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Written by Potter/Yates   



The first thing I want to notice is the mention of a missionary in foreign lands not supported by a mission board. I expect he was a Regular Baptist; we do not believe much in being supported by mission boards. Paul was that kind of a missionary, and I told you this morning I believed in that kind of a missionary. This man must have been a man of God; he gave good evidence that his heart was in the work. That is the kind of a missionary that I believe is sincere and has great reason to believe that God will bless him because God sends him. I wanted to get the name. “The Rev. J. Hudson Taylor is its founder and director. Thirty-one years ago he went to China as the first noted Chinese missionary in London. He soon cast himself on the Lord for support.” He got tired of the Foreign Mission board; did not support him well enough, and he cast himself upon the Lord. I am in favor of that kind of missionaries. Send a missionary out that will cast himself on the Lord, and the Lord will bless him. That is the kind Paul was. “For his conscience would not allow him longer to receive aid from a society which frequently ran into debt.” He had a better conscience than a great many modern missionaries. I am much obliged to you. Brother Yates.  Perhaps the Lord is still calling men, like he did Paul; but there is no evidence of a call from the Lord in a man who goes out for a salary, and makes no sacrifices whatever.

I now wish to call your attention to one or two important things that Brother Yates mentioned this morning. In the first place, he refers to the success of the missionary work as an evidence that it is owned and blessed of God; I want to show you that if that is true, there are some people not embraced in the proposition that are abundantly owned and blessed of God. You remember the proposition says the denominations of the Protestant world; it does not embrace the Catholic world. I did not suppose that my opponent would own them, because they do not teach the truth; they teach Catholicism. I have a missionary paper called The Gospel in All Lands, published in the interests of a missionary organization in New York. On page 488 of this paper, published in the interest of the missionary Work, I have the following:

“The Jesuits are mainly engaged in promoting the interests of the Church of Rome, especially in heathen lands.” According to a review of the missionary work of the Society of Jesus, given in the Katholischen Missionem, the statistics are as follows:

“1,174 members of that Order (673 priests, 174 scholastics, and 327 lay brethren) were laboring last year in 22 missions, in which are 1,275,881 Roman Catholics. These laborers were distributed over 2,500 stations. They held Divine service in 2,386 churches and chapels; conducted 2,271 schools, among which were 52 institutions for higher instruction, with 78,598 pupils, and maintained 72 orphan houses, with 10,426 children, and 19 hospitals. The number of children baptized was 61,480, of whom 35,398 were heathen children, and the number of conversions of adult heathen was 8,942. This statement does not include baptisms and. conversions in Armenia. Madagascar, Zambesi, and Egypt, of which no records have been received. To those should also be added 1,652 heretics converted in India, Jamaica, British Guiana, etc. It would swell the number of reported adult conversions to 10,594. Besides the missionaries enumerated above, there labored in the different mission fields, not as missionaries to the heathen, but as spiritual advisers or teachers, 980 priests, 758 scholastics, and 680 lay brethren, making in all 3,592 Jesuits engaged in missionary work of one kind or another.”

That is what one denomination has done. It beats any thing I have ever heard yet from any three or four, or perhaps half a dozen, Protestant denominations. If success is to be taken as an evidence that God blesses the work, then the Roman. Catholics stand ahead of any other denomination on earth. They were the inventors of the Foreign Mission work in the start, and, if there is any credit to be given anybody for Foreign Mission work. The Catholic Church is entitled to it. The great “mother of harlots—whore of Babylon “—invented the first Foreign Missionary Society that was ever invented. Is their success an evidence that God owns and blesses their work? Let Brother Yates tell; for he refers to success as an evidence that God owns and blesses the missionaries’ labors.

I drop that part of it now, until I hear from him on that subject. We want to know whether we are to take results as an evidence for or against the missionaries. The Catholics have done as much to educate, elevate, and lift up, and they have been as beneficial to the downtrodden, and ignorant, and benighted, as any other. Look at the orphans they are caring for and educating. Of course I believe their religion is all wrong; I have no use for it at all, and do not take it as an evidence that God is with them. Brother Yates does.

He then again stated this morning—and I want to call attention to that, because I want every thing straight as we go along, and Brother Yates says he talks to me kindly, and I would not talk to him any other way, because you know I always claim to he very friendly, and I do not intend to try to wound his feelings or harrow them up. Perhaps I might do so, but I do not think it would be honorable or kind for me to do it. I am glad he feels kindly, and hope he will continue to do so until Saturday evening, he said the Foreign Mission work was not a denominational thing. Perhaps in one sense it may not be so. Perhaps all denominations on earth, except the true Church of Christ, are in it. The Catholics are in it, and all Protestant denominations are in it; and he thinks that is a proof that it is right, and that the question is settled. Although he said nine hundred and ninety-nine out of every thousand are in favor of it, it is an unsettled question today. The argument that many believe in it does not make it right. Many people thought Jesus Christ was wrong when he was here; nearly everybody did—nine hundred and ninety-nine put of every thousand. It was almost universally thought he was an impostor, a grand deceiver, when he was in the world; and according to that idea, those who opposed Christ were right because they were in the majority. The Foreign Missionary work is rightly named; it is foreign to the Scriptures. Public opinion may indorse it, but public opinion is not always right. The question itself is biblical. Do the Scriptures teach it? Do the Scriptures authorize it? What is the Bible worth more than last year’s almanac, only for what is in it? If the Scripture has authorized this Foreign Mission work, we ought all to believe in it; it ought to be settled; not only nine hundred and ninety-nine out of every thousand ought to believe in it, but a thousand out of every thousand. I want to give you some missionary evidence on this point, from a paper published by the Missionary Baptists, one Protestant denomination embraced in Brother Yates’ proposition, the Baptist Missionary Magazine of September, 1885, on page 357. On European missions, the writer says:

“The scope and aim of the missions in Europe are often misapprehended. It is sometimes thought that the only result of sustaining Baptist missions on the continent of Europe is to add another evangelizing agency among peoples who already have the gospel. This is only a partial representation of the case. Although the nations of continental Europe are nominally Christian, the established Churches are everywhere either sunken in superstition and bigotry or a dead formalism. That the Roman and Greek Churches are incapable of affording a saving gospel is too well known to admit of question; and we are building belief on the most trustworthy testimony, that the pulpits of the Lutheran and Reformed Churches arc occupied very generally by those who are themselves strangers to saving grace, and therefore cannot bring salvation to others. If the people of these nations are to be saved, it must be largely through outside means; and those countries are therefore as proper fields for the soul-saying work of missions as any lands in the world.”

That is what the Missionary Baptists say. The Lutheran and Reformed Churches in Europe are as foreign from salvation as the heathen, they say. The Lutherans may have missionaries there, and God authorized them and sent them. The Reformed Churches— and they are of the Presbyterian family—have missionaries there, and God sends them and authorizes them. And then he authorizes the Missionary Baptists to send their missionaries there to convert again those Lutherans, and Congregationalists, and Reformed Churches. So one goes to reform another, and that in its turn must be reformed, and so on. Is that the work of the Lord? That is what the missionaries themselves say. I do not know much about it, only what they say, for the Bible never mentions it.

To show you that this is not an exception, I will read again from another work. I hold in my hand a little book entitled, “The Great Commission and its Fulfillment by the Church.” The great commission means: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations.” Here is a missionary writing on that question and its fulfillment by the Church. On page 13 he starts out under the head of “Denominational Propagandism”:
“In how many towns in the Northern States are we striving to maintain feeble Baptist Churches, at great cost of money and more valuable ministerial labor, where the ground is more than fully occupied by strong Churches of other names! The object must be—well, denominational propagandism. In a recent number of the Home Mission Herald, a zealous Baptist home missionary frankly writes from Colorado: Our hardest field now is Pueblo, and simply because we are about two years behind the other denominations in occupying it. To raise the question in direct opposition to the general practice and the unchallenged policy of all denominations may seem foolish presumption, and yet I make bold to ask, What right has any steward of the gospel to devote his life or his money to proselytism in Christian communities, in the interest of his particular sect, While four-fifths of the whole race are absolutely unable to learn the first elements of saving truth for want of a teacher?”

This writer says this propagandism; proselytism from one denomination to another is “the general practice and unchallenged policy of all denominations.” That is what a missionary says. Brother Yates, you can have those books, if you wish them. They are open for your inspection. I suppose since it is a missionary says so, Brother Yates will not call in question the evidence of a missionary.
We will take these denominations; of course, the Missionary Baptists think the doctrine of the Presbyterians is wrong, and they think the doctrine of the Congregationalists is wrong, and that of the Lutherans is wrong. Hence the Lord gets up a missionary society among the Presbyterians, and they go and convert the people; and after awhile the Lutherans come along, and they convert somebody; then the Congregationalists come along, and they convert somebody; and then the Lord sends a missionary in to convert them all over again, and there is a general round of converting going on, and the people paying for them. That is what the missionaries are doing. The majority of the missionaries of today are in the United States and Europe, where they admit themselves that the people are nominal Christians.

I now want to notice his proposition. He undertook to say what he would do, by making a proposition to me. I called on him, not for the words “Foreign Mission,” but for that or its implication. Do you know what he said? He said if I would shew him “Regular Baptist,” or “Church Clerk,” or “Associations” in the New Testament, he would find “Foreign Mission.” You do not believe I can do that, do you, Brother Yates? No, he don’t. He says he don’t. Neither does he believe he can find “Foreign Mission” there. Now, he can find one just as easily as the other, and proposes that if I will find one, then he will find the other. Is not that good? The proposition is given up. The proposition given up, we might go home. I have not challenged Brother Yates to prove that “Regular Baptist” occurs in the Bible, or that Associations were authorized by the Bible, nor Church Clerks, nor any thing of that kind. Neither are our brethren going to make a challenge. He has challenged to prove that the Scriptures authorize something that is as foreign to the Bible as “Regular Baptist,” or “Church Association,” and those things which he himself says he don’t believe are there. See what a light he stands in before this people. The thing is given up. What is the use of talking about it any more? He admits himself it is not authorized in the Scriptures. I did not think I would get an admission out of him so soon. I had fixed for a week’s work, and it is done in less than a day. Not authorized in the Scriptures. That is all the issue there is between him and me on that question. That is what we are here for. God is not the author of it. That is what we are here for; he says it is not there. Ladies and gentlemen, you can just set down forever as a settled axiom that the Foreign Mission work is not authorized in the Scriptures, or else Brother Yates would not have yielded the point so soon. It is not there.

He then refers to Saul’s case about opening the eyes of the blind. The question with us is not whether the gospel should be preached or not, nor whether it is right to go and preach; that is not the question with us. We have been preaching all our lives. Let me say more than that. He is not here to fight an opposition to the propagation of the gospel everywhere. There is no Regular Baptist that understands himself as a Baptist and opposes the spread of the gospel and education. None of us do that. We oppose the thing he has got in his proposition. That is what we oppose. And he has given us an evidence that God still calls men without it. We oppose it because it never was necessary. It was not necessary in the days of the apostles. We showed you from a missionary Writer this morning, who eloquently said, Paul the Apostle had no wealthy missionary organization at his back to support him. Now, that is the kind of a man he introduces. He must be a brother to Paul, but he is not a brother of these missionary workers that are backed up for wealthy missionary organizations.

Brother Yates says I am not progressive. Well, in worship, perhaps I am not. The God I am serving is an old-fashioned God, who never changes with the styles and customs. The Bible is very old, compared with myself and Brother Yates. It does not change. It has been written a long time. If it could be changed and swerved about, it might have had modern missions in it now, but it has not; it does not change.

He says, Is our present civilization the result of Christianity? I say yes; but it is not the result of the Foreign Mission work, as I intend to show before I am through. He says it is. I deny it, and it falls on him to prove it. We are not here to take each other’s word. This is a debate. We are men, and when we say any thing we ought to prove it.

I have a history that testifies that the gospel was preached in England by the apostles themselves. It is an ancient work; it is a little like that Confession of Faith that looks a little old. It is an old geography, that is published by a man by the name of Guthrie, and I expect that my father-in-law carried it to school with him when he was a little boy. It gives an account of the countries; and he was unbiased, because he was simply giving the histories of those countries.
No person denies the condition of the heathen, so far as that is concerned. It is bad enough; and the most eloquent and sympathetic part of his speech was to picture out the heathen, and draw a very deplorable picture of them. That is true; it is bad enough, as I showed you this morning from this same history I referred to. The Greeks anciently were so low down in the scale of civilization that the institution of marriage was long unknown to them. Their race was propagated by accidental connection, and the children had no way of knowing to whom they owed their birth. Cecrops—I suppose we might call him a kind of missionary—who was king of Egypt, went over and began to plant schools among these Greeks; and to him, and his institutions and colleges, all the wisdom, and all the philosophy, and all the oratory that the Greeks ever knew, were indebted. Did this missionary do them any good? Did it elevate them any? Plato, Aristotle, and all those great fellows, were the results of that institution that started upwards of fifteen hundred years, before Christ. He opposes that now. Did God authorize it? Is our free-school system in Indiana authorized in the Scriptures, because it has been productive of grand and glorious results? Certainly not. Is education in any country, authorized in the Scriptures, simply because it is a good thing?

He brings out their Confession of Faith. He says that my book that I had here this morning looks rather old. It is old. He brings up a new one of 1883—revised? It does not read like it used to. Presbyterianism is not what it once was. It is revised. It was right, though, before, and right now. O what a thought! It was gospel; it was true; it was good; it was taught in the Scriptures, a few years ago. Now they have revised it, and it does not read like it did then. He is progressive. That is progression. The article he read did not read as the one I read this morning. What I read was Presbyterianism; what he read is the revision of it. That is the difference. I expect he will want to revise the Bible before he discusses Missionisrn again.

Then he says he don’t mean to say that every man in the heathen lands is lost. He doesn’t mean to say that. A great many of them are saved. Very well. Then the eternal destiny of millions does not hang on the gospel getting among them, as he said it did this morning. He said this morning the temporal and eternal destiny of millions hung upon the gospel getting there. Now he says a great many heathen will he saved. He is right one time or the other, no question about that, because he is getting upon both sides. A man getting on both sides has to be right; and Brother Yates will be right some time or other—there is no question about that.

Referring to Romans i. 20, where it speaks of the heathen being without excuse, why were they? It says they had knowledge of God: “The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.” That should teach there is a God. Ought not the same thing teach to the heathen now that there is a God? Do they not have the sun, and moon and stars, to look at, and do they not have all nature to look at, just the same as the people anciently? And if it answered the purpose then, should it not answer the same purpose today with the people that are without the Bible or gospel? If it teaches them there is a God, it ought to teach them at the same time to have respect for that God. My idea is that where people think there is a God, and have an idea of his divine character, they ought to have some respect for him; and it is my idea that this is so; that nature unfolds a volume to the people wherever they live, that reads in more intelligent characters perhaps than the tongue of mortal could ever tell, that there is a God. David walked out, and he would look up and say: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork.” And Paul said the people that had that were without excuse; they had some way to know. Then the Bible and the ministry are not absolutely essential for the heathen to know there is a God.

Then in regard to Paul and Barnabas: you know they laid hands on them and sent them away. Did you think that Paul never took a trip before that, Brother Yates? He had been out on a missionary tour before that. I will read to you to show you that Paul had been out on a missionary tour before the time he speaks of Gal 1: 15-17: “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his glace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen”—there is a preacher for the heathen—“ immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.” That is Bible missionism. He did not wait for any Missionary Board to send him, but immediately he went. He waited not to confer with flesh and blood; he went before any missionaries sent him. There was a missionary tour taken by the Apostle Paul before the hands were laid on him, as Brother Yates reads.

I was reading to you this morning about this apostle, from a modern missionary writer, that all he had to depend upon was the Commission and guidance of the Spirit of God. There was no telegraph agency, nor newspaper agency, to herald his coming; no Christian constituency to receive him, or church to accommodate those who might assemble to hear him; but he went alone; and when occasion required it he would work with his own hands, just like the missionary brother Yates has introduced. That missionary is more like Paul than any missionary I have heard of for a long time. He worked with his hands, and did not wait, but started immediately after the Lord called him. He did not wait for some Missionary Board to send him. He says: “Immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood” did not even go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles, but went into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

I thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

MR. YATES: There is just one little question that I wish to have settled, that the people may understand the position. When Brother Potter concedes that there are conversions on the foreign field, he has lost the case. I have not indorsed the means as absolutely used, but the work itself on the foreign field. And he does not deny that the Rev. J. Hudson Taylor is a Protestant. That is the, point I want people to understand; and he has admitted that the Foreign Mission work performed by him and his co-laborers, and the fruits of The work that I presented this afternoon, were scriptural, according to his own theory. The question under discussion is not the means and measures, but the work itself—not about Foreign Mission Boards, but the work itself—on the foreign field. It does not matter whether it is done by God himself altogether, or by the co-operation of human agency. He said in the first speech that we did not know as to conversions on the foreign field. He said the Rev. J. Hudson Taylor was a missionary after his own heart. Then I showed the gospel fruits of hi work. I brought the fruit—not the results as to num hers—but the fruit, in the transformation of character. Is it the question of the work itself? or is it the Board measures? If it is the work itself then let us discuss the work; if not then we should discuss whatever it is.

MR. POTTER: So far as the conversion is concerned, the term conversion does not occur in the proposition at all.

MR. YATES: “Blessed and owned of God.” That means the conversion or regeneration of the heathen through the Foreign Mission work, as evidenced in the lives of the native converts.

MR. POTTER: I do not know whether it does or not; you did not say so.

MR. YATES: If I speak of a Christian worker and minister being blessed and owned of God, do you not understand that to be the fruits of his labors, as seen in the lives of those who have been led to God, through his efforts, to accept Christ in the salvation of their souls?

MR. POTTER: A man may be blessed and owned of God in a great many ways.

MR. YATES: Brother Potter understands that clearly, as the meaning of blessed and owned of God. I want to ask him if he did not understand when he looked at the proposition—if he did not understand me to say that it was the work of regeneration done among the heathen?

MR. POTTER: I did not, honestly; it never entered my mind. The word convert was not in it, nor regenerate; but he headed the challenge himself, “Is the Foreign Mission work of God or of man?” That is the issue. That is what I came, here to debate. Now he affirms the proposition that it is owned and blessed of God. Perhaps it would be as hard for him to prove that there has been a case of regeneration, as to prove any other question; and honestly, that did not enter in my mind in reading that proposition. There may be many ways in which the labors of man may be blessed, and doubtless are many ways in which it may be indicated that the Lord owns and blesses man’s efforts.

MODERATOR: I will simply read the proposition, and each will put his own interpretation on it.

And the proposition was re-read by the Moderator.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 19 September 2006 )
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