By West, Charles C.
International Bulletin of Missionary Research , Vol. 22, No. 1
Christian Missions and the Judgment of God.
By David Macdonald Paton. 2d ed., edited with bibliography and short biography by David M. M. Paton, with an introduction by Bob Whyte; foreword by Bishop K. H. Ting. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1996. Pp. xiv, 114. Paperback $13.
David Paton was a unique figure in mission and ecumenical history. He was an ecumenist who served the Student Christian Movement in his youth, the Missionary and Ecumenical Council of the Church of England in midlife, and in his maturity, the World Council of Churches as author and editor of its Nairobi Assembly report, Breaking Barriers. He was, by deep theological conviction, an Anglican and a priest, whether in China, in the Church House in London, or in the parish in Birmingham and Gloucester. He was by faith a radical, a follower of Roland Allen and Hong Kong bishop R. O. Hall, driven by a vision of the church in mission to strong indictment of its current practice and lifelong service to its repentant movement toward a more ecumenical vision. And he was, in all of this, a missionary-for ten years overseas in China, and for a lifetime, with a special love for China, wherever he lived and worked.
It is the contribution of this book to bring this life into focus. The author's son offers a factual and also warmly personal biography, and a bibliography of his father's writings. A lifelong colleague, Bob Whyte, places Paton's missionary reflection in its ecumenical, Anglican, and Chinese context. But the centerpiece is a reissue of Paton's own Dublin lectures of 1953: the judgment of God on Christian missions and the consequences for the church's mission that are to be drawn from it. They were an event when they first appeared. Missionaries had just been driven from China, under devastating attack as agents of imperialism. …