December 4th, 1988 @ 8:15 AM
THE EVANGELIZATION OF THE WORLD
Dr. W. A. Criswell
12-4-88 8:15 a.m.
We welcome the throngs of you who share this hour on radio and on television. You are now a part of our dear First Baptist Church in Dallas, and this is the pastor bringing a message on The Evangelization of the World; on foreign missions, particularly about the wonderful missionary in whose name and in whose honor the foreign mission week of prayer is offered before God, and in whose memory our mission offering is offered before our Savior.
As a background text, since I am preaching through the Gospel of John, I read the words of our Lord in which He encompasses the compassionate remembrance of God for the whole world: John 17:20-23:
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also who shall believe on Me through their word;
That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.
And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one:
I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world, the whole world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved Me [them], as Thou hast loved Me.
The memorable and sweet privilege one time came to me: when I was a guest in the home of the Robert Sherer’s missionaries in Kobe, Japan, and on an afternoon, I asked the sweet couple if I could be left alone on the front porch of their missionary house. It was about halfway up the slope of a steep mountain that went down to the bay and the harbor of the city of Kobe. And I sat there on the porch and relived the life of Lottie Moon, who had died Christmas Eve in 1912, in that harbor in Kobe, Japan.
Sometime after that, I went to Crewe, Virginia. And there in the cemetery of Crewe, Virginia, I knelt down and prayed at the grave of Lottie Moon, our missionary to China. And as I think of the life of that wonderful woman, there are three things in the beginning years and three things in the concluding years that press upon my heart.
One, in the beginning: she was born in 1840, in Albemarle County, in the heart of Virginia, close to Monticello. The county seat town is Charlottesville. And Charlottesville is home of the University of Virginia. In 1859, attending a girls’ school in Charlottesville, she was converted under the ministry of the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Charlottesville and a professor in the girls’ school that she attended. His name was the far-famed and illustrious John A. Broadus. She was won to Christ through his ministries, and was baptized by him into the fellowship of that First Baptist Church of Charlottesville.
In 1873, she and Miss Safford were teaching in a girls’ school in Cartersville, Georgia. Dr. Haddon, who was pastor of the First Baptist Church in Cartersville, at an associational meeting; brought a message concerning world missions, and made an appeal for volunteers to represent our Christ to the lost of the world. And in response to that appeal, Miss Lottie Moon and Miss Safford went forward and gave themselves as missionaries and emissaries of Christ to nations that know not our Lord. And in Christmas of that year, of 1873, she began her work in Dengzhou,, in Shandong province, in northern China. Thus began the work and ministry of Lottie Moon on the foreign field.
Now, three incidents in her life: in 1887, she wrote an appeal, an article for the Foreign Mission Journal of the Southern Baptist Convention, published in Richmond, Virginia. And in that article she made an appeal for the organization of our Baptist women to support the foreign mission enterprise. And I now quote from the article that she wrote in that foreign mission journal in 1887, quote:
I am convinced that one of the chief reasons our Southern Baptist women do so little is the lack of organization. The world is the field and women’s work for Christ is wherever there is a home to be reformed, or a soul to be redeemed.
Until the women of our Southern Baptist Convention are thoroughly aroused, we shall continue to go on in our present hand-to-mouth system. We shall continue to see mission stations so poorly manned that missionaries break down from overwork, loneliness, and isolation. We shall continue to see promising fields un-entered and old stations languishing.
I wonder how many of us really believe that, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." A woman who accepts that statement of the Lord Jesus Christ as the fact and not as impractical idealism will make giving a principle in her life. She will lay aside sacredly not less than one-tenth of her income as the Lord’s money, which she should no more dare touch for personal use than she would steal.
How many are there among our women – alas, alas! – who imagine that because Jesus paid it all they need pay nothing, forgetting that the prime object of their salvation was that they should follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ in bringing back a lost world to God, and so aid in bringing the answer to the petition our Lord taught His disciples, ‘Thy kingdom come.’
In this same appeal, in that same article, she also suggested that Southern Baptist women institute a week of prayer and offering, and that this be the week before Christmas. Here are her words, I quote it:
Need it be said why the week before Christmas is chosen? Is not the festive season, when families and friends exchange gifts in memory of the gift laid on the altar of the world for the redemption of the human race, the most appropriate time to consecrate a portion from both abounding riches and scant poverty to send forth the good tidings of great joy into all the world?
That was in 1887.
In 1888, in the following year, and in keeping with that appeal by missionary Lottie Moon from Dengzhou, China, there gathered in May of 1888 the women of our Southern Baptist Convention in Richmond, Virginia; and they organized Woman’s Missionary Union. Our own Minnie Slaughter Veal was an emissary and a representative from our dear church at that organizational meeting in 1888. And then that Christmas was the first foreign mission offering for the redemption of the world. That began Woman’s Missionary Union, that began the Lottie Moon week of prayer for foreign missions, and that began the Lottie Moon offering for the support of our missionaries around the world.
Incident number two from her life: while she was a student in the girls’ school in Albemarle County, there was a brilliant young professor named Dr. Crawford H. Toy, who fell in love with the gifted and vivacious girl. Crawford H. Toy was doubtless the most brilliant scholar that our Southern Baptist Zion has ever produced. He was the first addition to the original faculty of four of our Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. And for ten years he was the brilliant teacher in that seminary. But in those days, Crawford H. Toy went to Germany, and there in his studies was introduced to higher criticism. The substance of the higher critical method is that the Bible is a human book just like any other book; it’s not the Word of God as such, it’s full of fable, and legend, and myth.
I hold in my hand a book by Dr. Crawford H. Toy. There’s not a theological library in the world that does not have that book; it’s a part of the International Critical Commentary, and this one is on Proverbs. From the introduction, Crawford H. Toy wrote:
The name Moses stands for legislators of all periods. There’s no such man as Moses; it’s just a name that stands for theological legislation. Large parts of the Books of Amos, and Isaiah, and Micah, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, were certainly not written by those prophets. And Jonah and Daniel had nothing to do with the books that are named after them. And the name Solomon is likewise a doubtful import. The fact that he’s said to be the author of Proverbs, Canticles, and Ecclesiastes shows that the Jewish tradition came to regard him as the ideal of wisdom, and ascribe to him indiscriminately everything of that sort.
The Bible, to Crawford H. Toy, was a book of human legend and human myth.
Well, Lottie Moon had fallen in love with him. And Lottie Moon came from China back to America to marry Dr. Crawford H. Toy. And when she came back to America to marry this brilliant theologian, she was shattered by his theological persuasions. You call it modernism, you call it liberalism; in our Southern Baptist Convention you call it the moderates. Disillusioned and heartbroken, she returned back to China, never to come to America again. And in the Louisville seminary, Dr. James Pettigrew Boyce, the president, and Dr. John A. Broadus, his companion in the professorship of teaching, they took their brilliant professor, Crawford H. Toy, to the railroad station in Louisville at Tenth and Broadway. And when the train came in, James Pettigrew Boyce put his left arm around the young professor, and raised his right hand to heaven and said, "Crawford, I would give this right arm if you were back as you were when you first came to us." Crawford H. Toy got on the train, went to Harvard University to be professor there, went into the Unitarian church, and finally never went to church at all.
When Lottie Moon died, in her trunk were the letters that she and Crawford had written across the seas. And in her trunk were all the books and all the things of Crawford H. Toy.
What a difference between then and today. In one of the recent issues of the Review and Expositor, the theological journal of the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, there’s an article on Crawford H. Toy, full of lavish and extravagant praise for the Unitarian. And the closing two sentences of that article are: "So far, as his critical trends develop within the ten years of his membership on the faculty of the Southern Seminary, his views today would not be regarded as revolutionary, so much as to call for his dismissal." Second sentence: "Toy’s research and views were too advanced for his contemporaries." I don’t recognize our people in these theological and classical schools today. I don’t recognize them. And Lottie Moon expresses that so dramatically when she wrote in her letters to Crawford H. Toy, "I can’t give up my Bible. I can’t give up my Bible."
God grant that there be among us men and women of like commitment to the infallible, inerrant, eternal Word of God. God’s Word is like God Himself: "The same yesterday, and today, and forever" [Hebrews 13:8]. I admire that little missionary Lottie Moon beyond any way words that could describe it.
Now the third: her death. For these years, forty years, she was missionary in Dengzhou, and a hundred fifteen miles in the interior to P’ingtu. And when the year of 1912 came, there were two things: a famine in P’ingtu, and her Christians were starving. At the same time there was a famine of support for the foreign mission enterprise, and our board could not pay the salaries of the missionaries; so they borrowed money to support the missionaries, of which one was Lottie Moon. And what happened in the life of that seventy-two-year-old missionary, Lottie Moon: she refused to eat. And the money that was given to her she gave for the suffering and starving of those P’ingtu Christians. She said, "If they have nothing to eat, I will not eat. If they starve, I will starve. And I will not live on borrowed money."
As the days passed, she became so weak and frail that the decision was made to send her back to America. There was a nurse named Cynthia Miller, whose furlough had come. So the nurse took this frail, invalid little starving missionary to Shanghai, placed on a boat in Shanghai, back to America. The boat made a call in the Kobe harbor of Japan on its way to our shores. And on Christmas Eve in 1912, the nurse noticed that the frail little missionary was clasping and unclasping her hands in Chinese fashion. And she lowered her head to listen to the words that she was saying. And the little frail missionary in Chinese fashion [was] greeting Christian converts who had died long ago in P’ingtu.
I’ve often wondered if heaven is like that. When time comes for us to die, will we greet those and see those who have preceded us to heaven? "Hello Mother." "Hello Dad." And these we’ve loved and lost for a while; O God! how precious such a translation, when the Lord who opened for us the gates of grace, open for us the gates of glory.
And as we come to the end of our broadcast, may it be that uncounted numbers of you who have listened will this day give your heart in faith and in trust to the Lord Jesus; that the hour of our death may be also the hour of our greatest triumph. Without loss of one, that all of us will find our ultimate and eternal home in heaven. God bless you in glory. Amen.
And to the throngs in this sanctuary this precious hour, a family you coming into the fellowship of the church, a couple you answering God’s call to your heart, a one somebody you accepting Jesus as your Savior, as the Spirit shall press the appeal, answer, "Yes, Lord, here am I"; and stand by me, and stand with us. "This is God’s day for me, and I’m answering with my life." In the balcony round, down one of these stairways; in the throng on this lower floor, down one of these aisles, "Pastor, God has spoken to me, and here I stand." Make the decision now in your heart and in this moment when we sing our appeal, on the first note of the first stanza, come, and welcome, while we stand and while we sing.