Russian Orthodox Missions — November 23, 2009 at 11:56 am

Having thought much about the way in which missionary work ought to be conducted, he (Nicolai) had already prepared a set of rules for a society of evangelists that he hoped to organize.

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Having thought much about the way in which missionary work ought to be conducted, he had already prepared a set of rules for a society of evangelists that he hoped to organize. These rules are interesting as showing his early recognition of the importance of making converts work for the salvation of others, and also because the plan here marked out is in the main the same that was afterwards used with good results. So here are Nicolai’s rules:

Rules

“The evangelists shall be organized as a deliberative body.

“These evangelists shall teach Christian truth to other people while still continuing to study it for themselves.

“There shall be two kinds of meetings. In the first, the evangelists, together with others who know the essential doctrines but desire further study, shall meet to read and explain the New Testament. Such meetings shall be held twice a week, the evangelists taking turns in conducting them. None of the number should fail to attend; if any person is unavoidably prevented from coming, he ought before the next meeting to learn from someone else what was said. The second meeting is for the benefit of those – whether men, women, or children – who are commencing to study Christian doctrines. The evangelists shall explain to them the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Ten Commandments. This meeting shall be held twice a week. The evangelists shall divide the people into classes for instruction. If for any reason a person is not present at a meeting, the evangelist shall ask some one of the absentee’s family to inform him of what was said or shall go himself to the person’s house for that purpose.

“In neither kind of meeting shall there be discussion until after the explanation is finished, although the meaning may be asked of anything that has not been understood.

“Besides conducting the two kinds of meetings already mentioned, the evangelists shall go about the city every day trying to win new enquirers. If among those interested are persons unable to attend the meetings, the evangelists shall go to their houses in order to explain the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Ten Commandments. This is to be regarded as of prime importance and should be done even if, for lack of time, the evangelist is obliged to omit the meeting for reading the New Testament.

“When person have thoroughly learned the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, and are established in the faith, they shall be presented to the priest for baptism.

“Whenever any point of doctrine is not understood, it shall be brought to the priest for explanation, and, if it’s a matter of importance, the explanation shall be written down in a notebook.

“On Sundays the Association of Evangelists shall meet at the house of the priest to report what has been done during the previous week, as well as to consult together and decide on what shall be done in the week to come. These decisions shall be recorded by the evangelists in their notebooks.

“A record shall be kept of baptisms, births, marriages, and deaths.

“”A book for recording receipts and expenditures shall be prepared and put in the care of a person to be chosen by the Association.

“The money first collected shall be used for the propagation of Christianity.

“When sufficient money has been gathered, a young man shall be taught the Russian language and sent to a theological school in Russia. On the completion of his education, he shall return to Japan and there establish a school for teaching Christian doctrine and the sciences. He shall also translate religious books. Another young man shall be sent to a medical school in Russia and on completing his studies shall return to found a hospital and a medical school.

“When the number of baptized believers reaches five hundred, one of the evangelists shall be chosen for sending to Russia that he may be ordained to the priesthood. Afterwards, one person shall be ordained for every additional five hundred converts. When there are five thousand believers, a request shall be made for the appointment of a bishop.

“The evangelists who go to teach Christianity in the different provinces shall strictly observe the above rules.”

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