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3. To Be: One may know and do, and may not be what he should be. He may have a good realization of what is actually wrong with China; he may pretend to do what is right for her, but he may not be sincere. His pretentions are mere camouflage; outwardly he may be doing it but at least with an ulterior motive, if not a sinister one. To Be is to become—a founder, a leader, or an organizer. One becomes the moulder of thought, the builder of character, the inspirer of life, and the personifier of the large-minded and ever-loving Christ, when one begins to live a life irreproachable, to say and act with responsibility and a high sense of duty. To Be is to display one's true self in its real worth and to its best advantage. To Be is to manifest the Inner Man, and Being is the measure of value of one's existence. To Be is to show how. Admiral Li Ho, sometime Vice-Minister of the Chinese Navy, refused to worship and offer sacrifice to the Chinese war gods when ordered to do so by the President of the Republic and he resigned his post because he was a Christian through and through. Although the President, on learning that he was a Christian, was prepared to countermand his order and requested Admiral Li to withdraw his resignation, yet the Admiral persisted, giving as his resaon the fact that no-compliance with the order from the highest authority of the land should bring about dismissal. His resignation was finally accepted with regret and the President immediately offered him an advisership to the President. All of this happened in a natural way. Yet on account of Admiral Li's action, and similar actions of other Christian leaders in Government service, the Christian religion is now more respected throughout the country than ever before. Many obstacles and prejudices of twenty-five years ago have been removed. If we would be willing tools of the dictates of our conscience we can Be what we should Be.
Yours at command,
CHINESE STUDENTS IN AMERICA
By Frank W. Price Mr. Price is an associate secretary of the Association-Ed.
At such a conference, our thoughts naturally center around two themes, China and Christ. We are constantly projecting the social and religious problems discussed in these days, and the messages we hear, upon the background of China's conditions and needs. Many are asking themselves, “Does China really need Christianity? What are the essential elements in Christianity that can help her people, individually and socially? What distinctive service can Christian men and women contribute toward social reform, education and progress, and the nation's upbuilding ?” And all of us, I do not doubt, whether Christian men, or open-minded, reverent students of Christian truth, are looking into the future, and wondering what the Church of Christ, now planted and growing on Chinese soil, is going to mean to the history of China and the world?
For Christianity cannot but affect deeply the life of the Far East. Think how profoundly it has influenced the course of events for two milleniums in Europe and America, through great men who have come under its power, and the millions who have sought to follow Christ. The long story of the Christian Church in the West is interesting, valuable and inspiring in the main. It contains much too that is unworthy, abuses and divisions and intolerance, but these have developed from human limitations, and in spite of, not because of the real spirit of Christ. The twentieth century finds Christianity, despite many failures and the Great War, a greater force than it ever was, I believe, for individual and social righteousness and international brotherhood.
The missionary fires which began to burn so intensely a hundred years ago, have carried Christian pioneers, preachers, physicians and educators to Africa, South America, Japan, India,
*Part of an address at Chinese Delegation, Silver Bay, July 1920.
Korea, China and every land. But the work of the missionaries is only the scaffolding, the native Church with its own trained leaders, its own organization, its own strong life and influence, must be the permanent building. In 1840, the number of Christians in China could have been counted on the fingers of one hand. Today, there are 400,000 and a Christian constituency of a million, and a wider circle of interested and thoughtsul students of Christianity. The new Church in China is not handicapped by historical schisms and cramping traditions. It can share the rich heritage of religious history and experience which the West has had for two thousand years; at the same time it can build directly upon the foundation of Christ Himself. This will not destroy the best of China's ancient civilization and thought; truth knows no national boundaries, and Christianity will find fullest expression when China has illuminated it with sacred and philosophic insight and all nations have entered into its life.
The “China for Christ” Movement is a union movement of all churches in China, under Chinese leadership, for united advance by the Christian Church in China. A few sentences from the opening address at the first China-for-Christ conference in Shanghai last winter, by Dr. Cheng Chin-yi, will show you its vision and possibilities:
"Why is the Christian Church in need of such a movement at the present time? First, because there is an unusual willingness on the part of the more enlightened classes outside of the Christian Church to study and investigate Christian truth. .... The influence of Christianity is being felt and recognized by men who have the love of their country at heart. One may casely say that the Chinese Christians have never been so willing and ready to take part in the divine task of serving their fellow men and of extending the Kingdom of God on earth. . . . It should be a spiritual movement, every activity of the Church should be the expression of its spiritual nature and such alone can satisfy the deepest need of the world today. ... Whatever form the movement may take it should be a Chinese movement. In this the Chinese Christians must take a leading part. ... The mobilization of all the Christian forces throughout the entire country is necessary to the success of any forward advance. ... What should it attempt? To conquer illiteracy, enlisting, training and utilizing men and women for Christian service . . . cultivating giving ... reaching the unreached. About $10,000 have been given to the work of the Yunnan Mission, nearly all of which came from Chinese sources. . . . Christianizing the public conscience. ... Deepening the spiritual life. . . . Are we daring enough to capture the unparalleled opportunity in taking China for Christ?”
What can we do now to help this momentous Movement ? First, let us understand it very clearly. The watchword is daring, “China for Christ.” Why Christ? Has not China an adequate moral system? Is religion necessary ? Such questions sometimes assail our minds; our friends often bring them to us in the sincere quest of the truth. The genuine experience of every real Christian is the strongest answer. But it is well for us to remind ourselves often that no other religion makes so universal appeal to all races, classes and condition of life, and is spreading with such power today. It reaches deepset into the human heart, touching the springs of action; it reaches broadest into social and world life, making love and the Golden Rule the ideal; it reaches highest to God, calls him Father and bids us pray. It is the religion of hope, of encouragement, of power to change men, of service and sacrifice. And the Ideal and Leader is not a cold idea, but a living Personality, Jesus Christ.
Again, the China for Christ Movement is laying strong emphasis on the organized church. We are often tempted to criticize and undervalue the Christian church, in general, or some individual church we happen to know, in particular. It does not seem to us to be accomplishing much. Certain members are hypocrites. The preacher is narrow-minded. And we often minimize the importance of church membership. One can be a "Christian at heart." Yet the Christian Church is just an organization, with the defects and weaknesses of every human organization, of those who are following Christ with sincerity of purpose and helping to work out His program in the world. It is necessary. It is vital.
Christianity has been brought to us from the time of Christ by the Church. We must put our Christian life and service in
China into an institution which will carry on after we are gone. That institution will be the church in China.
Achievement, in an orchestra, in athletics, in business, in industry, in war, is the result not of individual, isolated effort, but of co-operation. Where one is weak, many are strong. Against organized evil, we must organize the forces of spiritual power. A united Chinese Christian Church will wield a mighty weapon against materialism, corruption, cruelty, immorality, and other private and public sins in China today.
Then, every man needs sellowship in his beliefs, and worship and tasks. Lise grows in the soil of friendship, and the church is a group of comrades in faith and purpose. I have been in large church congregations in this country which were like one big family. Such a congregation was a unit for good in in the community. Members were loyal to each other and their church. I wish every church in China might catch the spirit of one little Chinese laborer in France, whom I came to know well. He was in Paul Kwei's camp before he came to mine. The lad had become a Christian when working in Tientsin and was baptized in the Chinese Independent Church, founded by Dr. Chang Po Ling. Persecuted at his home in Kiangsu, he decided to join the army of laborers. In France, though illiterate, he was a leader in the anti-gambling movement in his camp and others, and showed his love and loyalty for his home church in Tientsin by sending two or three hundred francs of his savings back to its support every year.
The power of the Christian Church as a whole in China depends on the power of the thousands of individual churches scattered over the nation, in cities, towns, villages, and hamlets Many of us have been identified with such churches in China. Each one of them has a community to serve, to make cleaner and healthier, safer, happier, and more useful to the nation anil God. The “li-pai t'ang” may close on weekdays, but the church should not, for the church is the Christian group, and the Christian group should be taught and led in ways of Christ-like life and service from one Sunday to the next.
Now, how can we in America bear a hand with this movement in China ? How can we aid its advance now and prepare to aid it more when we return?