The English poet Rudyard Kipling once wrote about a young Englishman who left his homeland, determined to put the East to rights. He went, he saw, but conspicuously he did not conquer. Kipling poignantly recounts the sequel:

The end of the fight is a tombstone white

With the name of the late deceased

And the epitaph drear, ‘A fool lies here

Who tried to hustle the East.’

Times have changed, I discovered while attending the Chinese Congress on World Evangelization, held in August in Hong Kong. (See the News account in the September 24 issue.) A blistering pace was established; no longer does the East offer that eyrie where peace comes dropping slow. The conscientious participant, sticking rigidly to the schedule, would have breakfast at seven and be bused back to his hotel at 10:30 P.M. Most of the eight days he would attend no fewer than ten meetings, with breaks only for meals and a one-hour afternoon rest period. Some of the elders found willing spirit and weak flesh in conflict, particularly when extreme heat was succeeded by tropical rainstorms.

This must be written before I have adequate time to mull over my notes, but some general comments can be made about a congress that, according to the chairman, Dr. Philip Teng, would have been unthinkable even ten years ago. At that time there was not the desire for cooperation and unity that there is now. The Chinese churches have matured. Past international gatherings were sponsored by Westerners; right from the start the Hong Kong congress was entirely a Chinese project.

Teng saw the congress also as symbolizing “the sense of responsibility on evangelism of the Chinese church [so that it] will no longer only ‘receive’ but ‘give.’ ”

Perhaps ...

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