Highlights from: Stephen Neill: A History of Christian Missions (Part II)

Part II

Chapter 8: Introduction

“The Protestant Churches owe an immeasurable debt to the Evangelical Revival in the broad sense of that term.  Many forces – high Anglican piety, the mystical tradition, the pietism both of Halle and of Herrnhut – combined to produce John Wesley and the Methodist movement in Britain.” (213-14)

“For this was the great age of societies.  In many cases the Protestant Churches as such were unable or unwilling themselves to take up the cause of missions.  This was left to the voluntary societies, dependent on the initiative of consecrated individuals, and relying for financial support on the voluntary gifts of interested Christians.” (214)

 (c. 1915?) “The primary barrier of language had been surmounted.  Some languages in every known family of languages had been learned, and in many cases reduced to writing for the first time by the missionaries.” (215)

 Chapter 9: New Forces in Europe and America, 1792-1858

“It is doubtful if there is another people on the face of the earth who, in proportion to their numbers, have given so many missionaries to the Church, or have paid so great a price in sacrifice and martyrdom.  At home not only do they build and maintain all their own churches, schools, and other institutions, but they sustain their missionary guests as well.  They regularly support the world-wide work of their Churches.” –Comments on the Samoan Church (253)

“In 1846 Krapf was joined by Johannes Rebmann, who held the fort, often almost alone, until 1874.  The two made a number of remarkable journeys inland, in the course of which they discovered Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peaks in Africa.  An unbelieving world was not prepared to accept the fact of never-melting snow on the Equator, and high scientific authorities affirmed that the missionaries must have been deceived by the sun shining on limestone formations at a distance.  The missionaries, being continentals, were unmoved, reckoning that they knew snow when they saw it.” (268)

Chapter 10: The Heyday of Colonialism, 1858-1914

“In the spirit of prayer the missionaries in Korea were led to accept the ‘Nevius method’, and to make its four principles their guiding rule in the development of the work:

  1. Each Christian should ‘abide in the calling wherein he was found’, support himself by his own work, and be a witness for Christ by life and word in his own neighborhood.
  2. Church methods and machinery should be developed only in so far as the Korean Church was able to take responsibility for the same.
  3. The Church itself should call out for whole-time work those who seemed best qualified for it, and whom the Church was able to support.
  4. Churches were to be built in native style, and by the Christians themselves from their own resources.” (290-91)

“His [Thomas Valpy French’s] companion on the voyage was a young American of the Reformed Church, Samuel M. Zwemer… Zwemer lived for more than sixty years, to be scholar, preacher, writer, evangelist, and apologist throughout the world of Christian missions to Muslims.  At the great Tambaram Missionary Conference of 1938, the most moving of all the speeches was that of the veteran Dr. Paul Harrison, who, having told the story of the five converts that the mission had won in fifty years, sat down with the quiet words: ‘The Church in Arabia salutes you.’” (311)

“The last thing they [missionaries in Africa] desired was to create a new and separate Africa; yet again and again they found themselves the center of a new settlement, made up of freed slave children, of men who for some reason had lost their identity with their tribe, of criminals fleeing from justice (murderers not excluded!), and of young men who wished to learn the skills which only the white man could teach.  Willy-nilly, the missionary had become a chief.  As Dan Crawford picturesquely expressed it: “Many a little Protestant Pope in the lonely bush is forced by his self-imposed isolation to be prophet, priest, and king rolled into one – really a very big duck he, in his own private pond….Quite seriously, he is forced to be a bit of a policeman, muddled up in matters not even remotely in his sphere.” (321)

“The chairman of the conference was the American Methodist layman John Raleigh Mott (1865-1955), who, though he was never a missionary, was destined to play a leading part in all protestant missionary affairs for fifty years.  His name was associated with the slogan through which he had given inspiration to the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions in the 1880s and 1890s: ‘The Evangelization of the World in this Generation.’” (332)

Chapter 11: Rome, the Orthodox, and the World, 1815-1914

“Orthodoxy was beginning to rediscover the treasures of its own historic past, in the theology of the great Greek Fathers of the Church and in its unique liturgical tradition.” (370)

“It may be convenient to arrange this brief summary of Orthodox missionary activity around the names of three great missionaries.  [Michael Jakovlevitch Glucharev (Makary); John Veniaminov; Ivan Kasatkin (Nikolai)]” (371-75) “Michael Jakovlevitch Glucharev was born in 1792. …In 1819 he became a monk, and took the name Makary.” (371) “And [Makary] constantly impressed on his fellow workers that baptism is the beginning of the process of conversion and not the end of it.  Use must be made of every possible means to help the converts to live their lives genuinely as Christians.  They must be encouraged to adopt a more settled way of life, taught agriculture and gardening, and helped to practice such handicrafts as are possible in the life of a village.  The result of these principles is that Makary did not originate any mass movement; he is not recorded to have baptized more than 675 candidates in the course of fourteen years.” (371)

“On one occasion, a lama spoke in such glowing terms of Christ – ‘If all men were true Christians, they would find it impossible to sleep, they would be constantly awake from unutterable joy, and that would be heaven on earth’ – that Spiridon asked him why he was not baptized. “The important thing [was the reply] is not baptism but the renewal of life.  What good does it do you Russians that you call yourselves Christians?  Excuse my frankness.  You Russians do not know Christ, and you do not believe in him.  You live in such a way that we uncultured folk flee from you, and fear you like the plague.

“This is not the whole of Orthodox missionary work; the imperfection of much of it is balanced by the heroic example of the saints and the solid achievements that they have left behind.  But it is good that Christians should hear and mark all that can be said from the other side.  Our sharpest critics are often our best friends; and no reader of the New Testament need be surprised to learn that the work of God in the world goes forward in spite of the imperfections as well as because of the virtues of Christian believers.” (378-79)


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