The Methods of Missions -- By: Raymond B. Buker

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 111:443 (Jul 1954)
Article: The Methods of Missions
Author: Raymond B. Buker

The Methods of Missions

Raymond B. Buker

[Editor’s Note: The following article by Dr. Buker was given as an address at the second annual Dallas Theological Seminary Missions Conference March 8–11, 1954. Dr. Buker is a veteran missionary to India who now serves as Foreign Secretary of the Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society.]

The title of this discussion is extremely ambitious. It is too comprehensive. When the scope of the title was first comprehended, we thought of changing it to “A Method in Missions.” Further consideration, however, caused us to revert to the present wording. We recognize that a book could be written on the many methods used in pursuing missionary work. We realize there are many types and forms of missionary work, all of which have certain virtues—and might we add—certain negative characteristics.

We wish to limit this discussion to the New Testament church and the methods that may be involved in establishing or planting this form of a church. Much has been written and a great deal more has been said in discussions, private and public, concerning the indigenous church. We do plan that this particular discussion will devote itself mainly to this method, that is, to an indigenous missionary work. We would, at the outset, however, emphasize that the main goal of missionary work is the establishment of the New Testament church, the planting of this particular form of an organization. We are convinced that the New Testament church is indigenous—hence, the justification for discussing at length this indigenous procedure. The expressions New Testament Church and indigenous church to us are synonymous. If for any reason there is a difference, it may be understood from the beginning that our emphasis and authority and goal is the New Testament church.

Definition of an Indigenous Church

Frequently we have been accused of discussing this subject at some length without having established our position or made clear the meaning of the word indigenous. We wish therefore, at the beginning to give some definition of this word, with the hope that we may proceed with a mutual understanding of what we are considering. One writer has defined it as follows: “The word indigenous is derived from two Latin words—indu—meaning in, plus gignere—meaning to beget. Thus the terms refer to a church or a group of ‘called-out ones’ (Gr. ekklesia), begotten from within and therefore stands for native maintenance of the church enterprise.”

In a brochure which was presented to the Board of the Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society we have used the fo...

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