Friday, September 3, 2010

Revised end to chapter on early work in China

Remember to avoid the footnote links. They take you off page. This is what we have. Can you help us elaborate? Anyone?

The work in China did not end with the exodus or death of the three prominent missionaries. A world tour touted as a fact-finding tour to examine missionary prospects was planned for 1912. Advance preparations included assigning someone to oversee a missionary witness and the preparation of special tracts:

Before the four-month world tour by the IBSA committee was completed, Brother Russell had arranged for R. R. Hollister to be the Society’s representative in the Orient and to follow through in spreading to peoples there the message of God’s loving provision of the Messianic Kingdom. Special tracts were prepared in ten languages, and millions of these were circulated throughout India, China, Japan, and Korea by native distributors. Then books were translated into four of these languages to provide further spiritual food for those who showed interest. Here was a vast field, and much remained to be done. Yet, what had been accomplished thus far was truly amazing.[1]

The Chinese tract was entitled Ming Yu Bao. Its circulation caused a stir among foreign missionaries in China. The Chinese Recorder of March 1913 warned: “Large numbers of sample copies of the ‘Ming Yu Bao’ the organ of Pastor Russell in Chinese, are being circulated among the Chinese Christians, accompanied by the statement that the paper will be sent free to anyone sending his address to the publishers. … We should like to warn our readers everywhere of the pernicious teaching which are being promulgated in these papers and the very insidious manner in which truth is mixes with error so as easily to deceive the unwary and unsuspecting Chinese. The results can but be disastrous.” Pastor Russell has been “exposed” by prominent religious journals, the editor of The Recorder sniffed, but to no avail. “We are doubly sorry that he has thought fit to try and sow discord in the ranks of Christian workers in China by the establishment of an agency for the circulation of his literature in this country. It is well that all should be on the lookout.”[2]
Efforts were made to reach English speaking missionaries too. Working through the Pastor Russell Lecture Bureau, something called The Bible Study Club was organized and a paper entitled Bible Study was published. Again The Chinese Recorder protested:

We have received two copies of a paper called “Bible Study,” and inside one is a letter signed “Bible Study Club, V. Noble, Secretary” addressed to “Fellow-servant in a foreign field,” and reading in part as follows: - “We proffer you our little journal free on receipt of a postal card request. Even postage included, the expense will not be a serious item to us,, &c”! This is followed by the intimation that on the reverse side of the letter will be found a place for the addresses of missionaries, which may be entered on the subscription list, ad libitum, but only at their request.”

The Continent, a Presbyterian journal noted for opposing Russell and The Watch Tower sent someone to visit the Bible Study Club offices located in the Metropolitan Building in New York City. The magazine reported:

The office to which Mr. Noble invited correspondents to write is occupied by a business concern of an entirely different character, which reports that “Mr. Noble” simply receives mail at that address. This firm disclaims all connection with him. On a corner of the glass in the door is the revealing line, “Pastor Russell Lecture Bureau.”

Of course “Pastor” Russell has the right to disseminate his writings as far and as liberally as the gifts of his followers enable him, and a certain measure of respect would be due his industry if he always stood out and out for what he is. But a man who so characteristically loves and uses masks, disguises, and misleading evasions is obviously governed by a spirit not at all in harmony with that sort of character which Jesus applauded – the character which comes to the light that its deeds may be revealed.[3]

How successful this effort was is unknown, though it seems to have seriously shaken Protestant missions in China and elsewhere. In 1913 The Chinese Recorder announced the release of a twelve page tract giving extracts of an American anti-Russellism tract in the Chinese language. In February 1914, A. C. Gaebelein remarked on “the appeals for help which come to my office from China India Central America Korea and other places to do something to counteract the poison circulated by Russellism …”[4] Beyond that nothing is known at this time. A gap of some twenty years leaves a blank in our story, the next missionary effort being made in 1933.
[1] Jehovah’s Witnesses: Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, Watchtower Society, New York, page 421.
[2] The “Ming Yu Bao,” The Chinese Recorder, March 1913, page 134-135.
[3] Pastor Russell Again, The Chinese Recorder, August 1913, page 469. Quotation from The Continent is taken from this source.
[4] The Coming and Kingdom of Christ: A Stenographic Report of the Prophetic Bible Conference Held at the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, February 24-27, 1914, Bible Institute Colportage Association, Chicago, 1914, page 152.

No comments: