New Era In World Missions

A Great and Insistent Issue. We have observed in the preceding chapters unmistakable signs of a renaissance in Asia. We have traced the development of the new era in Japan, Korea, China, India, and the Near East. The evidence and the argument of these facts is cumulative. Taking Asia as a whole it presents the greatest and most insistent issue before the Church and the world today. It is an issue big and imperative enough to save us from ourselves, and to call us to sober thought and to united action.

Mission Board and Student Volunteer Factors. If we look back over the last century, not only in the East but also in the West, we find it is equally evident that we have entered upon a new era at the home base of missions. The past century has been one of organization and coordination of the forces of Protestant Christendom. In 1793 Carey organized the Baptist Missionary Society in England. Following upon the Haystack prayer-meeting at Williamstown, American missions began with the organization of the American Board in 1810. The Edinburgh Missionary Conference reported 994 missionary organizations at the present time. To undertake the evangelization of the non-Christian world, the first need of the missionary societies was men to send abroad. In the providence of God the student movement, which culminated in the organization of the Student Volunteer Movement in 1886 and the World’s Student Christian Federation in 1895, is now providing men for this great world missionary movement. Already more than 7,000 volunteers from Anglo-Saxon countries have reached the field and have entered upon missionary work abroad. The Student Federation in 1913 embraced 2,305 Associations, with a membership of 156,071 students and professors.

Awakening of the Whole Church. But missionary societies and student volunteers alone were not enough to insure the success of the missionary under-taking. Nothing less than the arousing of the whole Church is adequate to the winning of the whole world. In a providential way the various young people’s missionary movements, both in America and abroad, together with the great Sunday-school movement, have been preparing the younger generation to undertake a new missionary crusade. The more than 5,000,000 young people who are now organized in these movements, and the 15,000,000 children in the Sunday schools of North America, are being reached and influenced by the missionary message, in a way that was undreamed of in any previous generation. The Missionary Education Movement is doing a notable work. in the great cause of missionary education. More than a million books have been issued, and at least an equal number of young people have been engaged in the study of missions. Last year more than 40,000 students also in the colleges of North America were enlisted in mission study.

Laymen and Total Gifts. But the laymen remained as the greatest unutilized asset of the Christian Church. The Laymen’s Missionary Movement and the Men and Religion Movement in North America have done much to quicken the conscience of American laymen. Their call to an ” every member canvass,” by which each member of a congregation is invited to contribute something to the cause of missions at home and abroad; the arousing of the con-science of the laity through conventions and conferences ; the emphasis upon the sacred responsibility of stewardship, have led to an increase in the contributions for foreign missions. The world’s gifts to foreign missions during the last century, according to Mr. W. E. Doughty, have increased more than three hundred-fold, rising from $100,000 annually to more than $30,000,000 a year at the present time. The gifts from the Christians of North America alone now total $15,600,000 annually.

Coordination through Edinburgh Conference. But even the organization of so many scattered missionary societies, the raising up of student volunteers, the education of young people, and the arousing of the laity were not enough for the adequate entrance of the Church upon the new era in world missions. The coordination of the missionary forces of Protestant Christendom at the home base and abroad was still lacking. The Edinburgh Missionary Conference, held in 1910, provided just this unification and coordination of the missionary forces. Just as the Balkan Allies, who had each in turn been defeated and crushed by the power of the Turk, became invincible when united in the face of their common foe, so 994 scattered missionary organizations, working abroad without coordination and oftentimes with overlapping and competition, could not achieve what the same forces could do if mobilized by a common plan of campaign. Just as the people of India, as long as they are divided by caste, race, and religion, are helpless and unable to govern themselves, so the missionary forces could not hope to wield full power without some national or international strategy. At the Edinburgh Conference for the first time all the great forces of Protestant Christendom were drawn together. While many inspirational conventions pass, leaving no tangible result, the effects of the Edinburgh Conference seem steadily to grow with each passing year. The great step forward taken in the matter of Christian unity became incarnated and perpetuated in the Continuation Committee, representing the various Protestant missionary societies of Europe and North America. Through the pages of The International Review of Missions, through the thorough investigation of the great problems of missions by the various commissions appointed by this Continuation Committee, and through a closer coordination of all the Protestant forces working on the foreign field and at the home base, there is hope of a new science of missions being patiently and steadily built up. We may now think together, plan together, and act together.

Coordination of Field Forces India. But one further step was needed to complete the great work begun by the Edinburgh Conference; that was the coordination of the forces on the field. The Continuation Committee Conferences conducted by the chairman of that Committee through the twenty-one great centers of Asia in 1912-13, took the first step toward the accomplishment of this end, just as the Edinburgh Conference had drawn together the societies at the home base. Asia was divided into twenty-one convenient areas, and under the direction of the Continuation Committee, Dr. Mott, as its chairman, was requested to conduct conferences in each area, calling together both the native leaders and the foreign missionaries of each district. First of all, such conferences were held in the chief city of each of the eight provinces of India, Burma, and Ceylon. Practically all of the great Protestant Christian, communions were rep-resented in these conferences. The Syrian Church of Travancore, which has been for fifteen centuries in India, for the first time in its history sent delegates to a Christian conference with the other great communions, where they met on terms of equality and brotherhood. The venerable metropolitan, Mar Dionysius, was himself present at the Madras Conference. At the close of each conference, committees on findings or recommendations were asked to re-port. At the close of the provincial conferences throughout India a national conference was conducted in Calcutta, attended by the leaders appointed by each province. It was probably the most representative and the strongest group of missionaries and Indian leaders ever gathered in the history of Indian missions.

India National Missionary Council. Before this conference closed it appointed a National Missionary Council, which will unite for the first time, in the fullest sense, all the Protestant Christian forces in India. Bishop Lefroy, the new metropolitan of India, is the convener of this committee. A Board of Survey was appointed to make a thorough study of the Indian field. Educational unions are being established or strengthened to unite the forces of educational missions in the different parts of India. Union institutions for training Christian teachers, for the higher education of women, for medical work, and for language, study were recommended, together with united evangelistic campaigns. Every one attending this great series of conferences was struck by the dominant note of unity, and the growing consciousness of the Christian body as it is being knit together for a great, united, and forward movement on the mission field. The most representative Indian Christian in South India said that the first provincial conference had advanced the cause of missions in his field by a full generation. The Bishop of Madras in writing of this series of conferences says: ” They have been unique in the forethought with which they have been planned and organized, in the thoroughness of their work, in the completeness of the arranging and focusing the best thought and experience of the Indian field, and the wise provision of an adequate machinery for making the findings effective in the future.”

Action in China. The conferences in China were similar to those held in India, and were even more urgently needed, as they came at a time of real crisis in the missions of that country. The Chinese and foreign forces were drawn more closely together, and a deeper sense of unity among the various bodies working in the Chinese Republic was created by the provincial and national conferences. These also resulted in the appointment of a National Committee, which will draw together the Protestant missionary societies working in that land.

Wide Coordination in Japan. In Japan also similar conferences were held, first with the missionaries, then with the Japanese Christian leaders, and finally a united conference of both bodies. Six of the seven Anglican and Episcopal Bishops of Japan were present, as were the leading Bishops of the Anglican communion throughout the rest of Asia. Bishop Hiraiwa, the Japanese leader of the United Methodist bodies, Bishop Sergius of the Russian Orthodox Mission, together with three other delegates from the Greek Church in Japan, including the editor of its periodical and the principal of its theological college, attended the Japanese conference. These leaders, both japanese and foreign, voted to recommend an addition of nearly double the force of evangelistic missionaries; they called for the establishment of a union Christian university to crown the Christian educational system of Japan, the founding of a Christian college for women, and the cooperation of Protestant Christian bodies in a three years’ united evangelistic campaign.

As in India and China, a Continuation Committee of Japan was organized, with forty-five members, to represent the various Japanese Churches and Christian foreign missionary societies of the country.

Drawn Together by the Spirit. The organization of these national committees will coordinate the missionary forces in each field, and unite them for efficient cooperation with the Continuation Committee of the Edinburgh Conference at the home base, which draws together all the Protestant foreign missionary societies of Europe and America. It was said at Edinburgh that real unity of the missionary forces on the foreign field would be equivalent to doubling the present force of workers. Is it not evident that we are being drawn together at home and abroad under the unmistakable guidance of God’s Spirit toward the answer of that last prayer of our Lord ” that they may all be one . that the world may believe that thou didst send me ? ”

Divine Preparation for an Advance. Thus we see that God has been working to prepare the East-ern nations politically, economically, and religiously for a new era, and at the same time he has been preparing the Christian forces at the home base to take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity in order that we may “go up and possess the land.” ” All things are now ready.” What then is the need of the hour, and what is our duty as we face this new era in world missions?

Call for Men and Fair Play. There is a call for men today. The present force is utterly inadequate.

We do not agree with many of the mechanical and numerical calculations which call for an impossible number of men, but all will agree that there is need at least speedily to double our forces abroad. At the moment of writing the eye of the writer falls on a letter just received from the head of one of the leading educational institutions of North America, who has recently returned from a trip through the Orient. Writing with deep feeling, he says : ” Were I ten years younger China would have the call on my services. She is just now in a remarkable condition, one that tends to rouse the fighting spirit of any red-blooded man who believes in fair play. My blood was boiling most of the time as I witnessed with my own eyes the prostitution to selfish and sordid ends of our vaunted Western civilization, by the Western business man, politician, and adventurer. What can we do to wipe out that blot, and give the Chinese at least a fair field in which to wage their fight for the higher life ? ” Many college presidents, pastors, and leaders in the home field are saying the same today.

Summons to Younger Workers. But there are others who are still young. There are students who have not yet decided their life-work. This call comes to you. Why should you go abroad? First of all, is there not a greater need in the foreign field? Re-member that half the world has never. yet heard of Christ. And how does that other half live? That is the half that is poor to-day. The average income throughout India, China, and the poorer nations of Asia is not over ten cents per day per capita. Famine raises its gaunt form almost every year in these non-Christian lands. Forty millions go to sleep every night in India hungry, upon a mud floor, and many are dying in the perennial famines in China. Butt the physical famine is but a faint and feeble outward symbol of the deeper spiritual poverty of these lands. Half the world is without any medical knowledge worthy of the name. Roughly about half the world today is without education, and cannot read or write in any language. Half the world is without the social rights of manhood, womanhood, or childhood. And is it a mere coincidence that this section of the world is the half that is without Christ? There is need at home, but can you name any need here that is not only equaled but multiplied many-fold abroad ? There is the need of the city slum and the country district, but there are Protestant church-members in America to meet that need. Rouse your imagination to face these two hemispheres of the East and of the West as God must see them. Of every thousand Christians, we send less than one to that other half that is poor, sick, ignorant and without the Christian gospel ; while more than 999 out of every thousand remain here at home.

Great Opportunities. Not only is there a greater need abroad, but there is also a greater opportunity. The average foreign missionary, despite the lack of backing we give him, wins several times more converts than the average Christian worker at home. Think of the opportunity before you abroad. We are dealing with continents. It is ours to uplift nations, to mold new societies, to build a new humanity, and to lay foundations where no other man has labored. Think of the opportunity of the scholar and of the apologist to-day ! We still need men like Carey, who, with his fellow workers, bequeathed the gospel in forty languages to millions ; or Morrison, who made the Scriptures accessible to one quarter of the human race. A new apologetic literature awaits creation in these awakening and intellectual, nations of the Orient. Think of the opportunity of the evangelist ! The writer recalls three of his friends in India, each of whom had the care of a parish containing more than 20,000 Christians, and the guidance of, and friendly cooperation with, more than 300 native workers. In northern Bengal each missionary has a parish of some two million souls. The writer recalls that in his own field in India there were more than fifty churches and as many schools, some 5,000 Christians, and nearly half a million non-Christians to evangelize, with a force of a hundred workers, with whom it was a joy and a privilege to labor.

Fields for Medical Work. Think of the opportunity of the Christian doctor. Many a medical man in Asia today is handling major operations, and treating through his native fellow workers the sick and suffering of a district of more than five millions of people, who have no other trained physician to whom they can go for relief. Think of the privilege of the union medical colleges of China to-day, which will train hundreds of Chinese Christian physicians, and give a new scientific medicine to one fourth of the human race !

Openings for Christian Teachers. Think of the opening before the Christian teacher who can lead these bright and inquiring minds to the truth, under the powerful influence that every teacher of character possesses over the Oriental mind. Or measure the opportunity in student work in this awakening continent of Asia today. Think of those bright minds in the Imperial University of Japan, darkened by the shadows of atheism, agnosticism, or materialism ; or those thousands of government students in China today, so open and eager and responsive! Even as we go to press the last letter from China brings news of nearly a thousand of these inquirers from the recent campaign already baptized or received into the Christian Church on probation. Think of the 30,000 university and professional students of that great intellectual land of India, with its splendid systems of philosophy and its ancient faiths. The students will lead Asia for Christ or against him, for a civilization that will be either spiritual or material, Christian or anti-Christian, for Mammon or for God.

Forestalling Peril. Were this opportunity neglected or spurned, it would mean more than a yellow peril, it would be an Asiatic peril, the danger of a great material civilization, armed with all the enginery of war and unchecked by Christian principles. Or, to change the figure, the sins of these men could be-come a virus to poison the very springs of life, not only in the East but in the West as well.

Facing the Need. If the choice of your life-work lies still before you, face this need abroad; realize this overwhelming opportunity, and ask yourself if the presumption is not in favor of the greater need and the greater opportunity. Confronted by such conditions, a deepening sense of duty is the guidance of God. And may that joyful experience come to many a man. For here is the greatest call for men and women in all the world today.

The Call for Money. The new era in world missions constitutes also a call for money. In the providence of God a few workers at the front are not allowed the entire blessing of winning the world in the pouring out of sacrifice and life. Only as the whole Church cooperates can this work be done. God has made these workers at the front dependent upon those at home for support by finances and by prayer. What is there but the great missionary movement abroad and the social needs at home that can save the Church in this age of materialism and of rapidly in-creasing wealth? One thousandth part of the annual increase in the wealth of the Christians of the United States would furnish all the money that is needed to carry on the entire foreign missionary enterprise. Even to support the maximum number of missionaries that are asked for by the most advanced plans of today would require a gift of only $2.50 per year, or one carfare a week, from the average church-member. But the fact that so many are not contributing anything places a double burden of responsibility for sacrifice upon the few who have caught the vision and who know the facts. Our present giving is pitifully inadequate for the winning of Asia, or to meet the demands of the new era in world missions. In one city the writer found a man who was laying up $6,000,000 a year in profits, but he refused to give a penny to any object at home or abroad. No human need appeals to him.

Repudiated Obligation. A prominent minister pointed out that in a recent daily paper the will transmitting one of the largest fortunes of the United States left not one penny to charity, to missions, or to the needs of men, while side by side with this there was the statement that the flag of the country had been trampled down by socialists in their bitter cry against the grasping of wealth unjustly hoarded. Is there no connection between these two facts?

True Stewardship. It is easy for all of us to point out prominent public men who we think ought to give more, and to say how much good they could do if they would only use their wealth, but the same principle applies to each one of us. How many of us have thoughtfully and prayerfully faced the question of our stewardship? What proportion of your income did you give last year to the advancement of God’s kingdom, and what proportion did you spend upon yourself? Do you give prayerfully, gladly, generously? Do you have a plan of systematic and proportionate giving? ” It is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.” How many of us will receive from the Master the ” well done, good and faithful servant” because of the right use of our stewardship?

Poor yet Enriching Many. The writer recalls a poor girl, working in one of the great cities of this country, who, not able to go abroad herself, saved and sent abroad a portion of her slender income until today there is a community of over a thousand souls in North India who have been gathered into the kingdom through the native workers supported by the gifts of this one poor girl.

Lines of Personal Support. How many of these people in Asia have you and I helped? In many districts $3 a month will support a native teacher; $12 a year will educate a boy in a boarding-school ; $20 will build a small school or church; $30 to $50 will support a native worker for a year. This does not mean that you should ask your missionary society to assign you a particular pupil, or request an over-worked missionary to lay aside his important duties to correspond with you about some particular native worker. This would greatly increase the cost of the administration of your own board and it would take the time of both native workers and foreign missionaries from the great work to which they have set their hands. But it does mean that every dollar counts, that your board. is carrying on just such work, and that every cent you save and send will be used in the wisest way for the expansion of the kingdom and the meeting of the present crisis in Asia.

Fruit from Larger Sums. To educate a young man in an expensive college in this country would cost perhaps $4,000 for a full college course. That sum will meet the deficit and run an entire mission college in parts of the East for a year, helping to instruct several hundred Christian students and as many non-Christians, supporting a college which is a center of light and influence in a large district numbering several million of inhabitants. Do not fear that your money will be wasted. The cost of administration of the various mission boards varies from three to twelve percent., which is a better percentage than most of our great industrial corporations at home. For the writer’s own mission station in India the board appropriated only about $1,300 annually. This would pay the salary of one worker in this country, but in India it was expected to pay the salary of thirty native workers, to run a boarding-school, fifteen day-schools, thirty congregations, struggling toward self-support, and carry on evangelistic work among thousands of non-Christians. A little calculation will show how much room there was for waste or extravagance upon a budget of this amount.

Work Enough.” There are still those who make the threadbare and outworn excuse that they ” do not believe in foreign missions.” But again let us ask, where would we have been without foreign missions? There are some who tell us that there is ” work enough at home.” So there is, but work enough for what? Work enough to make us blush that we our-selves have done so little. Yes, work enough to make us resolve, here and now, to do more. But work enough to make us neglect the great command of Christ and the need of half the human race when we have men and money enough to give the whole world the gospel? Never.

A Call to Prayer. The new era in world missions is above all a call to prayer. The Edinburgh Conference, representing the leaders of all the forces of Protestant Christendom, set apart the best portion of the day for the great ministry of intercession, placing prayer above work in its potency and power. In the report of their commission on the Home Base they summon the Church to a new ministry of intercession.

Voice of Edinburgh Conference. This conviction was voiced by the Edinburgh Conference as follows: ” No thoughtful reader of the Gospels can fail to recognize the preeminent place which Jesus Christ gave to prayer, both in his teaching and in the practise of his own life. The greatest leaders of the missionary enterprise have been men of prayer. The volume of testimony is overwhelmingly that ‘ Prayer is power; the place of prayer is the place of power; the man of prayer is the man of power.’

Conditions Call for Prayer. ” The need of prayer for missions is evident when we give thought to the circumstances under which missionary work is carried on. Were missionaries to go forth, a company of strangers and foreigners, to ask the peoples of Asia and Africa to change some habit of dress or social custom their task might seem almost impossible. How infinitely more difficult it is to ask these peoples to accept a teaching that will revolutionize their whole life ! There is nothing magical in the crossing of the seas that renders missionaries immune from the temptations, the weaknesses of character, the unbelief that deadens the life of the Church that sends them forth. The project might well seem hopeless, unless we believed in the spiritual resource of prayer. The neglect of prayer by the Church at home means defeat at the front of the battle.

Testing the Divine Resources. ” The call that is most urgent and most insistent is that Christian men and women should deeply resolve to venture out and make trial of the unexplored depths of the. character and resources of God. The missionary enterprise has led many adventurous spirits to explore unknown territories and tread unbeaten paths. The same spirit of adventure is needed to discover the wealth and resources of life in God. The work of evangelization must wait until Christian people resolutely set them-selves to put to proof the availability of God for faith. Many who cannot go to the mission field may have a real share in the missionary labors of the Church if they will give themselves to the mighty ministry of prayer.

Applies Vital Energy. ” Prayer is the putting forth of vital energy. It is the highest effort of which the human spirit is capable. Proficiency and power in prayer cannot be attained without patient continuance and much practise. The primary need is not the multiplication of prayer-meetings, or the more extensive circulation pf prayer calendars, but that individual Christians should learn to pray. If this work is to be taken seriously, the hour of prayer must be definitely set apart and jealously guarded in spite of weariness and many distractions. When the Church sets itself to pray with the same seriousness and strength of purpose that it has devoted to other forms of Christian effort, it will see the kingdom of God come with power.”

Spiritual Energies Essential. Men may go to the field and do a certain amount of work. Money can feed the starving body and buy bread. But the ultimate issue in the regeneration of these countries is spiritual. Those who have taken part in this great spiritual conflict in the East have found a deeper meaning in the words of the Apostle Paul, ” We wrestle not against flesh and blood.” Our work is supernatural or it is nothing. Frankly, our work is humanly impossible if we cannot wield supernatural forces. To grapple with subtle and ancient systems of philosophy, with hoary traditions, with age-long prejudices, with religions deep-rooted and intertwined with the most precious traditions in the lives of nations ; to change the currents of history, the nature of the human heart; to regenerate society, to uplift countries and continents, this, surely is no mere human undertaking. Though humanly impossible, in the light of God’s promises, in the power of his presence, and in the perspective of past achievements, it is gloriously possible. We can do it if we will.

Appeal of Past Results. The very victories we have already won constitute a call from the triumphs of the past. Think of what we have already accomplished in the century that lies behind us. A hundred years ago there were less than a hundred missionaries on the field. To-day there are more than 24,000. Then the Bible was translated into some 65 languages ; now it is placed within the reach of peoples speaking 500 tongues and dialects, and made accessible to more than 800,000,000 of the human race. A hundred years ago there was not a medical missionary nor missionary hospital in the world, and more than two thirds of the world was without any adequate medical knowledge ; to-day there are more than 675 hospitals treating annually many millions of patients. A century ago there was but a little handful of mission schools. Today there are nearly 30,000 mission schools and colleges, educating more than a million and a half students in the great centers of the non-Christian world.

Appeal of Present Progress. A century ago there was not a professing Protestant Christian in Japan; not one in Korea; less than ten in the Chinese empire, and a few thousands in India. Today there is a Protestant Christian community of some 90,000 adherents in Japan, 200,000 in Korea, nearly a million in China, and 1,617,000 in India. In India the Protestant, native Christian community is gaining about 50 per cent. every ten years. It is doubling about every decade in China, while nearly a convert an hour has been added every day in Korea since the first missionary landed. We follow a Leader who has never known defeat. According to Mr. J. Campbell White it took nearly a century to win the first million Protestant Christians on the foreign field. The second million were won in about twelve years, and it is taking but six years to win the third million. An average of nine hundred Christians are being added every day throughout the non-Christian world. During the last year more than 6,536 communicants were added every week to the Church abroad, and over 22,000 Christian adherents. To-day, with about six million Protestant Christian communicants and adherents, abroad, at the present rate of increase we shall be adding within a decade a million every year to the Protestant constituency abroad. As Dr. H. Clay Trumbull has said, it is our duty to make the past a success : the price already paid, the lives laid down, the noble sacrifices that have been made, the martyrs that have died, and the triumphs already won by the great army of 24,000 missionaries and 112,000 native workers at the front challenge us to a greater advance than in any previous era.

Call to Win Half a World. The Church is facing today the need of more than half the human race. No pen can describe it, no heart can grasp or fathom that great ocean of need ; no imagination can picture it, no tongue can tell it. There is a continent of need embracing nations newly awakened, which can be molded today. And here are we, young, strong, and free to give our lives, our gifts, our prayer, all that we have and are, to the greatest cause in the world.

The call comes to the West, to the Christian Church. It comes to you personally and individually. The call is before you. What will your answer be? It combines the challenge of a great need and the call of an overwhelming opportunity. Of that need Professor Paul Reinsch says, ” Humanity in the Orient, overpowered by destiny in the shape of natural catastrophe, famine, pestilence, and war, has not yet found itself ; ” and of the opportunity he writes, ” The unfolding of dynamic forces, acting upon such a vast basis, and with such an intricate background of civilization, has never been witnessed before in the remembered history of our world.”‘ Dr. Mott has not overstated the matter when he writes : ” The situation thus presented to the Christian Church is unprecedented in opportunity, in danger, and in urgency. This is the greatest single fact to be pressed upon the mind and conscience and will of Christendom.”

Who Makes the Plea? The facts are before us; and we are witnesses of these things. Nay rather, these people are before us; men and women with the same possibilities, the same human hopes and fears, the same longings and aspirations, the same worth and reality of life that we ourselves possess. They are laid at our gate, and we could help them if we would. We have what they need; can we withhold it? They have no articulate voice or cry. It is Another that pleads for them. ” I was an hungered : I was thirsty :

I was a stranger ; naked : I was sick : I was in prison. …

Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me.”

” Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Feed my sheep.”