The global vision intrinsic to Christianity--one world, one kingdom of God under Jesus Christ--has been the motive and purpose behind much missionary fervor. Driven by this idealistic vision, the mission of the church nevertheless has been conducted within human history. Modern missions emerged in the context of the Enlightenment, the industrial revolution, and the subsequent expansion of capitalism and modernization. With its internal logic of universalism, or catholicity, (1) Christian mission of necessity finds itself in dialogue with the secular globalizing tendency of the historical moment--whether European expansionism, Western capitalism, or the World Wide Web. (2)
The Anglo-American Protestant missionary movement of the 1920s and 1930s functioned within the globalizing discourse of "internationalism"--a moral vision of one world that emerged after the horrors of World War I and stemmed from the idealism of Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points. Internationalism launched a massive pacifist movement, brought into being the League of Nations and the World Court, and established the idea of the right of self-determination for all peoples. (3) Important sectors of the Protestant missionary movement embraced internationalism--they helped shape it, participated in it, and defended and critiqued it at a grassroots level. In their most optimistic phase during the 1920s, mission advocates were accused of confusing internationalism with the kingdom of God. Particularly in North American mainline Protestant churches it became difficult to distinguish internationalism from the mission impulse itself.
Although internationalism was central to mainline Protestant missions in the 1920s and 1930s, scholars have not used it as an interpretive framework for the missionary issues of the era. Many have preferred to interpret the interwar period in light of the Kraemer/Hocking debate or in relation to the tension between evangelistic and social gospel approaches to missions. This essay explores the relationship between internationalism and indigenization in the mission movement between the world wars, with primary reference to a North American conversation. I hope to demonstrate that internationalism and indigenization were two sides of the same coin.
The globalizing vision of one world stood in tension with the cultural particularities that emerged in relationship to the global context itself. Internationalism demonstrated all the complexity that bedevils globalization in the early twenty-first century--a shifting set of both secular and religious definitions, and assumptions of universality both challenged and affirmed by nationalistic or particular ethnic identities. In this study I place the mission thought of the 1920s and 1930s in the larger context of internationalism, and then explore briefly the parallels with globalization today. (4)
Missions and the Development of Christian Internationalism
The internationalist agenda emerged quickly among young adults, many of them university students, whose generational cohorts died by the millions in the trenches of Europe from 1914 to 1918. On January 8, 1918, President Woodrow Wilson of the United States put forth the Fourteen Points as a basis for ending the war. Among the points was the idea of the self-determination of minority peoples, the end of the Ottoman Empire, the return of European territory under the imperial control of the Axis powers, and the founding of the League of Nations as a forum for resolving international disputes. In May 1919 the terms of the Treaty of Versailles became public, revealing that instead of reconciliation among nations, there would be economic punishment of the Central powers so severe that a new basis for continued conflict was created. Then the U.S. Senate refused to ratify the Treaty of Versailles, which coupled with the decision of the United States not to join the League of Nations, set in motion a widespread intern ationalist movement among young adults determined to achieve lasting peace based upon Wilson's Fourteen Points.
Prior to World War I international Christian student movements like the YMCA and the World's Student Christian Federation (WSCF) had already spread throughout the colleges of Europe, Asia, South Africa, and the United States. From 1889 to 1892 Luther Wishard of the World Committee of the YMCA toured Japan, China, India, and parts of Africa to organize student YMCAs, visiting 216 mission stations in twenty countries. Missionaries, who considered the YMCA a partner in youth work, were its strongest supporters in so-called mission lands. The YMCA also sponsored the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions (SVM), founded in 1888. In 1889 the first YMCA foreign secretaries arrived in Japan and China. By the early 1940s nearly 600 Western men had been involved in planting organized youth work in Christian colleges in mission lands across the globe. With its focus on developing indigenous leadership, the YMCA quickly developed a partnership model whereby foreign secretaries worked alongside and then under in digenous student leaders. The WSCF, founded in 1895, piggybacked on the YMCA and to some extent was an extension of it. Archbishop Nathan Soderblom of Sweden, leader in both the Life and Work and the Faith and Order ecumenical movements during the 1920s, reminisced that it was the YMCA, beginning with his attendance at evangelist Dwight Moody's Northfield, Massachusetts, conference for college students in 1890, that gave him his "world-wide vision of ecumenical Christianity." (5)
Given the missionary focus and international connections of the student Christian movements before World War I, it was a logical though not uncontested step for the younger generation to merge the missionary agenda into the internationalism of the postwar period. Already Christian students had sustained a Christian vision for world unity, and the WSCF maintained its formal unity across the battle lines during the war. As Christian students and church leaders reestablished friendships across national boundaries after the end of hostilities, the internationalist agenda of pacifism and international unity created a new rationale for missionary commitment that seemed progressive and modern. Internationalism provided a new discourse, a new way of talking about missions for well-educated mainline Protestants.
The transformation of mission organizations into internationalist ones occurred across the board in mainline Protestant colleges and student movements in the United Kingdom and the United States during the 1920s. A few examples here will suffice. In his history of the British Student Christian Movement, Tissington Tatlow, an Anglican student volunteer who became the SCM general secretary, eloquently described the transformation of his own consciousness into internationalism. In 1925 the Manchester Quadrennial Conference of the British student movement drew 1,600 participants from twenty-nine countries. In addition to fellowship, worship, and singing, there were inspiring speakers, the most memorable of whom was T. Z. Koo, head of student work for the YMCA in China. Speaking on the topic "The New China," Koo described the work of social reconstruction being undertaken under the Nationalist government. Remaining in England for a few weeks after the conference, Koo visited church leaders and addressed various g atherings of students. Tatlow witnessed a meeting between Koo and the archbishops of Canterbury and York and later recalled, "He stood, a slender figure in his Chinese dress of blue, with an archbishop at each side of him.... And as each archbishop shook hands to say good-bye, each thanked him warmly and simply for what he had done during his visit to help English Christians. I was deeply moved by the scene. Behind the trio there rose for me a vision of men of every kindred and tribe and race in one fellowship worshipping God." (6)
In 1919 the British SCM issued a declaration, "Call to Battle," that stressed the unity among Christian students of all races and nations. It stated: "We are convinced that this unity is the only sure hope of peace and of the true development of nations.... There is a desire that is often passionate to find some new way of international life, to see new principles applied and a real stand made for a better world." (7) In 1920 the SCM held a meeting to mobilize students in support of the League of Nations. Tatlow interpreted the move into internationalism as a logical progression of the student movement. All their prewar meetings had concerned missions, and more than 2,300 British students had become missionaries before the war. The postwar decision to focus on international relations and on building friendships across national and racial lines was for Tatlow an outgrowth of the missionary focus. He spent the 1920s networking to establish a student movement committed to peace and interracial unity. A represen tative from the Indian SCM joined the British staff as a visible sign of unity across colonial boundaries. With the Dutch student movement providing a neutral meeting ground, Tatlow and his group met with the representatives of the German student movement to seek reconciliation. Other motivations behind the internationalist focus in the 1920s were the increasing numbers of international students attending British universities after the war and the needs of stranded and destitute students throughout Europe.
In the United States, the agenda of internationalism swept through the YMCA, YWCA, SVM, and other student mission groups. (8) The failure of the United States to ratify the Treaty of Versailles and join the League of Nations was a grave disappointment for mission-minded college students. Then in 1924 came the passage of the Oriental Exclusion Act, giving dramatic immediacy to internationalist concerns. Missionaries widely opposed this law, which kept Chinese, Japanese, and other "Orientals" out of the United States, for why would Asians want to become Christians if a so-called Christian country was refusing them admittance? The postwar American mission focus on "world friendship" represented a combination of pacifism, interracial reconciliation, and a vision of global unity that emerged from mission ideals.
The history of the student missionary movement at Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts, the first women's college in the United States, is a concrete example of the evolution into internationalism. Mount Holyoke was the preeminent training school for Congregationalist missionary women in the mid 1800s, and in 1878 a group of its students founded the Mount Holyoke Missionary Association. A decade later, with the founding of the SVM and its cosponsorship by the YWCA, the Mount Holyoke Missionary Association became the Missionary Literature Committee of the campus YWCA. At the beginning of the twentieth century the YWCA spearheaded missionary interest on campus, holding mission study classes and missionary meetings. In 1925 the Missionary Department of the YWCA changed its name to the World Fellowship Department. Similar developments took place at Carleton College in Minnesota, another stronghold of missionary Congregationalism. At these schools "the spirit of evangelical missions and of a more secular internat ionalism fused and became almost indistinguishable." (9)
Advancing the Internationalist Agenda, 1925
After World War I not only the younger generation but also the middle-aged missionary movement hitched its wagon to the vision of a peaceful, united world. Major church conferences in the mid-1920s shared a focus on internationalism, with the most optimistic Americans merging it into their vision of the kingdom of God. (10) In their dissatisfaction at the decision of the International Missionary Council (IMC) not to hold an international meeting until 1928, the North American mission societies held their own Foreign Missions Convention in Washington, D.C., in 1925. Eighty-five mission organizations, eleven missionary training schools, and 3,419 delegates attended. President Calvin Coolidge opened the meeting with an address urging missionaries to carry the best of Christianity to other cultures and to counteract the evils of Western civilization by bringing back to America the best of other cultures. Internationalism suffused the proceedings. A series of papers on the theme "the present world situation" revie wed the situation of missions in different parts of the world. A number of distinguished missionary speakers addressed aspects of internationalism. One of the most explicit was Charles Brent, who had served as Episcopal bishop of the Philippines for sixteen years before becoming senior chaplain of the American Expeditionary Forces in the Philippines, and then bishop of Western New York. Appealing for the authentic conversion of those in so-called Christian nations, Brent noted that the shrinking distance between East and West meant that Christians would be made in the East only if Easterners saw Christian behavior in the West. To be truly of service to the world and to reach the East, Western civilization needed to become more meditative and worshipful, "more empowered to use silence." But the greatest opportunity for Western Christians, according to Brent, lay in the League of Nations, to be established by an international treaty binding on all nations. Both the League of Nations and the proposed World Court were "Christian in their aim and in their possibilities.... The Christian Church has got to say in no uncertain voice whether it accepts war as an evil necessity and will support war when it arises, or whether it believes that it is a barbarous atrocity, that there is a substitute for it, and that we must discover and use that substitute." In a statement of his own passion, made more moving by his ill health, Brent declared, "I see but two things to live for: one of them is the unity of the church of God; the other is the good will among the nations that will forever banish war."(11)
A section of the Foreign Missions Convention of 1925 was devoted to the relationship of the missionary movement to "peace and good will among nations." Speaking on international relations, one speaker indicated that a major problem of the day was in harmonizing nationalism with the Christian ideal of worldwide unity. Other speakers spoke of the need for prayer and humility and for Christian cooperation to counter the divisiveness between peoples. Said John R. Mott, chairman of the IMC, "Christian missions are indeed the great and the true internationalism. Our 29,000 missionaries are ambassadors, interpreters, and mediators in the most vital aspects of international and inter-racial relationships." (12) Speaking for the woman's missionary movement was Evelyn Nicholson, president of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, member of the IMC, and author of the first book on peace education to be published by the Methodists after the war. Stressing the importance of the church f or creating world peace, Nicholson argued that the teachings of Christ commissioned the church to teach interdependence, peace, and mutual respect. The church "is in itself a League of Nations functioning now, through its representatives, in every land. it is a recognized educational agency, training not only the intellect but the will and spirit." (13) Through its schools, missions were teaching that people had rights. According to Nicholson, the promotion of friendship among people of different races and nationalities was a unique responsibility of mission agencies.
Another important church meeting that took place in 1925 was the Stockholm Conference on Life and Work. While the mission convention in Washington demonstrated agreement among the British and American speakers that internationalism was an essential part of the missionary agenda, the international Stockholm conference revealed a chasm between the former Allies and the German delegates over the issue. Although the Anglo-Americans and French seemed to agree that the League of Nations should be supported as part of creating a new world order, the German delegation accused them of confusing a temporal program with the kingdom of God. Invoking Luther's "two kingdom" theory, the Germans insisted that their suffering under the terms of the Versailles peace treaty made them wary of identifying a human program with the divine will. Protested Dr. Klingemann, superintendent of the Rhine Province, "Now remember that disarmed we live in an armed world. We wait for the promised general disarmament to be able to believe in peace." (14)
The protest of the German delegates that the internationalist agenda looked suspiciously like a hijacking of the kingdom of God by a particular political program was the same objection raised by German students to the optimism of Tissington Tatlow. Of what good was an idealistic movement for world peace when economic disparities loomed between national winners and losers? The German objections not only raised the theological question of confusing internationalism with the kingdom of God, but they implied that the movement for world peace was a political ploy of the victorious Allies. In short, it was charged that the internationalist agenda was being promoted by those nations who held all the power in the postwar world. (15)
The 1925 Stockholm conference was not strictly speaking a missionary gathering as was the North American conference in Washington. But when we see it in relation with the Washington conference Manchester Quadrennial of the Britist all three held the same year-it becomes clear just how widely some form of the internationalist agenda had spread throughout the leadership of Western Protestantism.
The adoption of Christian internationalism by a large group of missionaries and mission leaders was an important factor in the growing rift with fundamentalist mission leaders, who, like some Europeans, distrusted the idea that the internationalist agenda was somehow connected with an emerging kingdom of God. For more conservative missionaries, world unity would be a result of the eschatological establishment of God's heavenly kingdom, not the outcome of its step-by-step development on earth. (16)
On the part of self-identified liberal Protestants in the 1920s, the emergence of internationalism replaced a traditional, more narrowly evangelistic view of missions: it dealt with the Christianizing of relationships between nations rather than conversion of individuals. While the internationalist liberals of the day usually retained a focus on individual commitment, they broadened the missionary agenda to emphasize Christianizing the social realm.
Internationalism in the Fosdick Family
An extremely interesting example of this process occurred within the Fosdick family, Baptists from upstate New York. Members of the family played major roles in the development of internationalism within liberal Christianity. Harry Emerson Fosdick was the most famous preacher in America between the wars. He recalled in his autobiography, The Living of These Days, that his childhood decision to be baptized was because he wanted to become a missionary: "The wide, wide world was called to our attention mainly as a mission field. It grew vivid to us when missionaries pictured it in all its heathen need. When I graduated from high school in 1895 the Turks had just been massacring the Armenians, and my 'oration' was an appeal for that decimated people." (17) As the result of his theological training at Colgate Seminary and his fieldwork in the Bowery in New York City, Fosdick adopted modernist theological views. He became professor of practical theology at Union Theological Seminary and continued to sharpen his hom iletical skills as preacher in many churches. Through his many books on spirituality and preaching, especially The Manhood of the Master, Fosdick's ideas had a wide readership among missionaries and indigenous Christian leaders.
In 1921, traveling to China to hold conferences among missionaries, he experienced firsthand the split that was opening within the missionary community between fundamentalism and modernism. In 1922, after returning from China, Fosdick delivered his sermon "Shall the Fundamentalists Win?" Controversy over that sermon was one of the major events in the fundamentalist-modernist contention in the 1920s. In response to the uproar, Baptist and millionaire businessman John D. Rockefeller, Jr., called Fosdick as pastor of his church. On the upper east side of multicultural Manhattan next to Union Theological Seminary, Rockefeller constructed the nonsectarian Riverside Church, which under fosdick's leadership embodied the internationalist movement. Fosdick's stated goal for Riverside Church was to help the younger generation discover its divine vocation and say, "Here I am, send me." "If wherever soldiers of the common good are fighting for a more decent international life and a juster industry, they should feel behin d them the support of this church which ... has kept its conviction clear that a major part of Christianity is the application of the principles of Jesus to the social life, and that no industrial or international question is ever settled until it is settled Christianly, that would be wonderful." (18)
Many missionaries on furlough and international students attended Union Seminary while Fosdick taught there, and the Riverside Church became their home away from home. Fosdick noted some of the typical mission causes supported by the congregation: a rural project under the Kyodan (Japanese Protestant Church), education of girls in an Arab refugee camp, Korean refugees, an American Indian college in Oklahoma, the International Christian University in Japan, Vellore Medical College in India, a school of social work in Delhi, the YMCA in Mozambique and Senegal, a settlement house in Tokyo, work among migrants under the Home Missions Council, an agricultural missionary in China, Union Seminary in Tokyo, the radio ministry of the Philippine Christian Council, the Agricultural Missions Foundation, ecumenical work in Santo Domingo, and various projects in New York City. While he never became a missionary in the strict sense, Harry Emerson Fosdick's internationalism was an outgrowth of that earlier interest. Describi ng internationalism as an "idea that has used me," he wrote, "The idea that mankind is inevitably becoming 'one world,' so far as the conquest of distance and the intensifying of economic interdependence can make us one, has had a major influence on my thinking and preaching." (19)
Harry Fosdick's involvement in internationalism is all the more noteworthy when one realizes that his younger brother, Raymond, was the first undersecretary of the League of Nations. Having studied under Woodrow Wilson at Princeton for both his bachelor and master's degrees, and then working in New York City as an anticorruption reformer, Raymond Fosdick was tapped as the first undersecretary by President Wilson before the League of Nations was voted on by the U.S. Senate. (Brother Harry preached a pacifist sermon in Geneva at the opening ceremony of the League in 1925.) After retiring from the League, Raymond became a lawyer, with Rockefeller as his first client. Spending more and more time on the various organizations funded by the Rockefeller family, and as senior advisor to Rockefeller, Raymond eventually became head of the Rockefeller Foundation. (20)
The Fosdick commitment to internationalism was embodied in Raymond Fosdick's twin sister, Edith, who spent her life abroad as a teacher in various mission-founded colleges. After graduating from Vassar and becoming a social worker at a settlement house in New York City, she spent World War I in Italy as a canteen worker under the YMCA. Edith Fosdick taught English literature at Kobe College in Japan, Ginling College in China, American College for Girls in Greece, and the American College for Girls in Turkey. Elinor Downs, the daughter of Harry Emerson Fosdick, informs us that her aunt Edith never considered herself a missionary. (21) These commitments of the Fosdick family show how the span of Christian internationalism ranged from the ministry-centered focus of Harry to the politicized Christian civilization model of Raymond and the hands-on international service of Edith.
Of course, not all internationalists were missionaries and mission leaders. Nevertheless, from a religious perspective Christian missions were the generative impulse behind the internationalist movement. The literature of the interwar period shows that mission thought had an enormous impact on the religious dimensions of internationalism. The vision of one world, united by peace, economic capitalism, and what is now called "human rights," was essentially a product of the "civilizing" aspect of Protestant missions. Wilson's Fourteen Points reflected a Christian vision, having been produced by one who was the son, grandson, and son-in-law of Presbyterian ministers and who was president of a Presbyterian-founded college before going into politics. At some level conservative suspicions were correct when they detected a conflation of the League of Nations with the kingdom of God, inasmuch as the supporters of internationalism represented the "mission" of Anglo-Americanism writ large. Still, it was a movement into the global arena prompted by the same kind of impulse that had inspired the Puritan settlers to be a "city on a hill," radiating light to the rest of the world.
It can be argued that the embrace of internationalism by some missionaries within Protestant liberalism after World War I set into motion a secularizing trend that ultimately rejected its missionary origins. But not all internationalist Christians repudiated the term "missionary." On the contrary. Affirming the Christian faith as the source of their internationalist vision, a substantial number of Anglo-American missionaries constituted a network of internationalists that had a profound impact on the shape of Christian internationalism.
Missionary Indigenization Within the Internationalist Paradigm
In the remainder of this essay I focus on one aspect of missionary internationalism that was particularly significant in the 1920s and 1930s, namely, the movement toward cultural indigenization. I intend to demonstrate that a primary missionary contribution to Christian internationalism was the active promotion of indigenization in non-Western Christianity--the vision of the church as a worldwide panoply of different cultures and heritages. Paradoxically, the mission leaders who were the most visible internationalists were on the cutting edge of promoting indigenous cultures within Christian expression. To have a truly global church meant appreciating the individual cultures within it. The self-determination of peoples meant encouraging their individual contributions to the world church; it meant the liberating of church life--including its history, art, architecture, literature, and worship--from domination by Western traditions.
Separating Christ from Western Culture
At the theological center of missionary internationalism was the separation of Christ from Western culture. The horrors of World War I not only provoked a widespread search for ways to prevent war, but they caused a revulsion against the easy association of Christianity with Western culture. For it was so-called Christian nations that had fought the most devastating war in human history. The shift in tone in American missionary literature was immediate. For example, before the war the annual women's study books by the Central Committee on the United Study of Foreign Missions often took a condescending view toward the cultures of the world. (22) But beginning with Caroline Atwater Mason's World Missions and World Peace in 1916, the study books of the women's series, as well as the books produced by the Missionary Education Movement, took a positive view toward non-Western cultures and criticized the non-Christian aspects of Western culture. The key shift from late nineteenth-century theology to that of the 192 0s was the ability to separate Christ from Western culture and to see him embodied in other cultures. (23)
To illustrate the theological and missiological dynamics of the separation of Christ from culture, let us examine a handful of groundbreaking works that appeared in the mid-1920s. By 1925 the postwar shift in missionary thinking was clearly expressed not only in the conferences already discussed but also in missionary publications that had a wide impact on both missionary and popular thinking. Among North Americans E. Stanley Jones was undoubtedly the most popular and visible figure among those missionaries self-consciously associated with internationalism and its twin, indigenization. He was widely influential in pacifist circles, he was an early and prominent supporter of Indian independence, and he shaped the thinking of the 1920s generation of seminarians and young church leaders in the United States. Author of twenty-eight books, including the best-selling The Christ of the Indian Road, (24) Jones's missiological and spiritual writings influenced both evangelical and liberal missionaries all over the wo rld into the 1960s. (25) Designated by Time Magazine in 1938 as the "world's greatest missionary," Jones first went to India as a Methodist missionary in 1907. Coming from a pietistic grounding in Holiness theology, Jones believed that religious experience through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ was the foundation of Christian living.
As Jones immersed himself in Indian culture in attempts to reach Hindus and Muslims, he realized that their association of Christianity with Western culture left them unable to relate to Jesus Christ, who seemed to them a metaphor for British imperialism. Jones began giving public lectures on Jesus Christ, followed by fatiguing question-and-answer sessions with the indigenous intelligentsia. By firmly stripping away the trappings of Western Christianity, Jones proved able to get thousands of Hindus and Muslims to stand and acknowledge their allegiance to Jesus Christ--not to a system of doctrines but to a person. Jones did not think of his work as an Indian interpretation of Christ, preferring to leave that task to Indians themselves. Rather, as in The Christ of the Indian Road, Jones described the process of how Christ was "becoming naturalized" in India. (26) By giving a straightforward presentation of Jesus Christ, Jones refused to become embroiled in defenses of Christianity as a religious or cultural sy stem. He argued that the absoluteness of Christ permitted a generous view of non-Christian systems. (27) A friend of Gandhi, Jones believed that the Hindu reformer pointed to Jesus, who was Life and Truth itself. In his optimism Jones felt that the spiritual atmosphere in India was permeated with Christ and that belief in him would soon burst from the heavy clouds as if a rainstorm.
Jones's basic mission theology was a form of fulfillment theology. "Just as he [Jesus] gathered up in his own life and person everything that was fine and beautiful in Jewish teaching and past and gave it a new radiant expression, so he may do the same same with India." Although Jesus' words "1 came not to destroy but to fulfill" were "locally applied to the Law and the Prophets," they were "capable of a wider application to truth found anywhere." In the paper he gave in 1925 at the Foreign Missions Convention in Washington, "The Aim and Motive of Foreign Missions," Jones described the development of his radical methodology as a means of separating Christ from the view that missionaries were creed-mongers, forerunners of imperialism and capitalism, and supporters of domineering ecclesiasticism. By separating Christ from Western culture, Jones experienced a breakthrough with the Hindus and Muslims who opposed him. At the heart of Jones's fulfillment theory was a theology of the cosmic Christ: "If we go deep e nough into religion, we must stand face to face with Jesus, who is religion itself in its final expression." In relation to the East, Jesus Christ was the way (karm marg, "way of life"), the truth (gyan marg, "way of knowledge"), and the life (bhakti marg, "way of devotion"). (28)
To E. Stanley Jones, one of the wonders of the age was the new revelation that Christianity was breaking out beyond the borders of the church and into non-Western societies. The Christ of the Indian Road was the Christ of service, moving among the people in his flowing garments, touching and healing them, and announcing the kingdom of God. (29) In accordance with his desire to "naturalize" Christ in the Indian context, in 1930 Jones opened his first Christian ashram, the beginning of a series of live-in communities in which religious seekers ate and prayed together. He initiated roundtable conferences among Hindus, Muslims, and Christians, an early attempt at interreligious dialogue based on sharing religious experiences. The term "roundtable" mirrored meetings in the political realm held between the British and Indian nationalists, and consultations designed to help solve the world's problems through negotiation and peaceful means. His Christ of the Round Table (1928) played a role in the acceptance of inte rreligious dialogue as a feature of mainline Protestant missions.
Daniel Fleming's Whither Bound in Missions was a second groundbreaking book. (30) Although it did not reach the popular stateside audiences in the way that The Christ of the Indian Road did, it put Jones's anecdotal insights into a more systematic form and laid out a program for missions that was widely influential among practicing missionaries. A former Presbyterian missionary to India, Fleming was professor of missions at Union Theological Seminary from 1918 to 1944. (31) As professor with Harry Emerson Fosdick at Union, he lived in the same building as Fosdick for decades, and their families were friends. Fleming attracted a wide range of international students, missionaries on furlough, and "missionary kids," including Timothy T. Lew, Y. T. Wu, Frank Laubach, and Charles Forman. Since many of Fleming's twenty-three books were published by the international student movement, they reached a wide audience of YMCA workers, missionaries, and indigenous Christian leaders around the world. (32)
In Whither Bound in Missions, Fleming distinguished between Christ and Western Christianity and predicted that the "storm center of Christian controversy" would soon pass to the "oriental seminaries" as they adjusted Christian thought to their ancient heritages. The context for the new mutuality in mission, and interpretation from West to East and back again, was an "organic conception of a world society, where independence gives way to interdependence, and where competition is superseded by cooperation. Fully to realize this co-relationship as members one of another constitutes a great part of growth in spirituality." Like Jones, Fleming emphasized that Jesus was handicapped by his association with the West. Given that the goal of missions was to communicate Christ, it was necessary for missions to separate Christ from a culture of racism and Western self-righteousness. Fleming dwelled on the need for friendship with those of other religions, on international issues that affected the church, on indigenizati on in worship, and on devolving control of missions to the indigenous churches. He spent an entire chapter, "Christian World-Mindedness," on the universal brotherhood of all people, the rights of smaller groups to pursue their own ways of doing things, and the need for worldwide cooperation in common tasks, including the League of Nations and the World Court. Mission education must emphasize "the universal brotherhood of children of God and purposeful, constructive endeavor for world ends," which Fleming saw as part of what Jesus meant by the kingdom of God. (33) Developing the "international mind," including "world consciousness, world outlook, world background, world fellowship, and world objectives," should be the subject of mission education for students. Advised Fleming, the "Christian internationalist" will read foreign papers, study foreign languages and cultures, and be concerned with international relations.
One of the missionaries Fleming influenced was Frank Laubach, a Congregational missionary in the Philippines who took his furlough at Union Theological Seminary between 1919 and 1922. Deeply influenced by Fleming's vision that missions should be concerned with the total welfare of peoples, Laubach realized through reading Fleming's Mark of the World Christian that two-thirds of the world were illiterate. (34) After returning to the Philippines and working among the Muslim Moros, Laubach pioneered the "each one, teach one" method of literacy education, and the use of a basic set of words by which adults could learn to read in as short a time as a few hours. (35) In addition to being "Mr. Literacy," Laubach became widely recognized as a Christian internationalist, pacifist, and mystic. Author of forty-three books, he was a completely ecumenical figure who could not believe that one part of the church had a monopoly on truth. As he delved deeper into mysticism, influenced by the faith of the Muslim Moros, he ca me to think of himself as a member of all denominations, and even of all faiths. Eager to soak up the riches of diverse devotional traditions, he applied the same idea to the nations: "I have become an internationalist so much that patriotism means the Lord's Prayer for the whole world, and especially for those who are being forgotten or oppressed." (36)
In 1925 Laubach produced his most scholarly book, The People of the Philippines: Their Religious Progress and Preparation for Spiritual Leadership in the Far East. Daniel Fleming wrote the foreword. In his comprehensive history of religion in the Philippines, Laubach started with its pre-Christian and Muslim heritage and then worked through the history of Christian missions. The aim of his book was "to discover the footprints of God across the history of the Philippines." (37) Published under the influence of the Fourteen Points, at a time when the United States was debating whether to handle the "problem of the Philippines" by granting it the right of self-determination, People of the Philippines advocated independence for the islands. Laubach argued that Americans had been given a distorted picture of Philippine culture by the U.S. expeditionary forces and disgruntled Spanish priests. Rather than barbaric cannibals, the Filipinos were meek, gentle, hospitable people. Their deep religious insights, drawn fro m their rich heritage, meant that they were progressing toward the kingdom of God and were set to exert spiritual leadership throughout Asia. In his history he focused less on Western missionaries than on Filipino leadership in the mission of the church, including the founding of nineteen indigenous denominations from 1909 to 1921.
To Laubach, the Philippines bore deep insights into both Eastern and Western cultures and so were in a position to reconcile Eastern and Western civilizations. In the words of a Filipino educator, the Filipinos were internationalists, located in a strategic position to precipitate "new world relations." Laubach prophesied that the Filipinos would "reorientalize" Christianity and free it from the "slough of theological despond" into which rationalistic Western minds had led it. Filipinos were going to "work out for the Far East a simplified, beautified conception of the spirit of Jesus Christ--they will help the kingdom of God to throw off its European garb, and take upon itself once more the Oriental dress in which it began its career." As beacons of Christianity and of democracy and the only Asian Christian nation, the Philippines were poised to teach these things to the rest of Asia. If the Philippines failed in their task, Laubach feared that Asia might turn away from both democracy and Christianity. "She would then learn from the Occident only science, militarism, hatred, and vengence."(38)
Another important missionary book was A Straight Way Toward Tomorrow, by Mary Schauffler Platt. A member of a famous German-American, American Board missionary dynasty, Mary Schauffler wrote several books that were widely distributed to hundreds of thousands of American women gathered in denominational mission study groups in American Protestant churches. Published in 1926, A Straight Way Toward Tomorrow represented the application of Christian internationalism to the distinctive concerns of missionary women--child welfare, the Christian home, and religious education. It culminated in a call for "worldwide friendship," which became the keynote of the interdenominational woman's missionary movement in the interwar period. In "World Friendship" American women endorsed a Christian internationalism that stressed world peace, interracial harmony, and building personal bridges between women of different cultures. (39) In its foreword to Mary Schauffler Platt's book, the Central Committee on the United Study of Fore ign Missions expressed its plan for breaking national barriers through united mission study among Christian women around the world: "We are coming together into a spiritual federation of the Christian Women of the world for which we have longed and prayed." (40) The committee expressed optimism that Christian women would be able to unite on a spiritual basis before governments would "agree on political plans" for world unity.
Platt drew attention to the child-centered aspects of internationalism, including the beginning of the Save the Children Fund in 1919 and the Geneva Declaration on the Rights of the Child endorsed by the League of Nations in 1924, the aims of which she declared were biblical. Like Jones, Fleming, and Laubach, she believed that the future of mission lay in the hands of indigenous Christians. "The evangelization of Africa lies with the African of the future." Speaking of Christian women around the world, Platt stated, "What they have done and can do for their own people, is far beyond the possibilities of foreigners who come to their shores, learn their language more or less imperfectly, and try to think their thoughts and understand their racial feelings. Our Christian sisters of China, Japan, India and Africa are those on whom Christ chiefly depends for leading the women and little children of their own people into the Straight Way Toward Tomorrow.... They will always need our prayers, sympathy and love; but they must increase and we must decrease in influence, in leadership, in interpretation of the message of Christ to the women of their own lands." (41)
In the final chapter of her book, Platt underscored women's basis for World Friendship: true love as the means to end war. She drew attention to the giant women's peace rally held in London in 1926, to the founding of the Institute of Pacific Relations in 1925 as "an adventure in friendship," to the missionary movement's attempt to end the unjust treaties imposed upon China and to revoke the Japanese Exclusion Act, and to the World Conference of Education in 1926, which was inspired by the idea that in order to end war, children must be educated for peace. Platt praised the international movement of Boy Scouts and Girl Reserves, youth movements that were teaching youth to resolve conflicts by means other than war. In its final pages The Straight Way Toward Tomorrow evoked the idea of a Cosmic Christ, who illumined the pathway to life in all cultures: "He is the same Christ yesterday, today, and on through the days to come; the 'Christ of the Andes' who stands as the emblem of peace between two great countries ; 'The Christ of the Indian Road' whom eastern mystics can worship and crave as their Companion; the Christ of the trackless desert to guide the wandering Arab; the Christ of Order and the law of Love for nations that are struggling to find themselves in the seething world of today; the Christ of Unselfish Service for those who know him and would follow in his steps." The Christian women of every race and country would thus walk in "happy fellowship" with Christ and each other on the straight way "unto the perfect day." (42)
In the works of Jones, Fleming, Laubach, and Platt, all experienced missionaries, we see the full development of a missionary internationalism by 1926. Although they wrote in different genres of personal narrative, missiological treatise, history, and mission study book, each expressed deep confidence in the ability of Jesus Christ to be fully represented in non-Western cultures. Each looked forward to the development of indigenous theologies and to what we would today call the full contextualization of Christianity. Their vision of a new world order, of Christian internationalism--including peace, democracy, and the political and religious self-determination of peoples--provided the framework for the indigenization of Christianity throughout the world. From a theological perspective, while they supported personal evangelism, they perceived Christ embodied in all cultures. In the case of Jones and Laubach, both ardent and activistic pacifists, although they maintained the absoluteness of Jesus Christ, they sa w the spirit of Christ operating within other religions as well. (43)
Having briefly explored the synergism between internationalism and indigenization in the mission thought of a few leading missionaries in the mid-1920s, I now turn to specific attempts at indigenization on the part of missionaries in the interwar period. All of the leaders whose books I examined stated dearly that interpreting Jesus Christ according to each culture was a vital task for indigenous Christians. It was not something that Western missionaries could do on their behalf. While stopping short of claiming to develop truly indigenous theologies, missionary internationalists in the 1920s and 1930s encouraged the inculturation process in many different ways.
As the years passed, deliberate attempts at promoting indigenization increased, especially after the proceedings of the Jerusalem Conference of 1928 contained an extensive report on the indigenization process. Recorded in the third volume of conference reports, on "Younger and Older Churches," the discussion of indigenization involved testimonies from China, Japan, India, Burma, and the West. It was stated that the indigenous church could be identified "when its interpretation of Christ and its expression in worship and service, in customs and in art and architecture, incorporate the worthy characteristics of the people, while conserving at the same time the heritage of the Church in all lands and in all ages." (44)
As with the mission books examined above, the discussion of indigenous churches by the IMC was set in an internationalist framework of cooperation for world peace and the need to "Christianize" nationalism. Words from the Indian Methodist Conference of 1926 exemplified the relationship between indigenization and Christian internationalism: "There will always be a need of some missionaries to come to India with the best Christian culture from the West, just as there will always be a need of Indian Christian missionaries to take the best of Christian culture from the East to the West. In this fusion of the Christian culture of Occident and Orient will arise a new and international consciousness of Christ which will help to solve so many of the problems of nation and race and color, the great unsolved problems of this age." (45)
Ironically, the promotion of indigenous culture in the younger churches could be seen as a top-down imposition by outsiders--a part of the liberal, North Atlantic agenda. By the 1930s missionaries from mainline churches were working among people who in many cases had been Christians for several generations, whose traditions had been handed down by those who had seen Western Christianity as part of a necessary critique of their own non-Western cultures. The resistance to indigenization could be just as strong by "native Christians" as it was by theologically conservative missionaries, both of whom worried that indigenization would invite paganism into the church through the back door. Indigenizing internationalists frequently commented on the resistance to their work by conservative native Christians. (46)
Literature, Art, and Architecture
The longest sustained attempt at missionary support for inculturation was sponsored by the Committee on Christian Literature for Women and Children in Mission Fields (CCLWCMF), founded in 1912 as one of the three joint programs of the women's mission boards in North America and lasting until 1989. During the 1920s the program received the collections taken by women on the World Day of Prayer, supported by missionary women around the world. Its goal was to sponsor Christian literature for women and children who, after becoming Christian, needed to have reading material and artwork appropriate to their own cultures.
In its first fifty years, the CCLWCMF sponsored twenty-seven magazines in different languages. Some of the magazines were not labeled as Christian and so gained widespread acceptance as children's literature in other religious contexts. The magazine The Treasure Chest, for example, in 1922 featured stories, plays, poems, and articles. It carried a regular department on social service called "The Friendly League." Children enjoyed departments on the flora and fauna of India, biographies of famous people in Indian history, and travelogues, and they wrote letters to the editor. In the late 1930s the National Christian Council of India endorsed The Treasure Chest, which by 1938 was being published in English, Urdu, Malayalam, Telegu, Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Burmese, Gujerati, and Bengali editions. (47) Most of the magazines supported by the project worked in vernacular languages under indigenous editors and encouraged children to contribute stories. Clementina Butler, the American chair of CCLWCMF, hoped the proj ect would not only help sustain "Christian homes" but would teach the ideals of peace. In 1939 Butler quoted support of the program from missionary leaders who considered it helpful "in education for world understanding, cooperation and peace." (48) Whenever possible, the CCLWCMF cooperated with the newer Christian literature committees, such as the International Committee on Christian Literature for Africa, a subcommittee of the International Missionary Council founded in 1929. By the early 1940s the CCLWCMFwas planning to translate some of its magazines into romanized characters for use by Frank Laubach in his literacy work.
One of the most interesting aspects of the work of the CCLWCMF was its sponsorship of native Christian art, the first mission organization to systematically sponsor indigenous art. Concerned that converts in India only had cheap pictures of Hindu gods with which to decorate their homes, Clementina Butler, who had grown up in India in a missionary family, began commissioning Christian pictures in Indian styles in the 1930s. Sold at cost for 2 1/4 cents each, response to the first ten pictures was immediate. "The Good Shepherd" sold 27,000 copies in the first year, and later E. Stanley Jones's ashram in Lucknow sent 2,600 copies as Christmas presents to workers among the poor. The CCLWCMF held annual contests for the best indigenous Christianartin India. (49) In China, in addition to its magazines, the CCLWCMF sponsored a Pictorial Life of Our Saviour in five volumes. The first volume sold 23,000 copies in the first eighteen months. A missionary made filmstrips of the series; it was watched by thousands, accom panied by rhymes sung by spectators. (50) At a time when most mission literature was still using pictures of blonde and blue-eyed Madonnas, the CCLWCMF was commissioning native art for the covers of its magazines and books.
Some of the art commissioned by the CCLWCMF was introduced to a Western audience by its inclusion in a series of three books edited by Daniel Fleming on non-Western Christian art and architecture: Heritage of Beauty (1937), Each with His Own Brush (1938), and Christian Symbols in a World Community (1940). They were published by Friendship Press, itself a product of missionary internationalism, representing the merger of the publishing arms of interdenominational North American mission education programs.
In the introduction to the first of the three books, Fleming explored the relationship between the Christian vision of a "world community" and the indigenization process in the younger churches. Referring to the world community, he stated, "Doubtless the greatest influence making for its fullest realization, is the Christian world fellowship--a fellowship which is no political federation of the world, no mere brotherhood of man, transcending all differences of race and nationality, but a community which progressively embodies the Christian faith, renewed distinctively by worship of God through Jesus Christ." The Christian world fellowship should become a "conscious reality" in the Christian's life. Achievement of the world fellowship required becoming aware of "cultural embodiments of Christianity other than our own." He continued, "We are not satisfied to think of ourselves as belonging merely to an American, a British, a Japanese or an Indian group of Christians; but are striving to attain a loyalty and an attitude of mind that consciously and unconsciously will reveal that we are citizens of a universal kingdom. We realize that, for Christians, the world community should have a universal, a catholic, an ecumenical connotation. Any objective approach, therefore, which helps us to gain a sense of the wide diffusion of the church and to acquire more understanding of its truly multi-national, multi-racial character should be of help." (51)
One of the significant aspects of Fleming's thought in the late 1930s, as compared to his ideas in the early 1920s, was the shifting of his international vision from the world to the church itself. Fleming raised the knotty problems of indigenization--the relationship of culture to religion, the question of how far forms should be adjusted to the cultural backgrounds of the people, and how to separate the essential features of Christianity from its host cultures. Having lost some of his easy optimism of the early 1920s, Fleming admitted that these issues were difficult and that it would take centuries to develop a common world culture. But in the 1930s, to recognize cultural differences was "to affirm the catholic character of the Christian church." The main hope for missions was "that an indigenous church may develop--a church that smacks of the soil, that grows naturally, that feels itself to be native and not exotic." (52)
One of the difficulties in encouraging indigenous art was the resistance of Asians themselves, who assumed that indigenous art was pagan. The amount of locally produced Christian art was very small. "Certain interested Western representatives, therefore, take the initiative in producing model experiments in adaptation in order to overcome the initial attachment to alien forms to which second and third generation Christians have become accustomed." (53) Most of the buildings that Fleming pictured in Heritage of Beauty were produced in the 1920s and 1930s, demonstrating the recent nature of movements toward indigenization in architecture.
In the second book of the series, Each with His Own Brush, Fleming noted that Christian art was in its infancy, partly because the poverty of most Christians prevented them from sponsoring high-quality work. He had received statements from all over the world indicating that indigenous Christian art did not yet exist. Yet he managed to put together a book of paintings, much of it commissioned by missionaries and the CCLWCMF. He judged that Christian art was in its most advanced phase in China, where the Episcopal priest and later bishop T. K. Shen had begun sponsoring Christian art in 1926 under the name St. Luke's Studio. Catholics connected with the Catholic University of Peking had also begun to sponsor Christian art in the 1920s and had held several exhibitions. (54) In his third book on Christian symbols, Fleming quoted from missionaries who had tried to introduce indigenous symbols in India, only to be opposed by the Indian people for fear of paganism entering the church. The prophetic voice of indigeni zers like Bishop Azariah aside, the inculturation process was not an easy road. (55)
In early 1938 the committee that was preparing for the IMC meeting in Madras, India, began receiving suggestions that it sponsor an international exhibit of Christian literature to join a planned exhibition of Christian art. (56) A. L. Warnshuis, secretary of the IMC, sent a letter to the secretaries of national Christian councils requesting that they send materials for exhibits on Christian literature, art, and architecture. Materials requested included pictures, sculptures, tapestries or needlework, photographs of church buildings, sketches, and models. The exhibits were intended to "demonstrate the long history and universality of Christianity and the contributions which different ages and different lands are making to the enrichment of Christian art and architecture." The artwork itself would be a unifying factor in a conference set to accommodate the widest geographic range of delegates who had ever attended an ecumenical conference. (57)
One of the advocates of including architecture in the exhibit was J. Prip-Moller who had worked for five years in Manchuria in cooperation with the Danish Mission Society, the Scottish and Irish Presbyterians, and the YMCA. An architect and author of Chinese Buddhist Monasteries, Prip-Moller had designed the YMCA building in Moukden to follow the structure of the typical Chinese family house. He also designed and built schools, hospitals, and churches. But probably his most important work grew out of his eighteen-year friendship with Karl Reichelt, a Norwegian missionary operating a unique mission to Buddhist monks in Hong Kong. Like E. Stanley Jones, Reichelt was a long-term missionary who, in line with fulfillment theory, believed that Mahayana Buddhism found its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Under the Norwegian Lutherans he opened a mission to Buddhists, Brotherhood of Religious Friends, that was destroyed in the 1927 civil war in Nanking. Adopting the style of a Buddhist monk to attract monks, Reichelt de veloped a liturgy based on Buddhism. In 1931 he dedicated a complex of buildings in New Territories (Hong Kong) called Tao Fong Shan, a Christian community modeled on Buddhist monasteries. Prip-Moller was Reichelt's architect at Tao Fong Shan. (58)
In Heritage of Beauty Daniel Fleming discussed how Reichelt adapted Buddhist symbols to Christianity in his Brotherhood of Religious Friends near Nanking. Reichelt used the emblem of a cross rising out of a lotus. The chapel contained an altar finished in red lacquer, candles in the form of white cranes, and ample use of varied symbols like the fish, fire, sun, and so forth. Liturgical adaptations included the use of red candles and incense. (59) In the third book of the series on indigenous art, Christian Symbols in a World Community, Fleming included photographs of the church and altar at the Tao Fong Shan Christian Institute. In an interesting domestic example of liberal Protestant internationalism, he also featured a photograph of the front door of Harry Fosdick's Riverside Church in New York City, with its sculptures of Moses, Confucius, Buddha, and Muhammed, along with missionaries William Carey and David Livingstone.
Prip-Moller felt that architecture was usually neglected by missions because of concerns about expense, even at the cost of making Christianity seem like a foreign religion, as well as a prejudice by Protestants against aesthetic concerns. He believed missionaries were inconsistent in teaching people that their culture was a gift of God while excluding their buildings as if God gave architecture only to the West. (60) In an article for the Chinese Recorder, "Christian Architecture in New-Christian Communities," Prip-Moller argued for the Christianizing of local architecture by adapting it to the new Christian ideas, so that harmony was obtained "and the soul and spirit of the old architectural forms retained." The spirit of Christian internationalism shone through as Prip-Moller's rationale for indigenous architecture when he wrote, "In the world today we need more than ever a strong Christian church which in the spirit of Christ cannot merely balance but lift up to a higher plane the nationalism, which in so me places tends to draw man away from God." Stating that Western-style churches were just as nationalistic and nonuniversal as non-Western styles, Prip-Moller urged that Christ's "supernationality" would become apparent only when his children could "sing His praise in their own tongue." (61)
The gathering momentum in the missionary movement toward indigenization in the 1920s and 1930s culminated in the meeting of the IMC in Madras, India, in 1938. The exhibits on indigenous Christian literature, art, and architecture were well received. Many different discussions occurred on various aspects of indigenization in the "younger churches," including liturgy and worship, the Christian home, indigenous hymnody, poetry, Christian festivals, and religious art. Delegates concluded that each nation should be encouraged to offer its own cultural forms to Christ. In the section on worship, it was recommended that national Christian councils collect cultural adaptations of liturgy and keep them in a library for future reference. The recent writings of Daniel Fleming on indigenous art, as well as the reflections of Prip-Moller on indigenizing architecture, were mentioned. (62) The official findings of the conference expressed the consensus on inculturation:
When churches grow up in the environment of non-Christian religions and cultures, it is necessary that they should become firmly rooted in the Christian heritage and fellowship of the Church Universal. They have their place in the great Christian brotherhood of all ages and races. But they should also be rooted in the soil of their own country. Therefore we strongly affirm that the Gospel should be expressed and interpreted in indigenous forms, and that in methods of worship, institutions, literature, architecture, etc., the spiritual heritage of the nation and country should be taken into use. The Gospel is not necessarily bound up with forms and methods brought in from the older churches. The endeavor to give Christ His rightful place in the heart of people who have not previously known Him--so that He will neither be a foreigner, nor be distorted by pre-Christian patterns of thought--is a great and exacting spiritual task in the fulfilling of which a young church can bring a rich contribution of her own to the Church Universal. (63)
At the same time, the conference kept before the churches the vision of Christian internationalism. While acknowledging that the missionary must "identify himself with the best aspirations and interests of the people he serves," the findings of the section on church and state cautioned that the missionary must at the same tome "be ever mindful of the worldwide fellowship he represents, and of the common citizenship of all Christians in the Kingdom of God." Despite the concerns of the delegates over militant nationalism, the Sino-Japanese War, and the rise of Nazism, they still affirmed that "in the missionary enterprise the Christian movement makes an indispensable contribution to the international order.... Here international and interracial contact may reach its highest level. The true missionary comes as a friend.... The wall and partition between nations and races is broken down in the ever-widening fellowship of the ecumenical Church." (64)
The 1938 IMC meeting showed dearly how internationalism and indigenization had grown together since World War I. (65) Madras had the highest proportional representation from the non-Western world of any mission gathering to date. With so many indigenous Christians from diverse parts of the world, the main topic of the conference was the "younger churches." The vision of Christianity as a worldwide community and a force for unity, peace, and justice in the world was evident in the global fellowship gathered there. At the same time, the conference called for the deepening of the Christian life in each national context through the adaptation of Christianity into different cultures. While faith in moving toward the kingdom of God on earth had receded since the more optimistic 1920s, the international vision had not died. Rather, in mission circles it had become more focused as the principle of indigenization within a global church. It was less likely to be linked to the former confidence in the Christian nature o f government policies like the Fourteen Points, the League of Nations, the Geneva Protocols against weapons of mass destruction, and so forth. In other words, by the late 1930s the locus of Christian internationalism had become recentered in the church itself rather than in the ability of the church to effect a new world order. (66)
Ambassadors from the Younger Churches
The dual themes of separating Christ from Western culture and supporting cultural indigenization were both part of the missionary contribution to Christian internationalism in the interwar period. Neither would have been effective, however, without the substantial participation of non-Western Christians in communicating a universal vision to the Western church. In the eyes of Westerners the most effective witness to world fellowship in God's kingdom was an actual living, breathing, English-speaking Christian from a so-called mission land. With "World Friendship" the mission slogan of the era, the 1920s and 1930s marked the beginning of the widespread use of indigenous Christians as ambassadors, or reverse missionaries, to the West. Perusing missionary magazines of the period, one is struck by how the actual voices of non-Western Christians were being heard in the 1930s. In earlier years a story written about a Chinese or African Bible woman in a missionary magazine would be in the Western missionary's voice. But by 1930 such stories were told in the voice and from the perspective of the indigenous Christian herself. Not only had years of missionary higher education produced literate non-Western leaders, but the missionaries realized that the voice of a so-called native Christian was far more effective in promoting an internationalist agenda than that of a missionary.
Starting in the 1920s, Christian student movements and mission organizations began sponsoring the publication in English of writings by non-Western Christians, especially of those who had been educated in the West and who shared the internationalist perspectives of their sponsors. Once again the international Christian student movement provided leadership in this area, and the indigenous officers of various YMCA, YWCA, and WSCF branches became popular speakers among Western university students and international friendship groups, as the experiences of Tissington Tatlow testified. (67)
A cursory examination of this literature produced in the West indicates a strong focus on Chinese and Japanese Christian perspectives in the 1920s. As missionaries sought to counteract the negative publicity of the anti-Christian-movement in China in 1922, to create support for renegotiating the unjust treaties from the mid-nineteenth century, and to build opposition to the Oriental Exclusion Act of 1924, they tried to humanize and individualize the Chinese and Japanese in the minds of Westerners. China To-Day through Chinese Eyes was a groundbreaking series of essays, published in 1922 and 1926 by the SCM of Great Britain. The list of authors reads like a Who's Who of Chinese Christian intellectuals and YMCA leaders, including T. C. Chao, David Z. T. Yui, Timothy Tingfang Lew, and T. Z. Koo. While exploring various aspects of the Christian movement in China, the authors endorsed the internationalist agenda, as did the Christian Church in China in 1922, when it called for "international world brotherhood" an d "international friendship" as Christian obligations. The newly founded Christian Church in China called for the Christianization of "the rapidly developing national consciousness" that was growing in China. (68) Writing on intellectual movements in China, P. C. Hsu, professor of philosophy at Yenching University, indicated that the Christian contribution to the rising tide of nationalism was to supplement it "by the spirit of Christian Internationalism," the doctrine of human brotherhood that would make possible a warless world. (69)
Another article by Timothy Tingfang Lew, former student of Fosdick and Fleming at Union Seminary and dean of theology at Yenching University, discussed the mixture of science, democracy, nationalism, and spiritual quest pursued by Chinese intellectuals in the New Culture Movement. A noted hymn writer, Lew received praise at the 1938 IMC meeting for having produced an experimental series of indigenous liturgies and devotional materials. In 1927 Lew became the first non-Western professor of missions in the United States when he taught for a year at Boston University School of Theology.
Among non-Western supporters of women's missions in the United States, none had the stature of the Japanese educator Michi Kawai, a former student at Bryn Mawr College, Philadelphia, founder of a girls' Christian school in Japan, and cofounder and head of the Japanese YWCA. Kawai was a devout internationalist; she maintained a network of friends in the United States, Great Britain, and China. Her first speaking trip to the United States was for six months in 1910 on behalf of the YWCA. She returned in 1926 to get help in supporting her Christian school and to create momentum against the exclusion of Japanese from the United States. On one occasion, Mrs. John D. Rockefeller and the Sidney Gulicks, who were former missionaries in Japan, took her to a church meeting where they spoke in favor of repealing the Japanese exclusion acts. Kawai recorded in her autobiography that her trip in 1926 affirmed her desire to make "international study" a feature of her school and to encourage her pupils to "usher in a new wo rld order, with peace and goodwill prevailing." (70)
In 1934 Kawai coauthored the mission study book Japanese Women Speak, sponsored by the Central Committee on the United Study of Foreign Missions. This book explored the themes of education, internationalism, pacifism, and world friendship being promoted by Japanese Christian women against the rising tide of militarism. (71) Having brought two speakers from China the year before, in 1934 the women's mission boards of North America sponsored a speaking tour by Kawai. One of the Japanese delegates to the IMC meeting in 1938, Kawai summarized the significance of the conference for Christian education: "It exhorts us to treasure each national or racial heritage and demands that we put into it the rich Christian blood which revives and invigorates the old indigenous culture." She believed that evangelism was the foundation for "ushering in the Kingdom of God on earth," and that teachers were coworkers with God. (72) Not surprisingly, Kawai and other Japanese Christian women suffered for their pacifism and internat ional outlook during the Second World War. American readers were able to sympathize with her struggles by reading her two autobiographies printed in English, My Lantern (1939) and Sliding Doors (1950). (73)
The impact of non-Western "reverse missionaries" on the shape of an internationalist missionary agenda between the world wars is a topic that deserves further research, but a few more brief examples must suffice. In 1923 Helen Kim, a recent graduate of Ewha Woman's College in Korea, was in the United States doing graduate work. Kim was founding president of the Korean YWCA and later became the long-term president of Ewha. In 1923 she attended a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the largest women's mission organization at that time. Kim gave a speech advocating the unification of women into a worldwide organization as an alternative to the League of Nations, which she considered a male organization. The proposed organization would promote world peace and fellowship, encourage the professionalization of women's work, protect women and children, train women to be world citizens, and establish justice and righteousness everywhere. Kim' s proposal was then presented by a Japanese and a Chinese Christian woman to the entire Federation of Woman's Boards of Foreign Missions. In 1929 the Methodist woman's missionary society considered changing its name to the "Women's International Missionary Society" to reflect that the world church was a sisterhood of equals. Then in 1939 women from twenty-seven countries formed the World Federation of Methodist Women. With its symbol the tree of life--suggested by Lucy Wang, president of Hwa Nan College in China--the federation supported the following "fruits" in each country: evangelism, education, medical work, literature, youth, childhood, world peace, temperance, rural education, home life, interracial relationships, and economic justice. The leaves of the tree symbolized the healing of the nations as Methodist women of different nationalities together sought to build a "Christian world order." (74)
The IMC meeting in Madras in 1938 was noteworthy for having seventy women in attendance, which happened partly through sustained pressure by Western women's mission organizations that pushed the various national Christian councils to appoint women to their delegations. The Chinese delegation was even headed by a Chinese woman, Wu Yi-fang, the first woman to head any delegation at an international conference. A graduate of mission schools, Wu held a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Michigan. In 1927 she became the first Chinese president of Ginling College, the only interdenominational woman's college in China. (75)
One of the international women at the IMC was a delegate from South Africa, Mina Soga, a teacher and social worker, the first African woman delegate to an international missionary conference. She attended the conference because longtime missionary Clara Bridgman, the only woman on the nominating committee of the newly founded National Christian Council of South Africa, insisted that a woman be chosen as part of the twelve-person African delegation. Soga made a big impression on the gathering with her singing and with her plea that Christianity be put into African form, in the culture of Africans. Recalled Ruth Seabury, who later wrote Soga's biography, "As we listened to her words some of us began for the first time to see the possibilities of the Christian message expressed in African terms." The conference made a big impression on Soga too, who experienced true interracial fellowship for the first time. She felt a solidarity with other delegates from the developing nations, as she recalled, "My journey out of Africa turned me from a South African into an African. Madras made me a world Christian." (76)
After the conference, with the American delegation making her arrangements, Soga and a few other international delegates sailed to the United States to share their experiences of world fellowship at Madras with mission circles, youth meetings, and church groups. Soga spoke in twenty-four American cities over a six-month period. The racial segregation in the United States meant that Soga's presence and her message about the situation in South Africa, as well as the vision of international Christian fellowship, were very timely and inspiring to both black and white Christians struggling to affirm racial reconciliation.
The most notable "reverse missionary" in the United States between the world wars was the Japanese evangelist, social worker, socialist, and pacifist Toyohiko Kagawa. Although some had been aware of his work earlier, the biography of Kagawa published in 1932 by William Axling, a long-term missionary to Japan, bought Kagawa to the attention of Western churches. (77) With another missionary, Helen Topping of the Kobe YWCA acting as his editorial assistant, Kagawa produced a number of books in English, including poetry, spiritual reflections, and an autobiography. Kagawa was one of the chief representatives of Christian internationalism, and he was sought after by mission groups, Japanese-American groups, and pacifist organizations. He shared the spirit of Japanese Christianity with Americans in a time of hostility and distrust between the two nations.
We close this cursory glance at ambassadors of Christian internationalism with a brief mention of the effect of Hindu reformer Mohandas Gandhi on Christian internationalists. Although the effect of Gandhi is much too complicated to consider fully in this essay, it should be noted that he had a number of missionary partners who introduced his nonviolent campaigns to Western audiences, including E. Stanley Jones and C. F. Andrews. One early and extremely thoughtful biography that introduced Gandhi to the West was published in 1932 (the same year as Axling's Kagawa biography) with the odd title That Strange Little Brown Man Gandhi. It was written by Frederick Fisher, supporter of Indian independence and former Methodist missionary bishop of India, who had retired from the bishopric to make way for the first Indian Methodist bishop. Fisher's study of Gandhi was a scathing indictment of white racism, Western imperialism, and capitalism. Fisher called for the self-determination of all peoples and for Christian met hods as the only adequate means to fulfill the Christian ideals of human brotherhood. (78)
The development of an international Christian consciousness between the world wars was a deliberate partnership between Western missionaries and English-speaking, well-educated non-Western Christian leaders. Returned missionaries like Fred Fisher and "native" Christians like Toyohiko Kagawa shared an international vision, even if their backgrounds and motives differed.
In this essay I have introduced the internationalist discourse within the missionary movement in the 1920s and 1930s. That discourse reveals that the global vision of a cooperative, worldwide, peaceful community of different races and cultures required deliberate attention to deepen the meaning of Christianity in each culture. While internationalism was a broader movement than the missionary movement in the period under review, missionaries made a distinctive contribution to it by envisioning a Christian internationalism in which indigenization of Christianity in each culture was a central feature.
As the 1920s gave way to the 1930s, optimism about the achievement of secular internationalism faded in the wake of Italian, German, and Japanese fascism, Soviet communism, and nationalist movements among colonized peoples. But a church-centered internationalism thrived as the growing world church deepened its emphasis on indigenization. It was not a coincidence that the most prominent missionary spokespersons for internationalism of the period were the same people who were the most committed to indigenization and devolution in mission practice. As mission practitioners, they were open to the spirit of Christ taking form in diverse cultures, and sometimes even in diverse religions and secular movements like the nationalist struggle in India.
Three steps were taken by the missionary movement to encourage Christian internationalism and its twin, indigenization. First, mission leaders were determined to separate Christ from Western culture and to see him incarnated in varied ethnic and national contexts. While they did not develop full-fledged indigenous theologies, these missionaries saw such development to be an unfolding major task for the so-called younger churches.
Second, mission groups entered into specific experiments in indigenization, including the sponsoring of indigenous Christian literature, art, architecture, liturgy, and the like. Still couched in the liberal internationalist discourse, it is no surprise that such experiments were accused of syncretism by both Western fundamentalists and indigenous conservative Christians. Karl Reichelt, for example, whose Ritual Book of the Christian Church Among the Friends of the Tao was praised at the 1938 IMC meeting for its adaptation to Chinese culture, was criticized for his Cosmic Christ theology by Hendrik Kraemer. (79) If indigenizers went outside the Christian context for their points of reference, they were seen as going too far by both missionaries and nationals. With Christian internationalism the underlying reference point for indigenization projects, the day was not yet ripe for pluralistic, contextual theologies.
Finally, the missionaries worked in partnership with a group of highly educated, articulate Christian nationals who, for their own reasons, became ambassadors of internationalism and indigenization to the West.
How does the Christian internationalism of the interwar period compare with the emphasis on global Christianity in our own day? On the surface, cynics could consider them both religious manifestations of larger movements for world unity spearheaded by materially successful, capitalist nations. The global agenda of our own era is driven by educated elites around the world in partnership with each other, which was very much the case with the internationalist agenda of the interwar period. While internationalism was a program for political unity, globalization has pursued a capitalistic, technological vision of world unity.
A second similarity between internationalization and globalization is the tension between top-down visions of world unity and opposing forces of nationalism or ethnic resurgence that draw strength from the global context. Militant nationalism marks both periods of history, and in both situations the Christian missionary has taken on a role as symbolic villain for anti-Western forces. As much as Christian mission organizations in the West like to think of themselves as apolitical, they are caught inevitably in the web of human history that paints them as representatives of Western political and economic power.
In terms of Christian mission, the major similarity between internationalism and globalization is the strong emphasis on the indigenization of Christianity. The excitement today about local forms of Christianity within a world church parallels that of the 1930s. (80) While missionary leaders of the interwar period lamented the lack of non-Western art and theology, by the late twentieth century non-Western theology was a thriving enterprise (though in many cases published by Western presses). Just as missionaries promoted non-Western art and literature between the wars, today Western Christian publishers sponsor non-Western theology. Although the internationalists tended to be theological moderates or liberals, today's advocates of globalization can be found in both liberal and conservative theological camps. Liberals tend to be interested in contextual theologies, while conservative evangelicals point to the global spread of evangelical Christianity into cultures all over the world. The World Council of Chur ches is today seen by many conservatives as a relic of a bankrupt, outdated liberal idealism. Yet as globalizing entities historically embedded in Western culture and capitalism, it may be that liberals and today's conservative evangelical "world Christians" have more in common than they would like to admit.
(1.) Robert J. Schreiter suggests that catholicity is "the theological equivalent of globalization." See Richard Bliese, "Globalization," in Dictionary of Mission: Theology, History, Perspectives, ed. Karl Muller, Theo Sundermeier, Stephen B. Bevans, and Richard H. Bliese (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1998), p. 176.
(2.) While mission scholars would not equate Christian missions with globalization itself, there is a theoretical and practical problem of how to relate to secular globalization, how to influence it, and how to avoid being so closely identified with it that when globalization's time has passed, the mission of the church does not get washed away with the ebbing tide of popular support.
(3.) For a discussion of the internationalist movement in the United States and its opposition to isolationism, see William Kuehl and Lynne K. Dunn, Keeping the Covenant: American Internationalists and the League of Nations, 1920-1939 (Kent, Ohio: Kent State Univ. Press, 1997). On the pacifist aspect of internationalism, see Charles Chatfield, For Peace and Justice: Pacifism in America, 1914--1941 (Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee Press, 1971).
(4.) This article is a foray into a larger research project investigating the relationship between so-called older and younger churches after World War I. Suggestions are therefore most welcome.
(5.) Sherwood Eddy, A Century with Youth: A History of the Y.M.C.A. from 1844 to 1944 (New York: Association Press, 1944), pp. 88-91, 106.
(6.) Tissington Tatlow, The Story of the Student Christian Movement of Great Britain and Ireland (London: Student Christian Movement Press, 1933), p. 673.
(7.) Ibid., p. 685.
(8.) See, for example, John Mott's promotion of a new social order and "Christianizing international relations" through the work of the WSCF. John R. Mott, The World's Student Christian Federation: Origin, Achievements, Forecast (N.p.: WSCF, 1920), pp. 76-87. See also Milton T. Stauffer, ed., Christian Students and World Problems: Report of the Ninth International Convention of the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, Indianapolis, Indiana, December 28, 1923, to January 1. 1924 (New York: Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, 1924). The agenda of internationalism was apparent especially in the exhibits, pp. 445-50. Michael Parker, The Kingdom of Character: The Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions (1886-1926) (Lanham, Md.: ASM and University Press of America, 1998), pp. 155-63; Nathan D. Showalter, The End of Crusade: The Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions and the Great War (Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1998).
(9.) Quoted in Dana L. Robert, American Women in Mission: A Social History of Their Thought and Practice (Macon, Ga.: Mercer Univ. Press, 1997), pp. 273-74.
(10.) Aslate as 1944, missionary statesman and pacifist socialist Sherwood Eddy indicated the ecumenical movement's hope for a "Christian world order" and the "coming of the Kingdom of God on earth." Eddy, A Century with Youth, p. 109. For a biography of Eddy, see Rick L. Nutt, The Whole Gospel for the Whole World: Sherwood Eddy and American Protestant Mission (Macon, Ga.: Mercer Univ. Press, 1997).
(11.) Charles H. Brent, "The Situation at Home," in The Foreign Missions Convention at Washington, 1925, ed. Fennell P. Turner and Frank Knight Sanders (New York: Foreign Missions Conference of North America, Fleming H. Revell, 1925), pp. 30,33,35.
(12.) John R. Mott, "New Forces Released by Cooperation," in Foreign Missions Convention, p. 209. For a biography of Mott that traces his work in building the global Christian movement, see C. Howard Hopkins, John R. Mott, 1865-1955 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979).
(13.) Mrs. Thomas Nicholson, "Educating for Peace and Goodwill," in Foreign Missions Convention, p. 177. On Nicholson's role in the missionary movement, see Robert, American Women in Mission, pp. 277-87.
(14.) G. K. A. Bell, The Stockholm Conference, 1925 (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1926), pp. 451,452.
(15.) Such arguments are similar to those of antiglobalization, antifree trade protestors today, to whom economic globalization looks like the agenda of the rich countries.
(16.) On the missionary aspects of the fundamentalist-modernist controversy, see Bradley J. Longfield, The Presbyterian Controversy: Fundamentalists, Modernists, and Moderates (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1991); Kevin Xiyi Yao, The Fundamentalist Movement Among Protestant Missionaries in China, 1920-1937 (University Press of America, forthcoming).
(17.) Harry Emerson Fosdick, The Living of These Days: An Autobiography (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1956), p. 24.
(18.) Ibid., p. 194.
(19.) Ibid., pp. 198, 304.
(20.) See Raymond B. Fosdick's autobiography, Chronicles of a Generation (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1958). On John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s internationalism, relationship to Fosdick, and support for many liberal nondenominational projects, see John Ensor Harr and Peter J. Johnson, The Rockefeller Century (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1988), pp. 153-80.
(21.) Telephone interview with Elinor Downs, May 7, 2001, Newton, Massachusetts. Downs herself worked in Geneva for the World Health Organization and then became dean of public health at Columbia University. Her sister Dorothy became a foreign policy expert who helped craft the United Nations Charter, the Marshall Plan, and NATO in the 1940s.
(22.) Robert, American Women in Mission, pp. 260-85.
(23.) The attempt to separate Christianity from Western culture had been a goal of nineteenth-century "three self" mission theory, but Western cultural assumptions were not widely criticized until after the First World War. For an overview of Western mission thought, see Timothy Yates, Christian Mission in the Twentieth Century (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1994.)
(24.) The copy of the book that I own, printed in November 1926, indicates that after its first issuance in September 1925, it had been reprinted monthly since. I don't know how many times it was reprinted, but The Christ of the Indian Road must have sold hundreds of thousands of copies.
(25.) For a brief biography of Jones, see Richard W. Taylor, "E. Stanley Jones. 1884-1973: Following the Christ of the Indian Road," in Mission Legacies: Biographical Studies of Leaders of the Modern Missionary Movement, eds. G. Anderson, R. Coote, N. Horner, J. Phillips (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis, 1994), pp. 339-47. Jones's name appears widely in meetings, publications, and caused associated with Christian internationalism. His influence was greater than that of any other missionary. For example, his ideas deeply impressed Methodist Walter Muelder, a seminarian in the 1920s who went on to become the leading social ethicist, ecumenist, and seminary dean of mid-century Methodism. (Telephone interview with Muelder, December 2000, Newton, Massachusetts.) I have found references to Jones jotted in the papers of South African, American, and British missionaries. On Jones' importance in Protestant pacifist circles, see Patricia Appelbaum, "The Legions of Good Will: The Religious Culture of Protestant Pacifism, 1918-19 63" (Ph.D. diss., Boston University, 2001).
(26.) E. Stanley Jones, The Christ of the Indian Road (New York: Abingdon Press, 1925), pp. 1, 49.
(27.) Ibid., p. 170.
(28.) E. Stanley Jones, "The Aim and Motive of Foreign Missions," in Foreign Missions Convention, p. 54.
(29.) Ibid., p. 56.
(30.) Daniel J. Fleming, Whither Bound in Missions (New York: Association Press, 1925).
(31.) Although I greatly admire William Hutchison's pioneering history of American mission theory, I think that he misinterprets the inter-war period by treating Fleming as an isolated, prophetic figure whose ideas were not widely distributed until reaching their fulfillment in Hocking's Laymen's Missionary Inquiry in 1932. (William R. Hutchison, Errand to the World: American Protestant Thought and Foreign Missions [Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1987], pp. 150-56.) Despite Fleming's heavy reliance on Jones in Whither Bound in Missions, Hutchison makes no reference to Jones in his book. Fleming did not stand alone but was part of a network of progressive mission thinkers and internationalists.
(32.) The used copy that I own of Whither Bound in Missions, for example, was owned in 1926 by M. Searle Bates, a sinologist and missionary who taught for thirty years at the University of Nanking, China, before filling Fleming's old post at Union Seminary in 1950.
(33.) Fleming, Whither Bound, pp. 45, 199.
(34.) David E. Mason, Frank C. Laubach, Teacher of Millions (Minneapolis: T. S. Denison, 1967), p.59.
(35.) While Laubach's later work as the apostle of literacy training was very important, its major accomplishments lie beyond the scope of this paper. For a short summary of Laubach's life and work, see Peter G. Gowing, "Frank Charles Laubach, 1884-1970: Apostle to the Silent Billion," in Mission Legacies, pp. 500-507.
(36.) Mason, Laubach, p. 130.
(37.) Frank Laubach, The People of the Philippines: Their Religious Progress and Preparation for Spiritual Leadership in the Far East, with a foreword by Daniel Johnson Fleming (New York: George H. Doran, 1925), p. vii.
(38.) Ibid., pp. 456,461,462,464.
(39.) On the missiology of World Friendship, see Robert, American Women in Mission, chap. 6.
(40.) Foreword to Mary Schauffler Platt, A Straight Way Toward Tomorrow (Cambridge, Mass.: Central Committee on the United Study of Foreign Missions, 1926), p. v.
(41.) Ibid., pp. 124, 129.
(42.) Ibid., p. 222.
(43.) The idea of the Cosmic Christ was a common theme adopted by twentieth-century missionaries who experienced good in other cultures, and even in other religions. More research is needed on the missionary use of this idea. The idea of the Cosmic Christ was a correlative of "fulfillment theory." On the prominence of fulfillment theory early in the twentieth century, see Kenneth Cracknell, Justice, Courtesy, and Love: Theologians and Missionaries Encountering World Religions, 1846-1914 (London: Epworth Press, 1995).
(44.) The Jerusalem Meeting of the International Missionary Council, March 24-April 8, 1928, vol. 3, The Relation Between the Younger and the Older Churches (New York: International Missionary Council, 1928), p. 166.
(45.) Ibid., p. 53. See Timothy Yates's excellent summary of the internationalist themes at Jerusalem 1928 (Christian Theology in the Twentieth Century, pp. 65-70).
(46.) I was discussing the thesis of this article with my former mission professor, Charles Forman, who was born in India; he was trained at Union Seminary, returned to India as a missionary, and then became professor of missions at Yale University Divinity School for thirty four years. He was also chairman of the Foundation for Theological Education in South East Asia from 1970 to 1989. As part of the liberal, internationalist movement in missions, he and his friends became missionaries in order to help the world. When in India, he tried to promote indigenous music, liturgy, and so on in the churches. One day an older Christian leader told him that although the Indian church had no choice but to accept the Western culture brought by the first missionaries, it was not about to let young missionaries tell the church what was indigenous or not. In short, even the missionary movement toward indigenization could be seen as an aspect of missionary paternalism. Interview with Charles Forman, December 6, 2000, New H aven, Connecticut. Also see Gerald H. Anderson, "Forman, Charles W.," in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. Anderson (New York: Macmillan, 1998), p. 218, and Charles W. Forman, "My Pilgrimage in Mission," International Bulletin of Missionary Research 18, no. 1 (January 1994): 26-28.
(47.) See pamphlets in the Archives of the Committee on Christian Literature for Women and Children, Record Group 90, Special Collections, Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut. Ruth Robinson, "The Treasure Chest" (n.d.); Clementina Butler, "A Quarter Century of Service to the Christian Home" (CCLWCMF, 1939), RG 90, Box 7, File 124. From the 1950s through the 1970s, the CCLWCMF conducted, writing workshops for indigenous women around the world, but these activities are outside the chronological framework of this paper.
(48.) Quoted by Clementina Butler, "Report of the Committee on Christian Literature for Women and Children in Mission Fields, Inc." (November 1939), p. 9, CCLWCMF Archives, RG 90, Box 4, File 65.
(49.) Butler, "A Quarter Century of Service," pp. 8-10.
(50.) Butler, "Report," p. 4. The filmstrip of the life of Christ used to evangelize the Chinese was a forerunner of the phenomenally successful "Jesus Film," seen in 712 languages by more than 4.6 billion people as of January 1, 2002. The progression from indigenization to the globalization of Christianity during the twentieth century is evident in the history of multimedia as well.
(51.) Daniel Johnson Fleming, Heritage of Beauty (New York: Friendship Press, 1937), pp. 9, 10.
(52.) Ibid., pp. 11, 12.
(53.) Ibid., p. 15.
(54.) Daniel Johnson Fleming, Each with His Own Brush (New York: Friendship Press, 1938), pp. 2, 11-12.
(55.) On the efforts of Bishop Azariah, the first Indian bishop of the Anglican Church, to indigenize the worship and architecture of his churches, see Susan Billington Harper, In the Shadow of the Mahatma: Bishop V. S. Azariah and the Travails of Christianity in British India (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), pp. 261-62.
(56.) "Notes of Discussion on International Exhibit of Christian Literature," March 1, 1938, International Missionary Council Archives, 1910-1961, World Council of Churches, Geneva (IDC, 1987), Fiche 262005, #4, Madras 1938, "Exhibits."
(57.) A. L. Warnshuis to Secretaries of National Christian Councils and Conferences, June 1, 1938, IMC Archives, Fiche 262005, #2, Madras 1938, "Exhibits."
(58.) See P. Prip-Moller to David Paton, February 12, 1938, IMC Archives, Fiche 262005, #1, Madras 1938, "Exhibits." On the life and work of Karl Reichelt, see Notto R. Thelle, "Karl Ludvig Reichelt, 1877-1952: Christian Pilgrim of Tao Fong Shan," in Mission Legacies, pp. 216-24.
(59.) Daniel Johnson Fleming, Christian Symbols in a World Community (New York: Friendship Press, 1940), pp. 92-93.
(60.) Prip-Moller to Paton, p.3.
(61.) J. Prip-Moller, "Christian Architecture in New-Christian Communities," Chinese Recorder, July 1939 reprint edition, pp.3-4,6. IMC Archives, Fiche 262005, #2.
(62.) IMC, The Life of the Church, Madras Series, vol. 4 (New York: IMC, 1939), pp. 5-6.
(63.) IMC, The Authority of the Fait, Madras Series, vol. 1 (New York: IMC, 1939), pp. 201-02.
(64.) IMC, The Church and the State, Madras Series, vol. 6 (New York: IMC, 1939), p. 256,255.
(65.) It should be noted that "internationalists" were not the only mission advocates interested in indigeneity during the 1930s. Internationalist discourse emanated from the "liberal" wing of the missionary movement. Conservative missiologists, like Hendrik Kraemer and Bruno Gutmann, were also interested in indigeneity, but they did not share the theological framework or rhetoric of internationalism. Continental missiologists tended toward a "bottom up" method of promoting indigeneity rather than the "top down" approach of the internationalists. On Continental criticisms of the "crusading" idealism of North American mission advocates, see Jan A. B. Jongeneel, "European-Continental Perceptions and Critiques of British and American Protestant Missions," Exchange 30 (April 2001): 117-18.
(66.) Church-centric mission was what the German and other Continental missionary advocates had been supporting all along. On the German insistence on church-centric mission between the wars, see Yates, Christian Mission in the Twentieth Century, and Jongeneel, "European-Continental Perceptions."
(67.) While the indigenous Christians I discuss here had their own perspectives that need to be explored, for the purposes of this study I am considering them in the context of facilitating the Western missionary agenda. Clearly, however, their participation in the internationalization of Western missions served purposes of their own, some of which overlapped with those of their sponsors.
(68.) Cited in Platt, A Straight Way, p. 206.
(69.) P.C. Hsu, "Intellectual Movements," in China To-day Through Chinese Eyes, 2d ser., 3d ed. (London: Student Christian Movement, 1927), pp. 29-30.
(70.) Michi Kawai, My Lantern (privately printed in Japan, 1939), p. 170.
(71.) Michi Kawai and Ochimi Kubushiro, Japanese Women Speak (Boston: Central Committee on the United Study of Foreign Missions, 1934). Other books published by the Central Committee also promoted "World Friendship" by making heard the voices of non-Western Christian women leaders. Of particular interest was a volume edited by Madame Chiang Kai-shek et al., containing articles by leading Christian women from around the world entitled Women and the Way: Christ and the World's Womanhood (New York: Friendship Press, 1938).
(72.) Kawai, My Lantern, pp. 227-28.
(73.) Michi Kawai, Sliding Doors (Tokyo: Keisen-Jo-Gaku-En, 1950).
(74.) Rosemary Keller, gen. ed., Methodist Women, a World Sisterhood. A History of the World Federation of Methodist Women, 1923-1986 (N.p.: World Federation of Methodist Women, n.d.), pp. 3-12.
(75.) On Wu, see Sherwood Eddy, Pathfinders of the World Missionary Crusade (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1945), pp. 220-27.
(76.) Ruth Isabel Seabury, Daughter of Africa (Boston: Pilgrim Press, 1945), pp. 79, 77.
(77.) William Axling, Kagawa (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1932).
(78.) Frederick B. Fisher, That Strange Little Brown Man Gandhi (New York: Ray Long & Richard R. Smith, 1932), pp. 231-33. After Fisher's death, his widow, Welthy Honsinger Fisher, a former missionary in China and leading speaker on internationalism, opened Literacy House in Allahabad at the request of Gandhi.
(79.) See Reichelt's speech on the Logos spermatikos, the Cosmic Christ idea that underlay points of contact between Christianity and Buddhism. ("The Johannine Approach," in The Authority of the Faith, IMC, pp. 90-101.) As a result of his missionary experience, Reichelt saw continuity between religions.
(80.) Ironically, a focus on indigenization, or multiculturalism in the church, is a critique of Western hegemony sponsored by segments of the Western church itself. In both the 1930s and the 1990s, American foundations established by rich tycoons funded research into Christianity as a global religion. It would be interesting to compare the research funded by the Rockefeller Foundation in the 1920s and 1930s with that of the Pew Charitable Trusts in the 1990s.
Dana L. Robert, a contributing editor, is the Truman Collins Professor of World Mission, Boston University School of Theology, Boston, Massachusetts. This essay was prepared with the support of the Currents in World Christianity Project. It was presented in July 2001 at the conference "Interpreting Contemporary Christianity: Global Processes and Local Identities," held in Hammanskraal, South Africa.