The Support Of Missionaries        

I Corinthians 9:14


     Faithful missionaries and their families are worthy of the highest honor, esteem and love we can bestow upon them. A faithful missionary is a man who preaches the gospel of God's free and sovereign grace in Christ. But they are called to do so in the most trying circumstances. Usually, they have to move far away from family and friends into foreign, often primitive cultures. They give their lives to the work of the gospel in terribly adverse circumstances. It is our privilege and responsibility both to highly esteem them and generously support them as the servants of Christ. We should try to see to it that their lives are as comfortable and free of care as possible.

     Yet, these men are often treated as second class citizens in the kingdom of God. Pastors and churches frequently try to exercise control over missionaries and their works. If they write, call, or visit a missionary, it is only to "check up" on him. A recent experience with our missionaries in Mexico, Walter Groover and Milton Howard, is all too common. When I was pastor at Lookout, West Virginia, I led the church there to start supporting these two men. That was fourteen or fifteen years ago. There is another pastor there now. Last month, Walter and Milton received a letter from that church and pastor. It was the first letter they have received from the church since I left there ten years ago. You guessed it - The letter was written to inform these faithful men that the church would discontinue their support. Why? Because they are not preaching premillenialism! What a shameful foolishness! While the church is debating premillenialism, Walter and Milton are preaching Christ to immortal souls. For that the church voted to cut them off! I am embarrassed for the people I pastored for nine years. May God have mercy upon them.

     Faithful men are worthy of better treatment. We will take up the slack in support, so that God's servants will not suffer need by the wickedness of others. But there is a warning for all local churches in this. Once a congregation is turned aside by satan from the preaching of Christ to the "isms" of religion, there is no end to the evil it may do in the name of God!


Don Fortner