“The Moravians have done more in proportion to their ability than any other body of Christians.
IF members of Protestant Churches in Great Britain and America gave in like proportion, then missionary contributions would aggregate £12,000,000, or a fourfold increase.
And IF they went out as missionaries in corresponding numbers, we would have a force of nearly 400,000 foreign workers, which is vastly more than the number of missionaries estimated as necessary to achieve the evangelisation of the world in this generation.
The question is, What has there been in connection with the work which is not reproducible?
“The world-wide proclamation of the gospel awaits accomplishment by this generation,
IF it shall have the obedience and determination to attempt the task. We are not justified in saying that there is a single country on the face of the earth where the Church,
IF she seriously desires, cannot send ambassadors of Christ to proclaim His message.
“Contrast the one hundred and thirty-five millions of members of Protestant Churches with the few thousands constituting the despised sect which on the day of Pentecost began the work. As we recall the achievements of that infant Church, can we question the ability of the Christians of our day,
IF they were unitedly to resolve to accomplish it, in this present generation, to give all mankind an opportunity to know Christ, the Saviour and Lord?
“The money-power of the Church is enormous. IF only one-fourth of members of Protestant Churches gave but one cent a day, it would yield over twenty-five million pounds, as contrasted with the less than four million pounds of the past year.
“The Bible Societies are not less than eighty in number.
IF the work is properly promoted, before this generation closes, each inhabitant of Asia and Africa will be able to read or hear in his own tongue of the wonderful works of God.
“The various Christian young people’s organisations include, in North America alone, fully six million members. These young people themselves,
IF properly educated and guided, are able to raise each year a sum large enough to support all the foreign missionaries required to accomplish the evangelisation of the world.
“Sunday schools contain over twenty million scholars.
IF these were trained to give a penny per week, it would yield an amount greater than the present total missionary gifts of Christendom.
“There are now probably two hundred thousand soldiers at the Cape. We have all been impressed by the exhibition of the unity and power of the British Empire; we have been deeply moved by the example of the republics, as we have seen old men and boys going out to fight the battles of their country; and yet, when it is suggested that all Protestant Christendom unite in sending out fifty thousand missionaries, it is impracticable and visionary: it would be too severe a strain on the resources of the Church.
“Was it not Bishop Thoburn who said that IF this Conference and those whom it represents will do their duty, within the first decade of the new century ten millions of souls might be gathered into the Church of Christ? And was it not Dr. Chamberlain who affirmed the possibility of bringing India under the sway of Christ within the lifetime of some, at least, in this assembly?”
In an address of Mr. Robert Speer we read—
“The aim of foreign missions is to make Jesus Christ known to the world. The Church could do the work,
IF it would, if this aim ruled its spirit. I was glad to read, on the first page of our programme, those dying words of Simeon Calhoun: ‘It is my deep conviction, and I say it again and again, that
IF the Church of Christ were what she ought to be, twenty years would not pass away till the story of the cross would be uttered in the ears of every living man.’ ”
And—to quote only one more instance—Rev. W. Perkins, Secretary of the Wesleyan Missionary Society, London, said—
“Great as are the results of Foreign Missions, over which we rejoice and give thanks, they would have been a hundredfold greater, IF the Church had been what she ought to be in the two great matters of prayer and beneficence.”
We all know the force of the word IF. It suggests the cause from which certain effects follow. It points to the conditions needed to ensure the results we desire. In the passages we have quoted, and in different forms of expression frequently recurring in missionary literature, we find the same thought incessantly repeated: it tells us how certainly and speedily the evangelisation of the world would be accomplished, were it not for the failure of the Church in doing the part that has been assigned her by God.
Murray, Andrew. The Key to the Missionary Problem. London: J. Nisbet & Co., 1902.