In this postwar period we have heard a great deal about closing doors. Missionaries on furlough have warned us that in their part of the world we have “five more years” or “ten more years,” as the case may be. Dozens of books have been published with such provocative titles as Missions in Crisis, Missions in Revolution, Missionary, Go Home. And only the Lord knows how many magazine articles of this kind have appeared in the last twenty-five years. We seem to have a pathological preoccupation with closing doors; in fact, we have talked so long and loud about them that we have come to believe our own story. Consequently many Christians are about to write off the missionary movement because it has no future.
One reason for the prevailing pessimism is the failure of the mass media to give us the full picture. Newspapermen are interested in news, and news must be exciting if not sensational. “Business as usual” holds little appeal for the mass media. When several hundred missionaries evacuated Congo in the summer of 1960, the secular press published pictures and articles of the event. When those same missionaries returned to Congo six months later, none of the press services picked up the story. The average American read about the exodus. He heard nothing about the return. Naturally, he came to only one conclusion: Congo is closed.
Is it possible to separate the facts from the fiction? After all, there are almost 50,000 Protestant missionaries in more than one hundred countries of the world, in any one of which the political situation may change overnight. In some parts of the world, governments rise and fall with the barometer. To keep abreast of the international news requires a hotline to the United Nations Information Bureau. ...1
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