Editor’s Note: Without a doubt one of the best of the Don Robson articles, yet, it will sadden our readers to see the further deterioration in the Anglican Church. As Don wrote in his covering letter, “Perhaps there are wars or pestilence that I should worry about, but the famine of hearing the Word of the Lord is compounded when adjusted to fit the pagan beliefs and rituals. Wasn’t this the sin of the Roman church?
Recently, I read with great distress, an article in the local newspaper that bore the headline, “Bishop wants to see Christianity go native.” In order to discuss this topic, I think it would be useful to quote the first few paragraphs of the article, as follows: “It’s the colonial missionaries at last undone. The Anglican Church of Canada’s newly appointed national bishop to native peoples said yesterday his job will be TO BEND mainstream Christian theology so that it fits with aboriginal beliefs. And Bishop Mark MacDonald told a Toronto news conference he forsees the emergence of a separate stream of native Christianity, ‘that will not be a replication of the European church’, and which, in fact, has existed substantially underground since the time of first aboriginal contact with European clergy. ‘There’s a lot out there already’, he said. My task over the next few years is to midwife the creation of a native jurisdiction within the Canadian church. In my opinion, it is the most important work anyone could do in the church at this day and hour. As many people have said, ‘IT WILL BRING TRANSFORMATION TO THE WHOLE CHURCH’.”
When we look to the past, after the partial occupation of the holy land, the people of Israel were warned about the Canaanites living in the land. They were told to make no political pacts with them and not to intermarry because it would inevitably lead to the worship of their gods and the breaking of the first of the ten commandments, “I am the Lord thy God which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Things went well until the departure of Joshua, at an old age, and then the people became involved with the people of Canaan with the foretold consequences. The book of Judges chronicles the ups and downs of the nation under the judges as they partook of the forbidden fruit. It was this very same sin that brought down the world’s wisest man, King Solomon, forcing the Lord to split his kingdom. Over the history of the two nations, Judah and Israel, these practices continued, with redemption by some leaders who knew the Lord, but ended in disaster when the two nations were exiled by Shalmaneser of Assyria and Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
WILL WE NEVER LEARN? St. Paul says in 2nd Timothy 3:16,17, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works,”
“It’s the colonial missionaries at last undone.” I think that a case can be made that our missionary efforts were not well founded and are at odds with God’s great plan for the salvation of mankind. What was Christ’s commission to the twelve apostles that He sent out? Reading in Matthew 10:5-8, we find, “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not; But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” And in verse 23 we find, “But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another; for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over THE CITIES OF ISRAEL, till the Son of Man be come.” So, in taking the words at face value, I understand them to mean that our preaching and healing should be confined to the children of Israel; it is a certainty that they would understand the preaching concerning the kingdom of heaven because it is described in every way possible in the writings of Moses and all the prophets.
Well, what about everyone else? From where comes their salvation? It comes from Jesus but by a different route. The law given by Moses, was given only to the House of Israel. Amos 3:2, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities.” You see, sin is the transgression of the law; where there is no law, there is no sin. So, how are we expected to behave towards other peoples? It is contained in the parable of the dividing of the nations, Matthew 25:35,36, “For I was an hungered, and you gave me meat; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and ye took me in; naked and ye clothed me; I was sick and ye visited me; I was in prison and ye came unto me.” All these things we can do and it causes me some pride when Canada reacts in these ways, helping nations throughout the world.
So, how are the nations to be saved? When the Lord Jesus returns and establishes His kingdom in righteousness, the other nations will come to Zion to learn how the Kingdom of Israel functions, so that they can copy our ways and enjoy our prosperity. You can read the prophecy in Isaiah 2:2&3, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; AND ALL NATIONS SHALL FLOW UNTO IT. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”
This does not suggest modifying the laws of the Lord or adjusting the precepts of Christianity. In John 8:31&32 we find the following, “Then said Jesus to those Jews who believed on Him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” And finally a thought from John’s first epistle, 2:23&24, “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. Let that therefore abide in you, WHICH YOU HAVE HEARD FROM THE BEGINNING. IF THAT WHICH YOU HAVE HEARD FROM THE BEGINNING SHALL REMAIN IN YOU, ye also shall continue in the Son and in the Father.”