By any means

August 20, 2020 | Pr. Finny Samuel |

What cost are we willing to pay for the sake of Global evangelism? Are we ready to defend and share the faith in Christ expending our own lives? Such dedication and sacrifice by many missionaries in the past have caused multitudes from otherwise unlikely terrains to experience the love of Christ. Spiritual revivals of all times tell stories of the commitment of the children of God in taking the Word of God to the ends of the earth. Perhaps the most agile history of evangelical mission is the Pentecostal revivals across the globe in the twentieth century. This article examines some of the salient features in the life of a few of the key players who have chosen 'any means possible' to share their faith during the amazing growth of the Charismatic/pentecostal branch of Christianity.

A better word than Abel's blood

Passionate missionaries have risked their lives for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. J. W. Tucker laid down his life for the sake of evangelism in the Belgian Congo. Tucker was an Assemblies of God missionary in the midst of a civil war that broke out in the 1960s. The Congolese rebels who took control of the area that Tucker and family resided and took him as a prisoner, with some others. Eventually, they beat him to death and disposed of his body in a crocodile-infested lake. This action was a precursor for a great revival among the fierce Mangbetu tribe that lived along the river. They believed that they have to listen to Tucker's message as his blood is mixed with the water in their river ​[1]​. As a result, not only did thousands of Mangbetus find the love of Jesus Christ, many have been inspired to dedicate themselves to the Great Commission.

Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly

Most often the Charismatic/Pentecostal history of India is associated with the American Pentecostal Revivals in Topeka and Azusa Street. However, this is not entirely true. There have been similar revival movements in India much before the arrival of American Pentecostal missionaries. One prominent example is the revival in "Mukti Mission" that was led by a Hindu convert Christian woman named Pandita Ramabai. During 1905-07, this revival "resulted in 1,100 baptisms at Ramabai’s school, confessions of sins and repentance, prolonged prayer meetings, speaking in tongues, and the witnessing of some seven hundred of these young women in teams into the surrounding areas, about a hundred going out daily, sometimes for as long as a month at a time. ​[2]​" Ramabai's primary area was social reform of women from the patriarchal oppression in India at that time. She was a pioneer in the education and emancipation of women in India. She was involved in selfless social service to provide shelter, love, and empowerment to outcast children, child widows, orphans, and destitute women. She showed the love of Christ through her actions. Her practical ministry was endorsed by God through the pentecostal signs that were present in the revival in Mukti Mission. Mukti became a center for revival in South India ​[1]​.

Faith alone in practical life

Passion was supplemented by faith in the Pentecostal revival. The missionaries trusted God deeply for finances, health, and provisions leading a true faith lives ​[1]​. They trusted in nothing and none but the empowerment by the Holy Spirit. They were prepared to suffer and ready to face any hardship along the way. The early Pentecostal missionaries took the urgency of evangelism to their hearts. They believed that "As missionaries depended more on God—and less on agencies—they would have more freedom to follow the guidelines of the New Testament.​[1]​" In 1910, at a regular Saturday night prayer meeting, Daniel Berg and Adolf Gunnar Vingren received a prophecy to go to 'Para' to preach the Good News. They had to consult a public library in Chicago to know about this location and learned that it is a northeastern Brazilian coastal state. Without hesitation, they ventured abroad on faith trusting Lord's provision. "In the years that followed, scores of Swedish and American missionaries went to Brazil to assist in what became the biggest Protestant community in the country.​[3]​" Are you ready to trust God's voice and venture out even if the mission field is outside your comfort zone?

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart

Mission-mindedness was evident in the early Pentecostal missionaries. The missionaries and church planters at the beginning of the twentieth century started churches wherever they could hold services ​[1]​. They might have been lacking in education or financial security, but one thing they never lacked is the Love of God. Faith healing, baptisms in the Holy Spirit, and new spiritual experiences ushered back the first-century mission work amidst the unreached. Indigenous churches were established in new mission fields. Bible institutes responded to the growing need for training new evangelists. Many of the early preachers were trained one-to-one mentoring by experienced missionaries. The passion and zeal they had were fueled by the love of God in their hearts.

Missionaries carried an intense burden for evangelism. They were ready to sacrifice, get out of their comfort zone and work selflessly. They did what they could regardless of the circumstances around them. Like the witness before us, can we do anything and everything for the sake of the building of the kingdom of God?

References

  1. 1.
    G. McGee, A. Newberry, & R. Hedlun, Assemblies of God History, Missions, and Governance (Springfield, MI: Global University, 2014).
  2. 2.
    W. Ma, V. M. Karkkainen, & J. K. Asamoah-Gyadu, Pentecostal Mission and Global Christianity (Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2014).
  3. 3.
    T. Nelson, The Century of the Holy Spirit: 100 Years of Pentecostal and Charismatic Renewal, 1901-2001 (Thomas Nelson, 2012).
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