Re-Thinking Missions: A Laymen's Inquiry after One Hundred Years

By William Ernest Hocking; Laymen's Foreign Missions Inquiry. Commission of Appraisal | Go to book overview

religions stand. We have been able to discover little effective use of either instrumentality in the interest of religion on the mission field up to this time. It is recognized that both the radio and the moving pictures have peculiar possibilities of usefulness in the spread of Christian ideas in mission lands. Some slight beginning has been made. While it is questionable whether funds should be diverted from the publication of books for this purpose, experimentation in the use of both the radio and the moving pictures should be encouraged.


Summary

The missionary contribution to the spread of knowledge and of ideas in each of these countries has been of long duration and of immense direct and indirect benefit. The patience, industry and scholarship represented by their labors are praiseworthy. A new day has come, however. Perhaps in no other field of endeavor has the success of missionaries in making themselves dispensable been so complete. There is no permanent place for many missionaries in writing, translating or editing the literature of Christian thought in India, Burma, China and Japan. A continuing service of great value can still be rendered by men in mission service who have organizing and business experience in connection with publishing. Experience in many situations has demonstrated that one wise foreigner can exert an influence upon a group of Chinese or other national Christians that will make their work far more effective. He must be a wise, humble and resourceful man, however.

There are, of course, serious problems confronting the Christian Literature Societies. Some of them inhere in the charters under which they operate and in the conditions attached to their endowment funds. The reluctance to turn over valuable properties and the responsibility of continuing a missionary activity of such long standing, is natural. The literature societies are not only inter-denominational but international in their composition and financial support. Their officers are responsible to a widely scattered constituency. A

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