The Missionary Factor in East Africa

By Roland Oliver | Go to book overview

Chapter Five
MISSION, CHURCH AND STATE, 1914-49

1

IT IS CURIOUS for a European to reflect upon the conclusion, reached by Professor Latourette after surveying the worldwide development of the faith, that not only was Christianity stronger in 1944 than it had been in 1914 but also that these thirty years had constituted one of the greatest periods in its long history.1 For in Europe, and especially in the Protestant North of Europe, the Christian outlook had scarcely established its position against the determinist philosophies of natural science and against the first application of scientific method to Biblical studies, when it suffered the much wider impact of the First World War. This catastrophe shattered the faith of Europe in the moral values which it had inherited from the nineteenth century, and gravely injured the Churches which had seemed to be so closely connected with those values. Imperialism in general and missions in particular fell sharply in the esteem of a public opinion which no longer felt that western civilisation had incalculable benefits to confer upon inferior races, and which was even being stimulated by the discoveries of social scientists to a revival of the romantic cult of the noble savage. This unpopularity was inevitably reflected in the financial support of missions

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1
Latourette, op. cit., VII, p. 3sq.

-231-

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