Missionaries of God’s Kingdom That Rules
1. What were those Christians graduating from Gilead sent forth as, but what do enemies in many places call them?
AFTER your graduation, you Christian men and women will be sent on a mission. That is why you are all missionaries, for, basically, a missionary is one who is sent on a mission. A mission is a work with which a person is charged as an agent or envoy and it serves as the reason for sending this person out. Usually a missionary is understood to be a person that is sent out for spreading his religious belief into a heathen land or a newly settled territory. From this fact the word missionary has come to mean also a mere propagandist. In many lands the enemies speak of graduates of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead as propagandists, not Christian missionaries.
2. Why was it well for those graduates to keep in mind the mission on which they were being sent, and why would we not want to be the kind of missionaries that Kaiser Wilhelm II once spoke of?
2 You will do well to keep in mind always the mission on which you are sent. Then you will distinguish yourselves from missionaries of other kinds. There are missionaries and missionaries. Less than ten years before Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany plunged his empire into World War I he spoke at Bremen, Germany. In this speech on March 22, 1905, Kaiser Wilhelm spoke for all the German people, his subjects, and said: “God has called us to civilize the world. We are the missionaries of human progress. . . . We are the salt of the earth.”a Now, do we today owe a debt of gratitude to those German Imperial “missionaries of human progress”? Did they advance world civilization in a way that has benefited everybody? Have they as the “salt of the earth” kept their strength or lost it and ruined the earth instead of preserving it? World War I and its aftereffects down to this day give the best answer. No sane person needs to feel a debt of gratitude to missionaries of human, materialistic progress of that kind in any nation. We do not want to be missionaries of that kind, do we?
3. How have missionaries been taken advantage of, and how have heathen natives pointed out their not being what they preach?
3 In the past, British and other religious missionaries have opened up territories and have won the trust and favor of the people in such territories. But then the missionaries were taken advantage of as spearheads and advance agents for commercialism and exploitation of native peoples. Those missionaries lost sight of the teaching of the Holy Bible or never did fully understand and appreciate the Bible and its standard for Christian living. Honest-hearted natives soon discerned the difference between the teachings and lives of the missionaries and the Holy Bible. Page 72 of the book The Battle of Armageddon, written by Charles T. Russell in 1897, tells how some of the heathen would hold up the Christian’s Bible before the missionaries and say: “Your practices do not correspond with the teachings of your sacred book.” An Indian Brahmin is “said to have written a missionary, [saying,] ‘We are finding you out. You are not as good as your Book. If your people were only as good as your Book, you would conquer India in five years.’”
4. What is it a bad practice for missionaries to follow, and how can they pervert their Christian aim?
4 This helps us to appreciate how bad a practice it is for a missionary of any so-called Christian religion to carry the worldliness of his home country into the foreign country or territory that is to be Christianized. It is bad also for the missionary to conform himself to any bad practices, immoral practices, that are the accepted custom in the missionary field but that are not the teaching of the Bible or of the New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses. A missionary is perverting his Christian aim if he lets himself be used as a tool of commercialism and exploitation, either willingly or compromisingly or innocently. A missionary does not go to a foreign field to take advantage of any commercial opportunities that he may unexpectedly discover or to turn aside from his God-given task to some selfish enterprise of materialistic gain. If he does so, then he belittles his mission. He ceases to be a Christian missionary. His training was wasted. He failed those sending him.
5. What did the New York Times say in praise of a famed American missionary to India following his recent death?
5 Recently (June 15, 1958) the editorial page of the New York Times published an article headed “What Is a Missionary?” It told of a noted missionary to India who had died during the previous week. It said that he was “one of the most distinguished and successful of our missionaries to India. He was respected and loved by Indians, Britons and Americans. He had the confidence of princes and was a saint to the humble villagers. Hindus, Moslems, Parsis, Jhats and Jains, as well as Christians, did him honor. Mohandas K. Gandhi espoused his work and men came from all over India to see what he was doing.” Do you missionaries recognize or know who this famed American missionary to India was?
6. According to the Times editorial, why was he so honored, consulted and loved so generally there?
6 Now, why was he so honored, respected, consulted and loved by all kinds of faiths and nationalities? The Times editorial answers: “He was teaching Indians [what? The Bible? No, but] something about contour plowing and crop rotation in the agricultural college there in Allahabad. He was putting emphasis upon selective breeding of [live] stock. He was putting in a great life’s work in the war against hunger. He was teaching young people how better to live in their environment, and how, eventually, to change it. He taught by example rather than by precept. He understood and respected religious faiths other than his own. And he was trusted.” Not a word about imitating Jesus Christ, who moved about from place to place, teaching and preaching publicly and in the homes of the people about spiritual things that transform people into Christians and help them to gain life in God’s swiftly approaching new world.
7. What did the Times say regarding the need of such missionaries, but who does not need such missionaries or give training to meet such need?
7 The Times editorial concludes: “We need more missionaries of that sort. They are not easy to find. But the memory of Dr. H———— will be a constant challenge.” Well, now, who is it that needs “more missionaries of that sort”? Not the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society! Not the New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses! It is true that at the Kingdom Farm on which the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead is located many of you graduating missionaries were set to work after school hours to pick berries or do other agricultural activities or help in the cow barn. But was the Bible School of Gilead training you for agricultural and dairy educational work in your missionary assignment because more “missionaries of that sort” were needed there? Why, even the Russian Communists in their economic offensive against the West in backward lands can send and are sending in educators of that kind as missionaries for communism.
8. How have Communists proved unable to do the work for which Gilead missionaries were trained, and how are these graduates of Gilead the missionaries hard to find?
8 But those Russian missionaries of communism who carry forward economic programs—can they do the specific work for which you missionaries were trained at Gilead? Some Communist spies have tried it hypocritically in order to infiltrate into the underground organization of Jehovah’s witnesses behind the Iron Curtain; but those spies and betrayers have failed through a self-exposure of their true identity. Do you missionaries consider that the missionary of Christendom who became famed in India for what he did in materialistic directions is a “constant challenge” to you to go and do likewise? Rather than a “challenge,” you consider his memory to be a warning of what to avoid, in order to specialize on your Bible-defined mission. In reality, YOU are the missionaries that “are not easy to find,” leaving your homes and your homelands, as you have done, and going to Gilead for intensive schooling and offering yourselves to be sent by the Watch Tower Society to wherever in this wide world it sees that you are needed most to “make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things that I [Jesus] have commanded you.”—Matt. 28:19, 20.
9. What does the word translated “missionary” literally mean, and more missionaries like whom do we need?
9 You know the real mission of one who is a Christian missionary in a true sense. You know that this word translated (in some modern translations) missionary literally means “evangelist,” such as the disciple Philip was and such as the widely traveled apostle Paul was, a bearer of the evangel or of the good news. The memories of Philip and of Paul stand as a “constant challenge” to you as regards what a missionary should be. We need more missionaries like them. We are delighted that we have found YOU and that you have offered yourselves and gone through instruction and training at Gilead to be missionaries like Philip and Paul and like Timothy, whom Paul in his farewell message instructed: “Do missionary work, thoroughly accomplish your ministry.”—2 Tim. 4:5.
10. How is the Christian missionary’s errand not an economic-aid program?
10 The Christian missionary’s errand is not an economic-aid program to various backward countries or handicapped lands. Ours is the more vital religious-aid program, outlined in God’s Holy Word, teaching sheeplike persons of all nations what Jesus taught in his sermon on the mountain, to stop storing up for themselves treasures on earth and to stop being anxious about their soul’s material needs, what to eat, drink and wear, but to trust in the heavenly Father to provide these needs while they keep “seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness.” (Matt. 6:19-33) Our missionaries do this work of education for eternal life. They try to do it in the native people’s own language in order to understand them and for them to understand the missionaries.
11. What comment did the New York Times make on the increased effect of carrying on a work in the native people’s language?
11 The increased effect of carrying on a work in the language of the native people is more and more being appreciated. An American editorial writer suggests that, in order to meet the Communist challenge in the economic-aid war, the American economic-aid program will have to be carried on with communistic skill in execution by carrying it on in the native people’s language and on their level of life. Then the editorial writer says: “Why cannot we send engineers to Burma, for example, who can speak Burmese and who are willing to live simply on the same level as the Burmese people, as do Soviet engineers? Must Americans always live in ‘Golden Ghettoes’ which excite envy and hate?”—New York Times, July 7, 1958.
12. In that respect, how do Gilead graduates not act less wisely than do the “sons of this system of things”?
12 To proceed this way is to act wisely, because we get the desired effects. Jesus, after giving a certain parable on how to act with forethought and good preparation, added: “The sons of this system of things are wiser in a practical way toward their own generation than the sons of the light are.” (Luke 16:8) The graduates of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead are not letting the children of this materialistic system of things act more wisely in attaining materialistic ends than the sons of light in the missionary field act in attaining their Christian aim, namely, the gathering in of all the “other sheep” of Jehovah’s Right Shepherd, Jesus Christ, from all nations. Either Gilead students first lay a good foundation for gaining command of the native language of their missionary assignment while they are still in the Bible School of Gilead or else they take an intensive training in the practical use of the new language right after they arrive in their missionary assignment. Although they do seek to have comfortable but unpretentious missionary homes in which to live while carrying on their strenuous work, they do not live a life of leisure there and make the native people come to them or to their Kingdom Halls to get the Kingdom message of salvation.
13. (a) To what extent do the Gilead missionaries get down on the same level as the native people? (b) What power does the Bible truth imparted by the missionary have upon the believing native, and to what does the training given lead?
13 Quite to the contrary, you missionaries will go out to the people, into their very homes, and get down on the same level as the people in order to reach them with the Bible truth and impress them. You will not let the modern comforts that you enjoyed at Gilead or may enjoy to some extent in your missionary homes spoil you. You will recall that Jesus did like that. He said: “Foxes have dens and birds of heaven have roosts, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay down his head.” (Matt. 8:20) Thus the natives who are preached to will see Christ imitated in the Christlike missionary. They will be impressed. They see harmony between missionary and Bible. They are not stumbled by any inconsistency of the missionary so as to be hindered from accepting God’s Word. As the natives accept the Bible truth, this not only exerts a transforming power over their personality but also moves them to improve their home conditions and circumstances to agree with the high, clean, wholesome standard of the Bible and of God’s visible organization. Moreover, they accept training from the missionaries and then go forth as trained witnesses of Jehovah to preach the life-giving, life-transforming truth to others, to their own people of like tongue.
14. As regards religion, what do Gilead missionaries respect, but what compromise do they not make to please natives?
14 Gilead missionaries respect native people’s right to worship as they choose, but they do not compromise as to what is the right religion, the Bible religion. They do not promise or offer to the people some material benefits in order to win them through a selfish appeal. What they appeal to in people is the sincere love of righteousness and truth. They do not mix with ALL religions, as if just sincerity in one’s religious belief is all that is needed for salvation and as if it is the same God that we all worship, only under different names or rites. They do not agree that there is a brotherhood between all religions and that, since there is only one Creator and Life-giver, we are all brothers regardless of our religious beliefs and practices. They make no compromise regarding the Fatherhood of God. They hold to the Bible teaching that He is the Father of only those who come to him through Christ and make a dedication of themselves to the heavenly Father.
15. As pointed up by speakers to graduate student meetings in the University of Massachusetts, why does the appeal to mankind on the claim of the “brotherhood of man” not succeed?
15 The appealing to mankind in general by teaching the indiscriminate Fatherhood of God to all men and the brotherhood of all men because of a common Creatorhood has not succeeded and never will. Why not? Because it ignores the religious attitudes and beliefs and conduct of the people. The need of universal brotherhood is keenly felt today. At the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Massachusetts, a series of meetings for graduate students was held. Dr. F. P. Graham, the United Nations representative in India and Pakistan, was the keynote speaker. He made a plea for universal brotherhood in this atomic age, as this was the only thing that could save mankind from destruction by nuclear bombs. However, Dr. Sidney Hook, New York University philosopher, challenged this theory as impractical as long as godlessness existed. Said he: “How can you speak of the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God when some of those you are dealing with don’t even believe in God?” Hence he thought it might be more effective to handle the matter on a scientific basis than on a religious basis. And even if we all agreed as to what was an ideal education, “what bearing,” said he, “would it have on the difficulties confronting the United Nations, in view of the intransigence of those who refused to live up to agreements?” (New York Times, July 15, 1958) So the ideas and theories of the world, even those of Christendom, do not work, do not prove practical.
16. Why is brotherhood not possible with this world but with whom is it proved possible by actual practice, and why?
16 Human brotherhood, though, is possible and practical, even at the present time, regardless of racial and national, language and color differences. It is possible, not by flesh and blood ties, but by God’s spirit and his Word. That is why this world can never build up a binding human brotherhood between peoples, between worldlings and worldlings, as it can never rightly claim the Fatherhood of God as a basis for it, unless by this claim the world means the fatherhood of the Devil, the god of this system of things. For when those who were opposed to Jesus said: “We have one Father, God,” Jesus replied: “You are from your father the Devil and you wish to do the desires of your father. . . . He that is from God listens to the sayings of God. This is why you do not listen, because you are not from God.” (John 8:41-44, 47) Whereas brotherhood is not possible with this world, it is possible with those today listening to the sayings of God. That is why this spiritual brotherhood under the Fatherhood of Jehovah God has actually been realized and is now being enjoyed by the New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses, which encircles the globe.
17. How do the Gilead missionaries expand the true brotherhood under Jehovah God?
17 You missionaries are going forth to expand that brotherhood under our heavenly Father Jehovah God. You are going forth to find those who will listen to the sayings of God, that these may be taken into this loving brotherhood. But to this end, you must make sure that what you let these sheeplike people listen to is really the “sayings of God,” his teachings in his Holy Word the Bible, that these other sheep may recognize only one heavenly Father, Jehovah, and only one Leader under Jehovah, Jesus Christ. If we all listen to the same sayings of God, then we can have all one mind and one heart. We can all have the same spirit and do the same work.
18. By whom really are these missionaries sent forth, and how are they much more highly privileged than John the Baptist?
18 This is your mission. This is your work as missionaries. And just think, you are sent forth as missionaries by the Kingdom of God that rules. What a dignity you hold! Why, you missionaries are sent forth as representatives of a government that is higher than the highest of the earthly governments. Nineteen centuries ago John the Baptist was privileged to announce the prospective King, Jesus in the flesh. From that standpoint John made the wilderness ring with the spine-tingling announcement, “The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.” And because of John’s official honor and privilege, Jesus said that no prophet prior to that time was greater than John the Baptist. (Matt. 11:11) But you missionaries, ah, you are clothed with the dignity of announcing and introducing among the nations the reigning King, Jesus Christ in the spirit, immortal, divine, the reflection of God’s glory, and having a “name more excellent than” that of all the angels. (Heb. 1:3, 4) How much more highly privileged YOU are than even John the Baptist! How this dignity of service ennobles the missionary work that you have to do!
19. Why does their working among the lowliest housing quarters not degrade their dignity, but how could they actually degrade it?
19 You may have to work among the lowliest housing quarters in which many people in your missionary assignment have to live, yet your dignity is not taken away from you. You do not degrade or belittle or ruin your Kingdom dignity by going to the lowly homes of these poor people, from house to house, instead of to the governmental embassies, the consulates and the palaces of the rulers and political representatives of this world. Jesus the now reigning King did not degrade his dignity on earth by going among the lowly, poor, knocked-about people; neither do you. You never degrade your Kingdom dignity even amidst the most squalid places, as long as you obediently, lovingly proclaim God’s now ruling kingdom. You can only degrade and soil your Kingdom dignity by doing wrong, by committing immorality, by going worldly and by not upholding the lofty, noble standards for which God’s ruling kingdom stands. To do such things would mean to lose your precious governmental service.
20. May those missionaries increase what appreciation on their own part and on “other sheep’s” part, with what end in view?
20 May you never lose this service. May you increase your own appreciation of the lofty dignity of your Kingdom ministry, and may you increase the “other sheep’s” appreciation of the theocratic government that you serve in your missionary assignments. May such appreciation ever sustain and uphold you in a righteous, pure course and in faithfulness to your heavenly government. Oh, may you therefore do as Paul did, glorify your ministry by fulfilling your true mission and walking worthily. (Rom. 11:13) Thus may you missionaries all continue in the royal governmental service till the kingdoms of this world are no more and God’s kingdom rules victoriously in the eternal new world.
21. What high honor do all we dedicated ones have today, and who are extraordinarily happy in this connection?
21 In the light of the foregoing address to graduating missionaries, what a high honor we have today to be true evangelists to bring to distressed humanity the best news in all the universe! It is the news of God’s established kingdom, now ruling in the heavens for ridding this earth of Satan’s death-dealing domination and for blessing people of good will in all nations by the Seed of God’s woman. This is the “everlasting good news.” It is the will of the great Evangelist Jehovah God that it be preached among all mankind. Exalted is the privilege of those who now have a part in it. Extraordinarily happy are all those who, like the graduates of the missionary training school of Gilead, arrange their life’s affairs to devote all their time to being evangelists, bearers of the best news of all times concerning God’s kingdom that will continue ruling in glory forever and ever.
a The Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 28, page 281a.