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CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS
Protestant Fellowship in Europe. — Dr. Charles S. MacFarland, the
general secretary of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in
America, has published a very interesting report of his recent visit to
Europe on behalf of the Protestant churches of America. Of particular
interest is the so-called Bethesda Conference of European Churches which
met in Copenhagen in August. Seventy-five delegates, representing
thirty-seven church bodies in twenty-one European nations, were
present. The state churches in the several Protestant nations, as well
as the denominations known as sects, such as Methodists and Baptists,
met in democratic form in this conference to consider the common inter-
ests of Protestant Christendom. In view of the intensity of the distrust
which has prevailed between Protestant bodies in Europe, this confer-
ence marks the beginning of a new united consciousness. The encourage-
ment and influence of American Protestantism is especially necessary
just now when so many Protestant bodies in Europe are facing extremely
difficult tasks of rebuilding their material and spiritual interests after
The World Conference on Faith and Order is making plans for a
meeting in Washington in May, 1925. In order to arouse public inter-
est in the problem of church unity the management of the Conference
is urging the organization of local groups for the discussion of questions
which will come before the Conference. It is interesting to note the
topics which are suggested for the consideration of Christians. First
Series: (1) What degree of unity in faith will be necessary in a reunited
church? (2) Is a statement of this one faith in the form of a Creed
necessary or desirable ? (3) If so, what Creed should be used ? or what
other formulary would be desirable ? (4) What are the proper uses of a
Creed and of a Confession of Faith ? Second Series: (1) What degree
of unity in the matter of order will be necessary in a reunited church ?
(2) Is it necessary that there should be a common ministry universally
recognized? (3) If so, of what orders or kinds of ministers will this
ministry consist? (4) Will the reunited church require as necessary
any conditions precedent to ordination or any particular manner of
ordination ? (5) If so, what conditions precedent to ordination and what
manner of ordination ought to be required ?
636 TEE JOURNAL OF RELIGION
It is interesting to observe that attention is here directed almost
exclusively to matters of official organization and formal belief. These
are questions which have been foremost in Christendom since the days
when the Catholic church branded heresy and schism as sins. In view
of the fact that there are so many branches of Christendom which glory
in their dissent from the authority of the body from which they divided,
it is questionable whether a revival of the discussion of these subjects
will greatly further the cause of Christian unity. There are large num-
bers of Christians who are asking whether the most hopeful pathway is
not in the direction of a co-operation in practical tasks, with the recogni-
tion of inevitable diversities in beliefs and in church organization.
The Increasing Friendliness of Science to Religion. — In an address
delivered before the New York Society for Ethical Culture, published
in the Standard for October, 1922, Professor M. C. Otto gives an illuminat-
ing survey of the relationship between science and religion. He points
out the fact that science has won the victory for the rights of its experi-
mental methods of research, and that it is becoming increasingly clear
that this triumph has been gained by a rigid kind of specialization. "It
is important to insist upon the indispensableness of science, but it is
equally important to remember with Clerk-Maxwell, himself an eminent
physicist, 'that there are many things in heaven and earth, which, by
the selection required for the application of scientific methods, have been
excluded from our philosophy. ' " Professor Otto notes a very widespread
longing on the part of scientists for the stabilizing and guiding of our
human life by moral and religious ideals. He deplores the fact that in
so many instances scientists know no other pathway than a resort to
vague mysticism or indefensible supernaturalism. He pleads for the
carrying over of the scientific attitude into the realm of religion so that
our human hopes and capacities and achievements may be guided by as
exact a knowledge of human nature as physical science possesses in its
guidance of physical processes. Not a mere emotional submission to
stereotyped religious ideals, but a creative thinking concerning our human
needs and possibilities is the imperative task of the present. "For
below all theories and creeds and faiths he (the modern man) will hold
to the conviction that neither science nor religion nor art nor commerce
nor any of the specialized forms of human activity is the end of man's
endeavor, but a satisfying life for all who may have a life to live."
Christianizing the Rural Community. — Foremost among the problems
of our day is the rural church situation. In the Biblical Review Quarterly
for July, Kenyon L. Butterfield makes a strong plea for the Christian-
CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 637
ization of all the forces of the rural community. Recent surveys have
shown many overchurched yet spiritually undernourished communities.
This is especially true of those isolated from the main currents of our
life. On the other hand, there is an increasing number of communities
where varied programs, based upon the needs of the local groups, have
been carried out. We recognize that the spirit of Christ is needed in
industry today, but we have failed to see that it is needed just as surely
in our rural districts. By Christianizing the community the author
means every phase of its life, economic, political, educational, and social.
There is no such thing as an individual Christian apart from a community.
Again, in this process of rural integration, the church is only one of the
agencies of Christianization. She is a means and not an end in herself.
She should co-operate with every other agency working in the same
direction, and should rejoice that the spirit of her Lord is penetrating
every phase of life.
The Missionary Awakening among Roman Catholics in the United
States. — Kenneth Scott Latourette, in the International Review of Mis-
sions for July, discusses this very interesting development among American
Catholics. With the decrease in immigration and the lessened demand
upon the church in assimilation, has come a new interest in foreign mis-
sions. Heretofore, the United States has been considered a field for
missionary endeavor. In recent years, however, the situation has
changed. Catholics of the United States have given more money to
the "Society for the Propagation of the Faith" than any other nation.
In 1018 it totaled over a million dollars. Several colleges and a number
of training schools have been established in recent years for the distinct
purpose of training missionaries. The Jesuits and other orders have
turned their attention in this direction. The rise of the Catholic Students
Mission Crusade in 1917 is significant. The movement is spreading
rapidly through Catholic colleges and universities. Another step in
the same direction has been the creation of the American Board of Catho-
lic Missions in 1920. And, unless unseen hindrances develop, a continued
growth seems certain.
Christian Education in China. — An illuminating survey of the
situation in China which calls for a wise program of Christian education
is presented in the International Review of Missions for July, 1922. The
article is written by Professor Ernest D. Burton, chairman of the China
Educational Commission of 1921-22.
The writer points out that there is yet no co-ordinated system or
general policy of Christian education in China. Again, the Chinese
638 THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION
government has been developing a system of schools patterned after the
modern educational systems of the Occident. In these government
schools are found twenty out of every twenty-seven pupils in school
in China. But Dr. Burton believes that the Christian schools, if rightly
conducted, can make to China's intellectual, moral, political, and spiritual
life a contribution of great value and one which cannot come from any
other source. " It is indeed not too much to say that without the power-
ful influence of Christian education there is no prospect that China will
either develop a healthy life within the nation, assume the place among
the nations which her magnitude, native ability, and resources call for,
nor escape being a serious menace to the world at large."
The specific and immediate objective of Christian education we are
told is the development of a strong effective Chinese Christian commu-
nity. "Only through such a community can the task of interpreting
Christianity to the Chinese, and on the basis of such interpretation,
making China a Christian nation, be accomplished."
The Commission has strongly recommended the establishment of an
Institute of Educational Research which would call to its services experts
in the field of education. These experts would investigate various prob-
lems needing solution and place their findings at the service of all Chris-
tian schools and educational boards. It is a conviction of the Com-
mission that all Protestant Christian schools should be co-ordinated into
one great system of Christian education.
There is much in China's rapidly growing industrialism which must
be remedied. The Commission has recommended the establishment of
an Institute of Social and Economic Research, which shall endeavor to
discover how business may be conducted in China both profitably and
on Christian principles.
The Commission also felt the need of positive and definite measures
for the conservation to the Christian movement of the products of
Christian education. There are large numbers of intelligent, educated
young men and women from the better class of Chinese families, and ail
too few churches in which they can be at home, and all too few pastors
who can claim or hold their attention. "On the other hand, the return
of educated non-Christian young men and women from America and
Europe is bringing into China a ferment of thought and discussion which
is permeating all the educated thinking classes." It is evident that
" China cannot be won to Christianity by an ignorant or a divided church.
A church must be created that can receive and use the Christian educated
product of the Christian school, and deal ably and fairly with the ques-
tions and criticisms of the young educated Chinese."
CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 639
The Crisis Confronting Protestantism. — "Constructed at infinite
sacrifice, cemented with honest blood, productive of eminent spirits and
manifold services, and resting upon principles which exercise a legitimate
and wide dominion, Protestantism now confronts the world situation
which tests the fitness of historic institutions and systems to survive.
Shall it perish, or prove itself the master of a grave and well-nigh uni-
versal emergency ?" This is the core of the issue discussed by S. Parkes
Cadman in the North American Review (October, 1922).
To meet the present world-problems the writer suggests that the
church must first adopt several measures of internal reform. The
church should cease its useless quarrel with modern learning. Among
the world's chief needs is that of a spiritual ideal in more complete accord
with the meditated experiences of life. Protestantism should meet this
need without forfeiting intellectual integrity at the behest of blind
Again, the church should be a first-class example of fraternal unifica-
tion. "That world which refuses to be either entirely Protestant or
Catholic does not desire Christians to make a transient truce, but to
arrive at a just and settled peace within their ecclesiastical borders.
Until they do so, what right have they to preach peace to separated and
suspicious states ?"
The church must regard the prevalent economic abuses not as acci-
dental but as normal products of the present system. "This verdict,
once it is adopted by Protestantism, as I hold it must be, will end its
fatalistic attitude toward social iniquities. It will then proceed to their
extermination as its third primal duty."
Perhaps the greatest immediate service which Protestantism can
render the world is to redress the balance between church and state.
"The reaction against the fatal heresy that the state is unconditional and
supreme should be promoted and yet restrained by the church." It is
the mission of Protestantism to guard the ethical and religious truths
which enrich every political heritage. "It can show that the claims of
the individual upon the state and of the state upon the individual are
reciprocal. But both sets of claims are conditioned by the fact that
man's obligations as a spiritual being must be duly honored."
What Should Be the Attitude of Missionaries in India to Political
Questions? — An English missionary has tried to answer this question
in an article entitled "Christian Missions and the Reforms" in Young
Men of India, February, 1922. He believes that the missionary should
no longer aim at the conversion of men only and let public questions
640 THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION
take care of themselves. Religion embraces all life, and no one can
live in water-tight compartments and merely apply religion to individual
life. According to his opinion, there is only a small class of missionaries
who are radicals; the conservatives are constantly diminishing in num-
ber; and the moderates, who belong to the largest group, declare that
not only is the development of self-government in accordance with
Christian principles but they also demand that reforms shall conduce
to the good of India and shall not result in any injury to the work of
missions. They believe that the reform should come through the steady
development of the powers that the councils now have and through a
constructive program of social uplift and constitutional agitation. They
admire Mahatma Gandhi but cannot agree with him in adopting methods
which will stir up bitter racial passions.
The Bible League of India, Burma, and Ceylon. — This new move-
ment just launched in India is similar to that of the Bible Union of China.
Its supporters, according to the Moody Bible Institute Monthly, February,
1922, will fight to prevent modernism and critical views of the Bible
from eating their "deadly way into India." The tendency to acknowl-
edge the merits of non-Christian religions and to regard Christianity as
in any way comparable to "heathen faiths" is to be resisted. Thus the
"fundamentalist" movement is reaching around the globe.
Child Marriages in America. — Recent statistics from the Census
Bureau have revealed some rather alarming facts regarding youthful
marriages in the United States. According to these statistics 1,600
boys and 14,834 girls, fifteen years of age, entered into the matrimonial
relation during the year 1920. Religious leaders and social reformers
have been pondering considerably upon that fact. The census reports
also state that 82 boys and 499 girls, of the age of fifteen, were either
divorced or widowed. According to the figures given by the Census
Bureau the number of youthful marriages is increasing from year to
year. Here then is another problem which confronts the church and
all organized forces which are aiming to establish a better social order.
Looking toward World-Brotherhood. — The seventh annual meeting
of the World Alliance for International Friendship through the Churches
was held during the third week of May, at Cleveland. Much of the
finest international feeling in America was expressed by this meeting.
The conference adopted a definition of international morality upon which
there should be no disagreement among Christians. It ran:
"Nations are the composite development of the individual and are
subject alike to the compensations of love and the penalties of injustice,
CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 641
intrigue, and hate. The Golden Rule grants no exceptions to nations
or to any group in the social order. Upon organized society is imposed
the binding obligation of obedience to the moral law, and neither parlia-
ments nor rulers can remove the ban. The church everywhere must
begin to preach the doctrine of applying to governments and international
relationships the same moral and spiritual standards of life as are
binding upon individuals."
The conference earnestly requested our government to take part
in the recently established Permanent Court of International Justice,
since the way is open for America to do so on a basis free from "any
further international involvement," and since America has long and
consistently contended for the settling of international disputes by law
rather than by war.
The conference also strongly recommended that churches organize
classes for the study of the principles of the Christian religion in their
application to international relations.
Palestine Today. — General Allenby's entrance into Jerusalem De-
cember 25, 1917, meant the beginning of a new era for Palestine. The
Methodist Quarterly Review (January, 1922) presents an article upon "The
Religious and Social Conditions of Palestine" by J. M. Rowland, who
has recently studied that land. The writer tells us that with the break-
ing of Turkish power in Palestine redemption has come for the women
of that country. They are fast throwing off their traditional veils and
costumes. The British have established government schools, and the
churches have already planted 150 schools in the land. Mosques are
almost empty save for lazy loafers. Jerusalem is fast becoming a modern
city. It now has a telephone exchange, a splendid new water system,
a weekly paper printed in English, Hebrew, and Arabic, electric lights
shine over the city, and the people show in many ways that they are
catching the spirit of the west.
The Prohibition Movement in Chile. — The Latin- American countries
look to the United States as a source of inspiration for their political and
social reforms. The prohibition movement in Chile is an example of
this, according to Ernesto Montenegro, whose discussion of the present
temperance propaganda in Chile appears in Current History for March,
1922. The writer tells us that for years there has been a steadily increas-
ing propaganda in Chile for the repression of alcoholism. Thirty years
ago a National Temperance League was founded in that country, and
ten years later a bill was passed for the taxation and control of alcoholic
beverages. At the present time the Chilean government is considering
642 THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION
a new temperance project. The plan is to limit the quantity of intoxicat-
ing drinks produced at every vintage for five successive years; also to
tax every vineyard of the country according to acreage, regardless of
the amount they produce. Fifty per cent of the taxes on the vineyards
will be used to compensate vinegrowers and distillers who wish to
abandon their business and engage in other work. The other 50 per
cent of the taxation will be used for temperance propaganda, for stimulat-
ing the export of standardized wines and for research work to improve
the methods of production of fuel alcohol. The liquor interests are
more powerful in Chile than in any other Latin-American country, but
it looks as if that state will have the honor of leading in a South American
movement toward prohibition.
The Church and Negro Education. — The church is playing a large
part in the education of the negro in our country. In an article on
"Negro Education in the United States," appearing in the World Call
(March, 1922), H. L. Herod presents some facts relating to negro educa-
tion and what the church is doing in this work. There are 653 non-state
schools devoted to secondary, higher, and private training of negroes.
All of the schools are financed mainly through the benevolence of
churches and other philanthropic organizations and individuals. The
secondary and higher education of the southern negro has been left
almost wholly to the church through its mission boards and individual
Christian donors. From first to last in all the schools the fundamental
aim of character-building is kept to the fore.
There is a great need for many more schools to handle the problem
of negro education. More teachers must be trained and a great mumber
of elementary schools and colleges established. It is estimated that in
order to meet in any adequate measure the problem of educating our
10,000,000 American negroes there are needed at least 3 university
centers, n standard colleges, and 20 junior colleges. Here is a great
opportunity for the church to carry forward still farther the work
which it has so well begun.