroughly for this work.


"Nothing else than what God's eternal purpose and Christ's dying love is can be the goal of the Church." "Each congregation is meant to be a training class…."  (104) 


The pastor needs to study three things: the world in its sin and misery, Christ in His dying love, and the Church as the link between the two.  (106)  "The minister must study it, so he will learn to preach in new power--missions, the great work, the supreme end, of Christ, of the Church, of every congregation, of every believer, and especially of every minister." (109)


Chapter 9.  A Call to Prayer and Contrition

"Our only hope is to apply ourselves to prayer.  Prayer, more prayer, much prayer, very special prayer, should first of all be made for the work to be done in our home churches on behalf of foreign missions.  That is indeed the one great need of the day."


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