THE MISSION IN THE WORLD OF TODAY
IT IS no new experience for Christian missions, least of all for Protestant missions in Asia, to be questioned. In the very position of foreign missions, as guests and for the most part uninvited guests, among people of other ways and faiths, they are used to glances which ask, Why are you here? They have had to make their own friends and create their own welcome. It is one advantage of their exposed situation that they are spurred so constantly and so deeply to re-think the meaning of the faith they recommend.
There are now other questions being put to them, not by the nationals where their work lies, nor by official visitors from the churches at home, but by the turn of the times. Have these missions in some measure finished their work? Are there new channels for what they have been bringing? Is there a decline in their value to the Far East, in view of vast changes since their early days in the relations of peoples and the means of intercourse?
Our Commission has brought to a group of Protestant missions in the Orient questions of this sort--not its own questions, we repeat, but the questions of the time--expressed by laymen of the several churches concerned. This Commission has been instructed to be thoroughgoing in its inquiry, and objective in its attitude. It was asked to consider whether these missions ought any longer to go on. And if they ought, whether it should be with great change, or little change, or none. By an objective attitude was meant not a coldly critical attitude--it was at no time forgotten that the mission is a work of devotion and must be judged with devotion--but an attitude which endeavored to consider always the greater interest rather than the lesser, the good of humanity rather than