The Gospel is Given by Human Agency

The Gospel is Given by Human Agency


Why doesn't God just save the nations himself? Good question, right?

Why doesn't he just use angels?

Are human being really his first and best plan for his global mission of redemption in this age?

A man by the name of H.P. Tappan answered the question in a message entitled HUMAN AGENCY IN THE EVANGELIZATION OF THE WORLD.

The message was one in a series on the Conversion of the World, he preached at the Central Presbyterian Church, New York, 1857.

In this message he asks,

Why does not God reveal at once the sciences and arts necessary to the spread of the Gospel; or why does he not employ angels instead of men to teach the ignorant and preach the Gospel?

Why does not God, by a signal and inevitable act of his omnipotence, without delay, enlighten and convert all the nations?

God ordained powers and agencies

He answers his own questions by replying

"that all such inquiries imply that God, after having ordained a great system of secondary powers and agencies with their appropriate spheres & agencies ordained for the very purpose of accomplishing certain ends, should, under certain emergencies, set them all aside, and become himself the universal and only agent?-thus capriciously making and unmaking & adopting plans and systems, and nullifying them & calling agents into being and reducing them to nonentity.

As well might we ask, why did God make worlds, and moral and natural agents? Why did he exert his creative powers at all, and not dwell in the eternal solitude of his own infinite being?" (p.8)

Our field is the world

He goes on to write,

"God, in his highest heavens, is doing his own appropriate work, and is co-working in all the subordinate powers and agencies which he has ordained. He has assigned to the heavenly hierarchies, the Cherubim and Seraphim, their appropriate work. He has assigned the great physical powers their appropriate work. He has also given to man his appropriate work; and here it lies & our field is the world. The purification and redemption of our being; the development and redemption of our whole race, this is our work.

He won't take it out of our hands

God does not step down from his high throne to do directly, by his own omnipotence, what he has appointed the angels to do; nor does he remove out of the order of his physical agents what his wisdom at first assigned to their laws and forces; neither does he descend to earth to take out of our hands those great labors of benevolence which fitly belong to us, and thus give us an opportunity to repose in indolence, or to pursue freely & the puerile plans of our own pride, sensuality, and covetousness." (p.9)

He concludes,

It is time that we wake up to the magnitude and reality of this trust. The Gospel is to be given to the world by human agency.
H.P. Tappan

When will world evangelization be accomplished?

"When will it be accomplished? It will be accomplished when those who now have the Gospel do their duty. It might be done now. The Gospel is always attended with the same promises and spiritual influences, and prayer is always heard by the prayer-hearing God. The great failure has been in action.

Has there not been failure in prayer?

Yes, but men will never pray for the conversion of the world effectually and fervently, except as they are actually engaged in propagating the Gospel. Prayer supposes the intensest fervor of the soul, and this fervor will continually leave nothing undone that ought to be done. (p.12)

The agency of devoted people

God has already revealed the power which is to convert the nations & this power lies in and accompanies the Gospel. No less surely has he revealed the agency required, and that is the agency of devoted men. (p.13)

What do you think?

Did Tappan hit the mark?

We'll keep you up to date.