The fact that this terse expression has become trite does not invalidate its significance, and it is apposite to the situation in many mission fields today. It takes on added significance when we realize, if we do, that time is running out on us and that the coming decade may well decide the issues of our world missionary program. Africa, or at least part of it, is the one continent that is still adolescent in development, and as such, offers the best opportunity for Christian missionary work.
Victory In A Pagan Land
It is computed that there are some four million Roman Catholic and two million Protestant adherents in the Belgian Congo today. Even allowing for a certain enthusiastic exaggeration, the two faiths could probably number, at least, four million sympathizers. That is over 30 per cent of the total population, surely an amazing success in a land and among a people who were entirely pagan eighty years ago, and where the Christian message was quite unknown.
It may be said, with some degree of truth, that the missions went in for quantity at the expense of quality, and that in the early days of missionary work their eagerness to break the crust of pagan life inclined missionaries to impose the minimum of conditions on those brave enough to break away from stark heathenism. Yet, as the impact of the Christian truth made a breach in the walls of pagan thought and custom, it became necessary to hold up a standard for Christian aspirants that exceeded by far that in the home church of which the missionary was a representative.
In the Belgian Congo, for instance, the Congolese did not consider lying a sin. Rather, it was regarded merely as a defensive measure adopted until one could be sure he could somehow wriggle out of the ...1
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