Skip to main content

Full text of "Current Events and Discussions"

See other formats


STOP 



Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World 

This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in 
the world by JSTOR. 

Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other 
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the 
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. 

We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this 
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial 
purposes. 

Read more about Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate-jstor/individuals/early- 
journal-content . 



JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people 
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching 
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit 
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please 
contact support@jstor.org. 



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 war. 

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 ? 

63s 



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 
obscurantism. 

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.