Conditions in Great Britain are such that Christians long accustomed to gathering on simple New Testament lines do not always realise the practical value of these principles and how much they owe to them. Less favourable conditions in other countries impose severer tests which, nevertheless, serve only to vindicate the Scriptural order. Gift is developed, initiative is encouraged and brethren become fitted for responsibility so that Churches instead of depending on the foreign missionary become self-supporting centres of aggressive evangelism, thereby escaping many of the handicaps and dangers inseparable from humanly devised constitutions. For a variety of reasons there are perhaps few better examples than the Argentine.
Several years ago a high ecclesiastical authority in South America asked me the secret of our progress in the Silver Land, how on every hand we had such flourishing assemblies and such a splendid band of native workers, etc.? I replied that faithfulness to the Lord and to the “constitution” set forth in the New Testament had much to do with it.
The suitability of this constitution amongst representatives of so many nations – and truly the Argentine is the most cosmopolitan country in Latin South America – is absolutely perfect. We have seen it in practice, and we can truly testify that “there is none like it.”
How beautiful it is to see so many thriving assemblies in this vast field! Many are the nations represented in these congregations, yet “all ONE in Christ Jesus.” With believers from several Latin American Republics, Spain, Italy, Russia, Poland, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Yugoslavia, Sweden, Norway, Syria, Armenia, and several other countries we have enjoyed such sweet fellowship. To see all gathered together in the feast of remembrance would be a spiritual tonic to many. Ofttimes in the conferences and meetings held, representatives from many lands contribute varied and refreshing ministry. Their love, zeal and enthusiasm are contagious. We have such fine and faithful Argentine brethren too, men of talent and vision (not visionaries). What gifts God has given us in many of these churches!
We have been greatly blessed in South America not only with a noble band of missionaries but also with a splendid group of brethren employed on the railways and in the Banks, etc., who dedicate very much of their time and talent in the furtherance of the Gospel. Their “labour of love” has yielded a rich harvest. That so many churches have been established – each one with its own autonomy – is in a great measure the result of their untiring labours plus the very effectual help given by native Christians. In these assemblies one finds brethren whose hearts are permeated with the love of God, and who “pastor” the flock in very truth.
Of late years it has been our joy to see keen interest amongst the churches for the evangelisation of their own country! At the present time 29 of their own workers dedicate their whole time for this purpose. The members of the different churches have also nobly responded as they increasingly realise their responsibility for supporting these men.
Another interesting feature in the work is the publication of several useful and helpful monthly magazines, which is almost entirely in the hands of our beloved Argentine Brethren. All the editors of these magazines with one exception are Argentines. Two of these monthlies – “El Despertar” and “Campo Misionero” are published by young people. Two of the three editors of the former are doctors and the third is a professor in one of our universities.
Such has been the result of the solid foundation set by those noble missionary pioneers – Ewen, Torre, Payne, Langran, Clifford and others, that today, according to the report given by one of our senior workers, about 200 churches have been established in the Silver Land all seeking to follow the simple Scriptural pattern.
May the Lord help us all to cleave fast to His Word and to strengthen what the devil would like to weaken.