This Day in Presbyterian History:
A National Historic Site for Presbyterians
We may well wonder whether such a historic site would be established in the twenty-first century, given our anathema and apathy toward spiritual matters in our land. But it was set apart in the early part of the twentieth century by none other than the United States Congress and signed by President Franklyn D. Roosevelt on June 29, 1936. It honored Presbyterian home medical missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, who were martyred for their faith and deeds in 1847 by the very Indian tribe they had gone to evangelize and disciple. (See August 18 and October 13, for other days regarding their godly faith and deeds.)
The Whitmans had joined the Henry Spaldings (also Presbyterian missionaries with a zeal to win native Indians to Christ) on a trip to the northwest territories. Accompanying a group of fur traders, they had traveled west across the Continental divide. The two missionary women were the first white women to do that. Arriving near present day Walla Walla, Washington, they set up their medical center and mission church. But growing tensions soon arose due to the presence of Western immigrants, many led by Marcus Whitman himself as “trail boss,” and a measles outbreak, which killed half of the tribe. Blaming the deaths on the Whitmans, the Cayuse Indians massacred the Whitmans and eleven other people at the mission compound.
The bill signed into law creating the public national site and monument to the Whitman’s has some interesting words for a national historic site. It reads in part that they “established their Indian missions and school, and ministry to the physical and spiritual needs of the Indians until massacred” by the Indians.
Marcus Whitman saved Oregon for the United States by developing the Oregon Trail.
Words to Live By: What would you be willing to do for the sake of strangers outside of Christ in undeveloped countries of the world? Not all of us are called to go, but all of us are to be willing to pray and support those who are called to spread the unsearchable riches of Christ in these way. Are you doing so now? If not, consider beginning today to be “the support staff” of missionaries of the cross at home or in far away places.
Through the Scriptures: Amos 4 – 6
Through the Standards: Proof texts of the first commandment.
“You shall have not other gods before Me.” (NASB)
1 Chronicles 28:9
“As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts.” (NASB)
Isaiah 43:10, 11
“‘You are My witnesses,’ declares the LORD, ‘And My servant whom I have chosen, In order that you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me. I, even I, am the LORD’ And there is no savior besides Me.'” (NASB)
1 Corinthians 8:4 – 6
“Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we exist through Him.” (NASB)