[forthright] True Philanthropy / Indian Territory (2)

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2008 07:32:00 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


So good, it was made into a movie. 'Discovering the
Kingdom of God,' by Tim Hall. Only $6.99. Get it here:
http://forthrightpress.com/#KingdomOfGod


COLUMN: HEAVENLY CONNECTIONS

True Philanthropy
 by Tim Hall

What is the best way to show our love for people?

Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg are men who need little 
introduction. Gates, founder of the Microsoft empire, and 
Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, are both rich beyond 
imagination. On Wednesday of this week, they declared 
their intention to pool some of their resources for a 
worthy cause.

The focus of their efforts is an attempt to curb 
smoking in developing nations. Most in the United States 
now know that smoking cigarettes poses serious threats 
to one's health. People in other countries, like China 
and India, have not been adequately warned, believe 
Bloomberg and Gates. Together they have pledged half a 
billion dollars to fight "a global tobacco epidemic."

We applaud the efforts of these billionaires. Their 
actions qualify as an example of philanthropy. 
Perhaps others will be motivated by their examples to 
be more generous on behalf of others.

The word "philanthropy" comes from the Greek, the 
language of the New Testament. "Phil" refers to 
"love" and "anthropos" is the word for "man". The 
word is found in the Bible, most notably in Titus 3:4-5: 
"But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior 
toward man appeared ... he saved us ..." (NKJV) "Love" 
in that verse is translated from "philanthropia," and 
is a concept upon which our salvation depends. Had God 
not felt this love toward man, we would have been 
abandoned in a hopeless struggle with sin.

If God's love for mankind shows itself in clear and 
powerful ways, should God's people not also seek to 
show their love for others? Can we be described as 
philanthropic?

Helping people attain healthier lifestyles is a noble 
aim, but it falls far short of helping them reach 
salvation. On this point, Paul's questions continue 
to demand an answer: "How then shall they call on him 
in whom they have not believed? And how shall they 
believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how 
shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall 
they preach unless they are sent?" (Romans 10:14,15).

Imagine the eternal good that could be accomplished 
with half a billion dollars! Missionaries could be 
placed in distant locations; radio broadcasts could 
preach God's word where congregations do not yet 
exist; food, clothing and shelter could prepare the 
way for the gospel in areas ravaged by natural 
disaster. People will only be able to call upon the 
Lord when they know about him. Tragically, millions 
in our world have still not heard of Jesus.

We can't wait for a Bill Gates or a Michael Bloomberg 
to fund the spread of the gospel. But thousands of 
Christians can step forward with smaller amounts, and 
this "seed" will go far in reaching the lost 
(see 2 Corinthians 9:6-11). While individual giving 
to charitable institutions declines, disciples who 
trust the promises of God must demonstrate their 
superior philanthropy.

1/ http://www.generousgiving.org/page.asp?sec=4&page=161

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COLUMN: UP FOR THE TASK

Indian Territory (2)
 by Paul Goddard

After leaving Tennessee, Robert Wallace Officer resided 
fifteen miles from Searcy, Arkansas./1 While in Arkansas, 
he farmed and preached for local congregations.

In 1880, he moved to Texas where he began full-time work 
with the Gainesville Church of Christ. This year also 
marks the beginning of his work among the Indians north 
of the Red River in Indian Territory (Oklahoma) where he 
distributed books, papers, and tracts with the aid of an 
interpreter./2 Hearing of this effort, Jacob Creath sent 
much of his library to Officer. In this collection were 
copies of the Millennial Harbinger and papers written by 
Tolbert Fanning. Four years later R.W. Officer remarked, 
"I drove the wedge in Territory..."./3 He was aware of 
the efforts of J.J. Trott and Isaac Mode, but he felt 
their efforts fruitless.

He pointed out his reasons,

"Bro. Trott, of the Christian church, preached for 
a time in the Cherokee Nation, but after his death, 
there being no one to take his place, the interest 
he created in large degree was lost. Some of his 
children took membership with the denominations 
worshiping convenient to them. The circumstances 
which surrounded Bro. Mode, who for the short 
time was employed by the board, hindered him 
from doing much, and for some time he resigned 
and returned to the farm."/4

In 1881, R.W. Officer sent to Alabama for Murrell Askew, 
requesting him to help with the work in Indian Territory. 
Undoubtedly Askew had influenced Officer to work with the 
Indians since Askew was of Choctaw descent.

Reflecting on the this occasion Murrell wrote,

"I confess I had but little confidence in its 
(mission work) success. Others looked upon it 
with some suspicion, and we all wondered why 
Bro. O. did not do like other missionaries 
over here, of the different denominations,  
as we had a missionary society. We were led 
to believe, some of us, that he was working 
up a new thing for his own glory, but are now 
convinced that we were mistaken, for we find 
that it does not divide, but has a tendency 
to bring the churches together in mission-work, 
and that all the money given goes for the 
purpose for which it was given."/5

Askew set up residence in the Chickasaw Nation and 
converted a number of Chickasaws to Christ. In 1883, 
Officer attended the Indian Council at Tishomingo, 
Chickasaw Nation, to obtain permission to establish 
an industrial school for Indian teenagers. Permission 
was granted and he solicited support through a 
Nashville periodical, the "Gospel Advocate."/6

Early in 1884, Officer received word from the 
Chickasaws that Murrell Askew had died. Discouraged 
and alone, Officer continued preaching, determined to 
do his best.

Before Askew's death, Officer had moved his family to 
Paris, Texas. It was in this town that F.D. Srygley 
served as a city evangelist. In connection with the 
Paris congregation Officer wrote, "The spirit of 
improvement still moves among the brethren at Paris. 
They are going at once to work on a dwelling house 
on a church lot. They invite a preachers 
institution to be held with them this winter."/7

By August of 1884, Officer's activities were totally 
sponsored by the Paris congregation. Under the 
direction of elders E.L. Dohoney and W.H. Sludder, 
Officer received $1200 a year./8 He continued his 
regular excursions into Indian Territory, 
concentrating his efforts around Atoka in the 
Choctaw Nation.

1/ R.W. Officer, "Indian Territory," Octographic 
Review 33 (November 27, 1890), 2.
2/ Officer had an Indian friend, Blackhawk, who spoke 
seventeen languages. Officer, "Indian Territory," 
Christian Leader 13 (April 26, 1892), 6. Evidently 
Officer learned Spanish after moving to Texas. Officer, 
"West Texas Mission," Octographic Review 44 
(July 30, 1901), 3.
3/ Officer, "Letter," Gospel Advocate 26 (August 27, 1884), 
546.
4/ Officer, Indian Territory," Octographic Review 33 
(September 25, 1890), 6. Perhaps he was not aware of J.J. 
Ellis or George Owen.
5/ Murrell Askew, "Mission Work," Octographic Review 1 
(January 4, 1887), 3.
6/ Officer, "Letter," Gospel Advocate 26, (1882) p. 546.
7/ Officer, "Letter," Gospel Advocate 25 
(December 12, 1883), 788.
8/ E.L. Dohoney and W.H. Sluder, "News," Gospel Advocate 
25 (November 7, 1883), 708. Officer, "Indian Territory," 
Octographic Review 32 (May 23, 1889), 3.

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