John Livingston Nevius biography, was an American missionary who served the Lord in China for forty years. His ministry and writings on indigenous church planting greatly influenced the missionaries in China and Korea not only during his lifetime but also afterward.
Nevius attended the Union College in New York and then went to Princeton Seminary for theological studies. It was at Princeton that he realized his call for missions and considered it a privilege.
He applied to the Presbyterian Board of Missions, which assigned him to Ningpo, China. Along with his wife, Helen, he sailed to China in 1853 and arrived at Ningpo six months later.
John Livingston Nevius ministry in China
In China, he was engaged in itinerant preaching most of the year and in intensive discipleship training during the remaining time. His ministerial journeys were arduous, which he often made on horseback. Nevius emphasized especially the importance of establishing self-supporting churches.
He was against the idea of missionaries being paid salaries from other countries; instead, he encouraged his coworkers to work on faith lines. He did not believe in constructing mission-funded formal church buildings and furnishings. But he urged the believers to make arrangements for worship services by themselves, however small they are, for their own blessings.
His ministry methods reduced the western influence on the local church activities and shaped the church to be more indigenous. However, his ideas were fiercely criticized by his own colleagues, who were overtly dependent on foreign funding.
In 1877 when a severe famine struck China, Nevius was involved in the relief work that helped him reach many with the Gospel. He insisted that the heathen must first be brought to the knowledge of Christ and only then be given a Bible so that the Holy Spirit will unlock the mysteries of Scriptures to them.
The tireless servant of God, responsible for a thriving church planting ministry in China and Korea, went to his heavenly abode in 1893.
Beloved, are you serving God on faith lines?Take away from the article
“Lord, let me always rely on you to produce lasting spiritual fruits. Amen!”Word of Prayer
John Livingston Nevius
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