Moses Drury Hoge on the Relation of the Westminster Standards to Foreign Missions

 On the Log College Press Compilations page, you will find the Memorial Volume of the Westminster Assembly, 1647-1897, a wonderful collection of essays about the formation and theology of the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms. One of the important articles in that book was written by Moses Drury Hoge, pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Virginia, entitled "Relation of the Westminster Standards to Foreign Missions." Hoge examines some of the historical reasons why the churches who adopted the Standards were not as possessed of a missionary spirit as they ought to have been; the missionary vision of the Standards; and the ministries of Alexander Duff, missionary to India, and John Leighton Wilson, missionary to western Africa. All who love to see the gospel go forth will be encouraged by Hoge's reflection.

Here's an important slice from Hoge on how the Westminster Standards ground missions in the biblical doctrine of the church: "The true theory of missions is one that clearly recognizes the fact that the great head of the church has not only committed to it the truths necessary to salvation, but has provided it with the government, the laws, the offices, and the equipment for building up the kingdom of God and extending its conquests through the world. This is in accordance with the spirit and teaching of the Westminster Standards, in proof of which we need only quote their noble testimony: "Unto this catholic, visible church Christ has given the ministry, the oracles and ordinances of God for the gathering and perfecting of the saints in this life and to the end of the world; and this he doth by his own presence and Spirit, according to his promise, made effectual thereto." Thus are the scattered sheep ''gathered" from the North and the South, the East and the West, into the safe and happy fold of the Good Shepherd. By its divine constitution the church is, therefore, qualified to secure all the spiritual ends for which it was instituted, and is in itself a missionary society of which every communicant is a member; and as each one has a recognized place in it because of its representative form of government, this very fact is calculated to enlist the sympathies, to deepen the sense of responsibility, and to stimulate to the most earnest, practical activity on the part of every member of the great household of faith."

May those who live under the teaching of the Westminster Standards be impelled more and more to bring the gospel to the nations!