These IFS all indicate something wrong in the Church in reference to Christ’s command to evangelise the world.
Note the words we have emphasised in the type, and the indictment they contain.
The Church has not “the obedience and determination to attempt the task” to proclaim the gospel within this generation to every creature.
She does not “seriously desire” to proclaim the gospel in every country on the face of the earth.
The Christians of our day are not “unitedly resolved to accomplish it.”
Were the Church of our day doing the work, or proving herself ready to do it, there would be no need of this repeated appeal to the IF.
One-fourth of the members of Protestant Churches are not ready to “give one halfpenny a day.” We are not ready to see that the work of Bible circulation is “properly promoted.”
The Christian young people of America are able to raise the money sufficient for all the missionaries needed to evangelise the world, but the Church is not “properly guiding and educating” them for this.
Sunday scholars could do so much—they are not being trained to it.
Protestant Christendom counts it “impracticable and visionary” to give fifty thousand men to the foreign work for the service of Christ Jesus and His kingdom: it would be “too great a strain on the resources of the Church.”
The Conference and the Churches it represents are not ready to “do their duty.”
The Church is not willing “to make Jesus known to the world.”
This aim does not “rule its spirit.” In this matter the Church of Christ is not “what she ought to be.”
These charges against the Church were not brought by infidels or enemies, but by some of the Church’s most faithful servants. They were uttered in presence of thousands of missionaries and mission friends. If untrue, they would have been denied and refuted. But no one could deny them.
In this matter, however devotedly a small part of the Church is doing its utmost,
in the great majority of its members it is not what it should be. It does not desire truly to have Christ made known to every creature as speedily as possible.
This aim does not rule its spirit—it is not prepared to do its duty.
The charge is unutterably solemn, is simply awful. It will not do to listen and then lay it aside and forget. Everyone who loves Christ’s Church, who loves Christ Jesus his Lord, who loves the souls that are perishing through this neglect, ought to pause and consider what it means.
That Christ should have given His life in serving us, and asked us to give our life in serving Him; that Christ should have given His dying love into our hearts, and asked us to bear it and impart it to others; that Christ should in His love have died for all, and have rendered Himself dependent on us to let them know of that love; that Christ should have endured the agony of the cross for the joy of winning and saving the perishing, and should have counted on our love to delight in making Him happy and bringing Him His reward; and that the great majority of those who profess to owe everything to His dying love, should be utterly indifferent either as to gratifying Him or blessing their fellowmen by winning them to that love—surely it cannot be true that His love has ever been a reality to them, or they could not so neglect their calling.
Or it must be that they have never been taught aright what they have been redeemed for: the Church, in calling them to seek salvation for themselves, must have kept hidden from them the great purpose for which they were redeemed—that they should live to save others.
But, whatever be the cause, here is the solemn fact,—a Church, purchased by the blood of the Son of God to be His messenger to a dying world, for the greater part failing entirely in understanding or fulfilling its calling. No words can express, no mind can grasp, the terrible meaning and consequences of the failure and condemnation involved in the simple IFS of which we speak.
Murray, Andrew. The Key to the Missionary Problem. London: J. Nisbet & Co., 1902.