Holiness and missions

by Susan N. Fitkin

Also author of
Grace Much More Abounding
Nazarene Missions in the Orient
Over in Old Mexico

In 1915 Susan Fitkin emerged as the first president of Nazarene Missions International. This booklet, printed in 1940, represents one of Fitkin's major themes. Some minor editing has been done to increase readability.

Susan Fitkin's preface

     This little booklet makes no pretense at being an exhaustive treatise of the idea that the themes of Holiness and World Evangelism are linked together like Siamese twins in God's Word. It is simply a review of a few of the many definite statements and illustrations that have been blessings in my own life.

The missionary information contains only a few of the miracles God has been working in the great foreign missionary program of our church during the past generation.

Contents

  1. Planned in the beginning
  2. Practiced in devotions
  3. Proclaimed by prophets
  4. Taught by the World Redeemer
  5. Demonstrated by the Early Church
  6. Propagated in the Epistles
  7. Ultimately triumphant in Revelation

Foreword

     Holiness and Missions, like Siamese Twins, are inseparable concepts in Holy Scripture. God is a Holy God, manifested as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Bible is a Holy Book, revealing God's plans for a lost and ruined race. God is a missionary God: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

The Bible is a missionary Book. The theme of the Bible is redemption. The central figure is Christ, the foreign missionary who came to make provision that all people might be saved from all sin, that God might have a holy people who would worship and serve Him here and dwell with Him in a holy heaven through all eternity.

Chapter 1 -- Planned in the beginning

     In the dawning light of the beginning of what some call the dispensation of the Father, we find God planning for the redemption of a lost and ruined human race. The promise of a Redeemer brightens the first pages of the history of mankind. In Genesis 3:15 the promised Redeemer is referred to as the seed of the woman. Later, an important step forward in the fulfillment of that promise was taken by the choice of a family which would preserve the knowledge and worship of the true God and from which the promised seed of the woman was to spring.
     Abram was a pioneer missionary. God's words to him in Genesis 12:1-3 are what have been called "The Old Testament Great Commission:" "The Lord had said to Abram, Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you
I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.'"

     Thus called of God, Abram obeyed. He went out from his house in one of the finest cities of the times, and with his little company lived in tents. He traveled across the desert sixteen hundred miles before reaching the promised land. After crossing the River Jordan, he passed into the Valley of Shechem. Here, between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, God appeared to Abram again and gave him the second promise of the possession of the land by his seed. Here Abram built the first of those altars to Jehovah which the patriarchs erected wherever they pitched their tents. A few years later Jehovah, appearing to Abram, renewed the covenant in the new character of father of many nations, in sign whereof He changed his name from Abram (exalted Father) to Abraham (father of a multitude). And Abraham received the definite command, "I am Almighty God; walk before me and be blameless . . . for I have made you a father of many nations" (Genesis 17:1, 5). History tells us that Abraham here received the full divine revelation. In the future he is presented in a higher character than before, and marked peculiarly as "the friend of God." God was there definitely working out His purpose through Holiness and Missions.

Joseph the unique example

     The last thirteen chapters of Genesis contain the narrative of Joseph's life, which may safely be called the most charming of all history. The character of Joseph is one of the purest that we meet in Scripture. Joseph was the favorite son of the Patriarch Jacob, and became a faithful foreign missionary.
     It is true that Joseph did not choose to be a missionary, but God had chosen him, even as He chose Abraham, and as He chooses missionaries today in various ways. While Joseph was still a lad, he received his call and although he did not fully understand its import, he believed it and related it in the home. This brought Joseph much persecution from his jealous brothers. Later he was rescued from a pit where some of his angry brothers had cast him. He was sold to Midianite merchants who carried him to Egypt and sold him to an officer of Pharaoh.
     The favorite son had become a slave in a heathen land. There is no record that Joseph murmured or complained. He was still trusting God, for we read, "The Lord was with Joseph, . . . When his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes . . . Potiphar put him in charge of his household" (Genesis 39:3, 4)
     Not long after that, adversity knocked at the door. Joseph was tempted to sin. When he resisted, he was falsely accused and cast into prison. Again the sacred record declares: "But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden" (Genesis 39:21) and into his hand was committed all the prisoners that were in the prison, "Because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did" (Genesis 39:23)

Interpreting dreams

     After interpreting dreams for servants from the king's palace while reminding them that "interpretations belong to God," Joseph was called to the palace to interpret dreams for Pharaoh. First, however, he testifies, "It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace."
     Joseph interpreted some dreams of Pharaoh to mean there were seven years of famine ahead. He offered some suggestions to Pharaoh on how to deal with that famine and the Egyptian leader exclaimed, "Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the Spirit of God?" (Genesis 41:38) Apparently Pharaoh had caught a glimpse of the true God through the Lord's faithful servant, for he continues, "'Since God has made all this known to you . . You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders.' . . . Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt." (Genesis 41:39-40, 43)
     But this was only a part of God's plan. God was working out His great world program and thus Joseph was going to not only to be a blessing to the Egyptians. Joseph was to preserve the Hebrew nation that they might bear witness down through the centuries to the one true living God, preserve the sacred Scriptures, and eventually produce the promised World Redeemer.
     When the prophesied famine hit Canaan, Joseph's brothers were sent to buy corn from Egypt. This Joseph freely gave them. Later, when he made himself known to his brother, he manifested a beautiful spirit. As he met with them, there was not a word of upbraiding or reproach from him. Instead, he wept over them, telling his brother not to be grieved: "God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance."(Genesis 45:7) He then bade them to return home in haste and bring his father and the entire company, with their flocks and herds. He assured them, "You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me, . . . I will provide for you there." (Genesis 45:10-11)
     Upon their return to Egypt Joseph went out in his chariot to meet his father "and wept for a long time." (Genesis 45:29) Later Joseph brought his father before Pharaoh and the aged patriarch bestowed his blessing upon the mighty king. Then the house of Israel, which then numbered less than one hundred men, settled in one of the richest parts of Egypt. However, Joseph believed so fully that God's plan for this nation would be carried out that, before he died, he ordered that his bones should be carried with them when they did return to Canaan, their promised land.
     Truly, Joseph was a faithful and successful missionary as well as an example of practical holiness of heart and life.

Moses, deliverer and lawgiver

     In the last four books of the Pentateuch we learn about an outstanding leader, Moses. He was a man of marvelous gifts chosen by the Lord for special service.
     The first chapter of Exodus tells of the affliction of the Israelites in Egypt. That came about because "a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt." (Exodus 1:8)
     Though the Hebrew people had multiplied exceedingly, they had also become a race of slaves. The Hebrews' lives were made bitter with their hard bondage. Not long before Moses was born, the new Egyptian king had ordered that every new-born Hebrew son would be thrown into the river. Nevertheless, Moses' life was miraculously spared. Taken to the Egyptian king's palace, Moses was reared as a member of the royal family. Then God heard the cry of His afflicted people and chose Moses to be agent of that answer. Hebrews 11:24 names Moses among the illustrious heroes of faith: "By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter," choosing rather oppression with the people of God, than the fleeting enjoyment of sin.
     Despite this decisive renunciation of worldly honor, Moses was not yet informed of the divine plan for his life. He still needed the experience he would receive at the "burning bush."
     That burning bush scene took place in a desert region where Moses was living after having fled Egypt. One day Moses saw one of the dwarf acacias -- a desert bush -- wrapped in a flame of fire. "Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up." (Exodus 3:2) As Moses drew nearer to look at this marvel, God called to him out of the bush. After commanding Moses to remove his shoes (for the ground was holy), Yahweh announced himself as the God of Moses' "fathers" Abraham and Jacob. God declared He had seen the affliction of His people in Egypt and was come down to deliver them. He then called Moses to go and lead the people out. When Moses pleaded his unworthiness, he was assured of God's presence. Holiness, even in those early days, clearly meant a consciousness of the Divine Presence as well as purity of heart.

The deliverance

     Space allows only a brief mention of the key events in this story of great deliverance. Success was given to Moses in the prolonged contests of will with Pharaoh. The Israelites faithfully followed God's instructions for observing the first Passover, a prototype of redemption by blood. Then, even as they were leaving Egypt, they found themselves facing an impassible barrier, the Red Sea. With the pursuing Egyptians about to catch up with them, God intervened. The waters parted as Moses stretched out his rod at God's command. The Israelites went over on dry ground while their enemies perished behind them. The Israelites halted and had a praise meeting, singing a song of praise for their deliverance. This song of Moses begins:

"I will sing to the Lord, for he I highly exalted. . . . The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. . . . Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you -- majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?" (Exodus 15:1-2, 11)

The giving of the Law

     We are given a little glimpse of God's plan for His people when Moses went up into Mount Sinai. He was given a beautiful message to take back to them: "Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." (Exodus 19:5-6) And all the people answered together and said, "We will do everything the Lord has said." (Exodus 19:8) Notwithstanding that, after the giving of the Ten Commandments, Moses had to become an intercessor to save the people's lives. While he was up on Mt. Sinai communing with the Lord, the people had broken the First Commandment: "You shall have no other gods before me." (Exodus 20:3)

The Tabernacle

     On Mount Sinai, God gave Moses the pattern for the tabernacle with rules to govern worship. The tabernacle consisted of the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. Holiness is a key word in Leviticus where it occurs 87 times. That a holy God must have a holy people -- His saints who had made a covenant with Him by sacrifice -- was a principle as sacred as the consecration of the priests. For both groups, there was the same simple law: "Be holy, for I am holy."
     The "great commandment of the law" referred to in the New Testament is in Deuteronomy 6:4-5: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." The command in Leviticus 19:18, Christ declared, was second unto it: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Provision was made for strangers who desired to join them. The last song of Moses, found in Deuteronomy 32, begins "Listen, O heavens, and I will speak; hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass . . . I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, his works are perfect . . . A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he . . . Rejoice, O nations, with his people."
     Holiness and Missions are clearly key twin elements in God's plan that men and women everywhere may come to know and love Him. He desires that all peoples will worship Him in the "beauty of holiness."

Beginnings in the Church of the Nazarene

     The Church of the Nazarene was born a second blessing holiness church with a definite, world-wide mission: "To Spread Scriptural Holiness Around the World." When the little holiness groups from the East, South and West came together to form the present organization, they already had twenty-five missionaries in five foreign countries. Space will permit but brief mention of a few of the devoted pioneers of those early days.
     Any record, however brief, of the beginning of foreign missionary work in the Church of the Nazarene would be inadequate without recording the fact that much of the work was organized under the direction and supervision of our great missionary warrior, Dr. H. F. Reynolds who was General Missionary Secretary and later General Superintendent.
     In Mexico, the early missionaries were expelled by the government shortly after the church was organized, but V. G. Santin, C. E. Morales and Santos Elizondo have led the faithful on victoriously.
     In Central America, Rev. and Mrs. R. S. Anderson, Mrs. Eugenia Coats, Rev. and Mrs. R. C. Ingram and Miss Leona Gardner have been pressing the battle successfully all these years.
     Roger and Esther Carson Winans will always be associated with the beginnings in Peru as will Rev. and Mrs. Frank Ferguson in Argentina.
     In Africa, Rev. and Mrs. Harmon Schmelzenbach and Rev. and Mrs. H. A. Shirley planted the gospel seed which is today bringing a bountiful harvest. Dr. C. B. West soon arrived to open much needed medical work. The first building of the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital was erected and the work began. Later Dr. and Mrs. Hynd were sent out. They built a larger hospital and have carried on the work with marked success.
     In India, Rev. and Mrs. L. S. Tracy, Dr. Julia Gibson, Rev. and Mrs. R. G. Codding, Rev. and Mrs. A. D. Fritzlan, Mrs. Eva Carpenter Roby, Rev. and Mrs. George Franklin, Rev. and Mrs. P. L. Beals and Rev. and Mrs. John McKay labored faithfully with gracious results.
     In China, Rev. and Mrs. Peter Kiehn were the earliest pioneers. They were the spiritual parents to a host on our great China district. Later, Dr. C. E. West was transferred from Africa to begin medical work. He was joined by Dr. and Mrs. R. G. Fitz and Dr. J. Hester Hayne as the splendid Bresee Memorial Hospital was established. That hospital has been a great blessing to the district in China.
     In Japan, Rev. Mrs. M. L. Staples and Mr. I. B. Staples, Rev. Hiroshi Kitagawa, Rev. and Mrs. W. A. Eckel and Rev. and Mrs. Paul C. Thatcher won many Japanese to Christ.
     In Palestine and Syria, Rev. and Mrs. A. H. Kauffman, Rev. S. C. Krikorian, Rev. M. A. Thahabiyah and Rev. Moses Hagopian were efficient pioneers who carried the gospel light to many needy souls.
     Among the Portuguese on the Cape Verde Islands, Rev. John Diaz, a national evangelist, was a lone pioneer for many years. Rev. and Mrs. Everette Howard are now faithfully carrying on and having outstanding victories.
     In the British West Indies, Rev. and Mrs. J. I. Hill were pioneers among the descendants of the Africans who had been brought there as slaves generations before, and whose hearts were hungry for the "Good News" of salvation.
     All the Nazarene work in foreign lands has been graciously owned and blessed of God since the beginning. These and other pioneers labored faithfully. New ones joined them down through the years, and many splendid national evangelists -- saved and sanctified wholly -- have co-operated heartily with them. Together, they have gathered into the Nazarene family over 16,000 spiritual members on our twelve foreign mission fields around the world. . . .[ Nazarene outreach today ] [ continue reading ]

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Holiness and missions in the Psalms

Next chapterDavid's writings often have the twin themes of holiness and missions intertwined. See how in chapter 2 of Susan Fitkin's booklet. [ read more ]

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