The Outlook in the Moslem World
The chain of conferences of workers among Moslems, held last February, March and April, in different parts of Northern Africa and Western Asia, and culminating in the General Conference in Jerusalem, did not meet one day too soon. Several considerations accentuate their timeliness. The recent extensive and profound changes in nearly all parts of the Moslem world called for a fresh orientation of the work of Christian missions to this important part of the missionary task. The remarkable developments within Mohammedanism rendered a fresh, united study imperatively necessary. It was recognized that experiences of recent years in other parts of the world-wide missionary movement should be made available to those engaged in mission work among Moslems. The need felt in the home base countries of knowing the mind and wish of the workers throughout the Mohammedan lands, as well as the desire of the missionaries and native leaders in these lands for opportunity to speak with united voice to the Churches in the West, made these gatherings peculiarly opportune.
The International Review of Missions is published by the International Missionary Council, but except where otherwise stated the writers of the articles are alone responsible for the opinions expressed.
It is difficult to see how they could have been held even six months earlier, and the Christian movement would have suffered loss had they been deferred another year.
These assemblies of missionaries and leaders of native Churches were held at the initiative and under the auspices of the International Missionary Council. The Continuation Committee of the General Conference on Missions to Moslems held at Lucknow in 1911 abandoned the idea of holding a conference of its own and merged its plans with those of the Council. The first Regional Conference met in Constantine, Algeria, February 6-9, and served North Africa, including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and regions of the Sahara. This was followed by the conference at Helouan, near Cairo, February 22-26, representing Egypt, the Sudan and Abyssinia. The third conference was to have been held in Constantinople but the disturbed state of Turkey rendered the holding of a public gathering unwise. The ends in view were served in a measure by more intimate and unofficial group meetings and interviews. The next regional meeting held at Brummana, near Beirut, March 25-29, represented the forces of Syria, Palestine and Transjordania. 1 The Regional Conferences were followed by a General Conference in Jerusalem, April 3-7, which was attended by delegations from each of the preceding gatherings and also by deputations from other areas of the Mohammedan world including Arabia, Iraq, Persia, Turkestan, China, British India, and the Dutch East Indies. Although the conference was limited to eighty persons, this number included outstanding missionary administrators, educators, medical and social workers, and other recognized leaders of the Christian forces of all parts of the Mohammedan world reaching from North-West Africa to the Dutch Indies, and from Central Asia to the heart of Africa, as well as workers from the mission boards of
1 At a later date, namely April 12-14, following the General Conference in Jerusalem, a regional meeting was held in Bagdad conducted by Dr Zwemer and attended by a group representing missions in Iraq and Persia.
Europe and America engaged in work for Moslems. There were present not only missionaries, but also leaders of native Churches, including distinguished converts from Mohammedanism. In the annals of Christian missions there has never been brought together such a representative and influential company of the leading minds at work on the problems of Christian missions to Moslems.
At the invitation of the Patriarch of the Greek Church in Jerusalem, the General Conference met in his beautiful Church on the Mount of Olives. The men delegates lodged in his summer palace, in other buildings adjoining the Church and in tents pitched under the olive trees. The women delegates were entertained in the Russian Convent near by. All members of the conference had their meals in common in the refectory of the convent. The time of the conference was not occupied with addresses and the reading of papers, but was devoted to discussions based on a carefully prepared questionnaire which had been circulated in advance. The delegates were seated on the outside of tables arranged in the form of a hollow square running the length of the Church, thus enabling them to see and hear each other to the best advantage, and thereby facilitating intimate conference. It would be impossible to describe and difficult to exaggerate what it meant to the conference to be permitted to meet on this sacred Mount overlooking Jerusalem and with its own deeply moving associations.
The entire membership of the conference was divided into ten Committees of Findings on the following subjects : Accessibility and Occupation, Evangelization, the Christian Church, Christian Education, Christian Leadership, Christian Literature, Women's Work, Medical and Social Needs, Co-operation and Spiritual Dynamic. Each Committee of Findings based its work on surveys and papers prepared and circulated in advance, on the findings of the various Regional Conferences, on the discussions of the General Conference, and upon the constructive, corporate thinking of the committee itself. The last long day of the conference was devoted to receiving, discussing, amending and adopting the reports of the ten committees. The findings, which will shortly be printed and made available for Christian workers among Moslems and for missionary societies related to work in Moslem lands, have served to co-ordinate the experience, thinking, and vision of workers among Moslems throughout the world. They constitute an up-to-date, prophetic view of work among Moslems.
The conferences were in no sense legislative bodies. Their findings have no more weight than the weight of the truth and insight which they embody. This, however, should be great indeed as we think of the personnel and their exceptional background, rich experience, and wide outlook.
We would call particular attention to the following, among many points brought out in the discussions and findings, as reflecting the common mind of the delegates
- and as being of special concern to all who have at heart
the extension of the Kingdom of Christ.
(1) The conferences revealed unmistakable evidences of the weakening or disintegration of Islam. This is true politically. Generally speaking nationalism is taking the place of pan-Islamism. The Turkish Moslem, for example, is becoming more Turk than Moslem. The abolition of the Caliphate has had a profoundly disturbing effect not only in Turkey but throughout the Mohammedan world. There are signs on every hand of the weakening of the social hold of Islam. This is illustrated in the changing position of women, especially in the cities, for example, in the postponement of marriage and the greater freedom of choice on the woman's part, in attendance of women at lectures and entertainments, in the formation of women's clubs, in the larger liberty in the use of the veil, and in the evergrowing demand for education. The spread of western industrialism and the startling development of the material aspects of modern civilization have had a marked disintegrating influence. I asked one of the most eminent professors of the El Azhar in Cairo what gave him greatest hope for Mohammedanism. He replied, "I see no hope; materialism is overwhelming us."
Intellectually great changes are observable. On every hand one encounters a hunger for knowledge. A new mentality is being developed as a result of contact with western science and civilization during the war. Above all, one is impressed with the religious unsettling among Moslems. Many are sorely perplexed and do not know where they are going. There are multiplying evidences of rebellion against tradition and external authority. Much of the old bigotry and fanaticism have gone. There is a spirit of inquiry abroad combined with a determination to make the most of themselves and of the new day. Many workers bear testimony that no longer do they encounter the proud, self-satisfied Islam which they knew before.
(2) The marvellous accessibility of the Mohammedan world to the friendly and constructive ministry of the I Christian religion was also revealed. The discussions of the conferences led to the conclusion that perhaps four-fifths of the 235,000,000 who constitute the population of the Moslem world are now increasingly accessible to every j Imethod of missionary approach. This may be said of all British India, the Dutch East Indies, Persia, Mesopotamia, China, the Balkans, the whole of North Africa, and likewise Central, East and West Africa, with the possible exception of Northern Nigeria. Whole regions and entire classes of people who never before were reached by the message of Christ have now become physically accessible. There have been rapid and fascinating developments in ease of communication throughout North Africa and the Near East by the construction of thousands of miles of railways and modern highways, the use of automobile transport, and the air post. Even the Sahara has within a few months been crossed by automobiles, and a railroad is now under construction. The trip from Bagdad to Damascus which formerly required weeks, has, within a year, been reduced to nineteen hours.
Political conditions have become much more favourable in nearly every field unless it be Turkey. Many governmental restrictions have been removed. Colonial governments once hostile to missions among Mohammedans have become more and more friendly and in some cases are even supporting medical and social missionary programs. The new mandates for the Near East and the new Con- stitution recently promulgated in Egypt, contain definite promises of religious freedom. The war brought vast numbers of Moslems into direct contact with western civilization and opened their eyes to a new world. Moslem men and women of wealth and social position are visiting Christian lands in increasing numbers, and literally thousands of Moslem students have gone from Asia and Africa to European student centres. A multitude of workers from North Africa are streaming into France. It was stated at the Jerusalem Conference that more Moslems yearly visit Paris than Mecca. Contacts between Moslems and European Christians are unparalleled in extent and influence.
Attention should also be called to intellectual accessibility. In almost every Moslem land education is being actively promoted by the government as well as by Christian missions and the rate of literacy is rapidly increasing. The rising generation is gaining an entirely new outlook because the newspaper, books, the cinema, the theatre, and modern pictorial advertising have created a hundred points of contact with western civilization. A far larger proportion than formerly of pupils and students in the mission schools and colleges of the Near East and Southern Asia are Moslems. The same is true of parts of Africa. A missionary stated at the conference in Egypt that formerly in Abyssinia parents forbade their children to look in the direction of the mission schools ; now they bring them to the mission schools. He added that the parents may not wish to change their own religion, but allow their children to do so. This suggests the new religious hospitality or accessibility. Workers from every field testified to the new willingness to hear the gospel message as well as to the larger response. Certainly a remarkable change has taken place in the attitude of Moslem men and women to the Gospel. They are attending meetings more largely ; they gladly accept literature ; they are buying and reading the Bible more and more. Religious prejudice is being broken down in every conceivable way. Professor Levonian at the Jerusalem Conference reported that a daily paper in Constantinople had for seven months been conducting a discussion on the Personality of Christ. The problem in the Moslem world, to-day, therefore, is not that of accessibility, but one of adequate multiplication of workers and of a better distribution of the forces available.
(3) Relatively there has been a neglect of Moslems on the part of the Protestant Christian forces. We are not comparing Protestant forces on the one hand and those of the Roman Catholic or Eastern Church Communions on the other, for these other great bodies have likewise overlooked work for Moslems. But in proportion to their importance and extent Protestant missions to Moslems have received vastly less attention, fewer missionaries, and less adequate financial backing than those to any other great non-Christian religion. Notwithstanding that the Lucknow Conference in 1911 laid the facts before Protestant Christendom, the following areas or countries in which the population is wholly or predominantly Moslem are still practically unoccupied : Afghanistan, the provinces of Hejaz, Asir, Nejd and Hadramout in Arabia, Russian Turkestan, parts of Siberia, Bokhara, the eastern part of the Malay peninsula, Socotra, the Moslem populations of Madagascar, Albania, Bulgaria, Jugoslavia, the Crimea, Georgia, and Russia in Europe, Tripoli in North Africa, the French Sudan, the great Aures Mountains, Saharan Atlas ranges, the central populous mountain region of Morocco, and the vast Sahara itself â€” fields having in them a total population of nearly 40,000,000. The Mohammedans of China numbering over 8,000,000 have scarcely a missionary devoting himself entirely to them. The 69,000,000 Moslems in India also present a field largely unoccupied, for very little special work is carried on among them. It was pointed out in the Jerusalem Conference that in large cities like Bombay, Lucknow, Delhi and Lahore where formerly there was special effort to win Moslems, to-day there are no missionaries wholly devoted to the task. Even taking into account all the missionaries who are giving portions of time to Moslems, it must be admitted that in proportion to the total number of more than 5000 missionaries in India, the aggregate amount of time bestowed upon the Moslem task is almost negligible. Even in the Near East and the Nile Valley but a very small number are wholly engaged in Christian work among Moslems.
In the Moslem world there are probably 100,000,000 women and girls still unreached. Miss Trotter, the pioneer | and spiritual leader of a heroic band of women workers in North Africa, said, ' Each of these Moslem women needs a human soul lashed alongside in sympathy and prayer. If we could place a hundred thousand who had their hearts on fire we could touch the problem.' Facts like these brought to the attention of Churches in the West and students in the universities and seminaries, should correct a widespread misconception that the demand for mis- sionaries is less urgent than formerly and likely to diminish rapidly in the future. This certainly is not the case in by far the larger part of the Moslem world. The dearth of Moslem converts is to be explained largely on the ground of the extreme shortage of workers equipped and set apart especially for this undertaking.
The surveys conducted in certain Moslem fields show an excessive concentration of forces in a few main centres resulting in a corresponding neglect of vast areas. Moreover, the preoccupation of a majority of missionaries with appointed tasks in institutions, or in the work of general supervision, leaves the number definitely devoting their whole time to work for Moslems very small indeed. In certain fields, such as Syria and Palestine, the present number of workers might prove to be sufficient were they more advantageously distributed. It seemed to be the opinion
I of the delegates at the different conferences that the mission boards should re-examine the assignment of workers in the light of greatly changed conditions. Certain missions and Churches need to catch a new perspective and bring about an entire readjustment of emphasis and effort. In some fields, chiefly in the Near East, the time has come when the native evangelical Churches should be led to constitute themselves the chief agency for the evangelization of Moslems by shifting the emphasis of their work from missionary activity among the Eastern Churches to direct efforts for Moslems. As a Greek priest said to one of the
^delegates, : We should not work in each other's nets but launch into the deep.'
(4) Moslems can be converted, Moslems have been converted, Moslems are being converted. In each area one of the most rewarding inquiries was the following, ' Do you know of definite cases of the conversion of Moslems ? If so, give the circumstances and indicate the influences which were brought to bear.' The delegates were requested to speak from personal knowledge only. The answers constitute a most remarkable record of the vital and conquering power of the Christian faith. Representatives from all parts of the vast Moslem world recounted with particularity and with thrilling effect incidents among the most interesting and impressive to which the writer has ever listened. Some workers confined themselves to describing one case of conversion, others told of whole groups brought to Christ. A few were able to bring in reports of scores or hundreds of converts of whom they had first-hand knowledge. Missionaries from Abyssinia and the Dutch Indies told of even thousands of baptized Moslems.
There are also in the judgment of some missionaries what in the aggregate amounts to a multitude of secret inquirers and disciples of Christ. In one conference a prominent missionary said, ' I believe there are so many secret seekers and inquirers at present that if ten people in this room would throw their weight toward the winning of these men and women we could soon tell not of tens but of hundreds turning to the leadership of Christ.' The cumulative evidence of these witnesses reminded one vividly of the corresponding stage in missionary work for Hindus and for the ancient literati of China. The impression is too widely prevalent in the Churches at the home base that work for Moslems is comparatively fruitless and hopeless. What we saw and heard emphatically and convincingly contradicts such a misconception. The truth of the matter is that the time has come to reap. Whereas formerly indirect methods of approach were necessary, on account of government restrictions and Moslem opposition and fanaticism, to-day in many Moslem lands the way is open to widespread and direct evangelization. The mind of the Moslems is now in a plastic and impressionable state and must be given the Christian message.
(5) The positive, constructive, irenic and sympathetic approach, method and spirit now largely prevail in Christian work among Moslems, as contrasted with the negative, destructive, polemic and unappreciative. Only along the pathway of heroic and sacrificial experience on the part of workers who have devoted all their powers to the task, and who deserve all praise for their prophetic, pioneering ministry, have the deeper lessons been learned and has the way been prepared for the larger fruitage of to-morrow. The following excerpts reflect the virtually unanimous attitude and practice of the representative companies of missionaries and native leaders who attended the conferences. ' Avoid all negative and unfruitful controversy and rely on the positive preaching of Christ crucified and the implications of His Cross, supporting one's appeal to the Moslem heart by the testimony of one's own personal experience.' ' Winning men by winsome truth is the true basis of approaching Moslems.' 4 The controversial method is to be avoided and the Christian worker should seek through the spirit of love to find points of contact in the Moslem's own faith and experience through which he can lead him to Christ.' c Seek the highest and best in the Moslem peoples and lay hold of that and build upon it.' Our message has been too much occupied with the weakness of Islam rather than with the power of Christianity. The present is a time for working quietly. The Moslems are pulling down their own house, but they do not want foreigners to do it. Let us continue to present the all-sufficiency of Christ rather than to make polemical attacks upon Islam. When a new and a true conception of Jesus Christ is created in the Moslem mind, they will be drawn unto Him.
(6) Is there need of a shifting of emphasis in the methods employed to reach Moslems ? It is difficult and probably impossible to reflect adequately the mind of the different conferences, but there are some outstanding impressions from the many debates on the subject.
In every field work among and for the very young should be emphasized. While this may seem like a truism, there is added reason for giving priority to such work in Moslem lands. The blighting influence of Islam begins very early. The little children, therefore, should be brought to Christ before mentality and character have set in Moslem moulds. On this point the experience of the missions in Algeria, as set forth in the findings of the North Africa Conference, is fresh and convincing. Without shadow of doubt the method most likely to produce permanent results is that of work among children.
Educational missionary work in the past has been one of the most effective means to ensure the entrance into new Moslem territory, the holding of ground already occupied, and the gaining of a hearing for the Christian message. It has also been indispensable as a means for raising up and training an adequate leadership for the Christian forces. Christian education still constitutes one of the best methods of approach to Moslems. The demand for the expansion of such work is increasing in every field. Even where government systems of education have been established there is still recognized need for the character-building processes of Christian education. It should be up-to-date and second to none in point of educational efficiency.
As was strongly emphasized in Jerusalem, there is clear and universal testimony that the present situation in the Moslem world creates a need for literature as a dynamic and penetrating instrument of Christian educational evangelism altogether without parallel in range and urgency in the literary history of Moslem peoples. Literacy is rapidly increasing in most Moslem areas. This is developing an ever-expanding demand for literature. In these days every printing press in Mohammedan lands should be working up to its capacity. The conferences brought out even more, however, the importance of emphasizing the qualitative aspect of the subject. The discussions were based on the splendid piece of survey work set forth in the volume Christian Literature in Moslem Lands which had been placed in the hands of every delegate. The General Conference acted unanimously on the recommendation which came up from each of the regional meetings, as well as from North America and Great Britain, and set up a Co-ordinating Committee on Christian Literature for Moslems, with Bishop Maclnnes as chairman. The prompt and generous backing of this new policy by the mission boards will satisfy the demand of discerning workers in the entire Moslem field.
Medical work is still one of the most valuable and efficacious means employed in work among Moslems. It not only relieves human suffering, but manifests powerfully the spirit of Christ, obtains a hearing for the Christian message where other means fail, and is a fruitful agency for wide-spread evangelization.
Social work is especially needed because Islam constitutes a close society social as well as religious, and makes provision for the whole life. New converts should be received into an equally organized community to satisfy that need for brotherhood which the Moslem always craves. If we recognize and deal with Islamic religious feelings and theology only we shall fail, owing to the enormous weight of social conditions binding the Moslem in every detail of practical life. Social activities cannot replace but should accompany, aid, illustrate and complete the direct teaching of the Gospel. The Jerusalem Conference placed special emphasis also upon social reform, including infant welfare, child marriage, child labour, general conditions under which industry is carried on as to hours of labour, living wage and sanitary condition of factories, temperance reform, elimination of opium, hashish and coca leaf and their derivatives, traffic in women and children, and prevention of cruelty to animals.
(7) More thorough and more highly specialized training for missionaries and native leaders is absolutely essential. Christian work among Moslems to-day is such as to require workers who not only possess the largest native ability but also have acquired the most complete preparation. In addition to general culture and professional training for special types of activity which are necessary for work in any field, there are two lines of preparation so vital that they are regarded as indispensable.
(a) Training in linguistics which will develop facility in mastering the languages, both colloquial and classical, used by the people.
(b) Thorough training in Islamics which will impart real understanding of the mind and heart of the Moslem to-day. The scheme of training should include historical Islam and also contemporary movements within Islam. A limited number of carefully selected workers should be set apart by the missions to specialize on Islam with a view to their directing the studies of other workers on this subject. The program of preparation exhaustively outlined in the booklet entitled The Presentation of Christianity to Moslems and issued by the Board of Missionary Preparation of the Foreign Missions Conference of North America was strongly endorsed by the Jerusalem Conference. The Cairo School of Oriental Studies was also commended and it was advised that similar schools be established in large areas which cannot be adequately served by this institution.
(8) If we depend largely on the Oriental Churches to meet the situation as it exists to-day in the Moslem world, we shall miss the present opportunity ; nevertheless, faithful and persevering efforts should be put forth to enlist their full co-operation. The question recurs from time to time, In view of the fact that the Oriental or Eastern Churches are located directly in front of large sections of the Moslem world, why not let them at least divide the responsibility of evangelizing the Moslems ? With this in mind the writer had extended interviews with the Patriarchs, Metropolitans, Archbishops and other ecclesiastical leaders, as well as educators, of the various Eastern Churches. This included the Greek Church proper, the Armenian Church, the Syrian Church, the Coptic Church, the Abyssinian Church, the autonomous Churches of Roumania, Bulgaria and Jugoslavia, as well as representatives of the Russian Church who are at present so widely scattered in lands outside Russia. Few if any of the outstanding present day leaders in the realm of thought and action of any of these great Communions were overlooked. Each one was asked this question : ' What is the present policy or program of your Communion with reference to the evangelization of Moslems ? ' In every case the answer indicated that they had no such plan or program. This, then, led to another question : ' Why has your Church no such program ? ' Various reasons were given, but the serious fact in every instance was that they were not ready at the present time to co-operate in this vast and urgent undertaking.
One came to the clear conclusion, therefore, that we could not in the near future depend upon these religious bodies for any large reinforcements. Nevertheless a careful study of the impact of these Churches on the Moslem world will convince one of the great desirability and necessity of leading them to undertake a missionary program. It was encouraging to meet here and there, especially among the younger clergy and teachers, an intelligent and sympathetic response to the appeal for co-operation. Moreover, the work of the Student Christian Movement in the Near East in recent years has revealed the large possibilities in the direction of enlisting among the students who are members of the Eastern Churches volunteers for aggressive Christian work on behalf of Moslems. This is one of the largest unworked leads. Moreover, one cannot speak too highly of the sympathetic attitude of not a few of the present day leaders of these Churches. The Committee on the Church at the Brummana Conference well expressed the thought of the various conferences in the following finding :
The missionary societies and native Churches should use every practicable means, especially through friendship, to re-inspire the Oriental Churches with the apostolic and missionary spirit which characterized them in the days of the early Church, and to encourage both individuals and the Churches as a whole, now that recent changes have made it possible, to take their full share in the evangelization of the Moslem world.
A deeper note was struck at the Jerusalem Conference by the Committee on Christian Leadership :
As the sufferings of Christ win human hearts, so the loving service of those Avho have suffered most at Moslem hands will most powerfully attract those who are now opposed to Him. Native leaders, therefore, have a peculiar opportunity to give irresistible evidence of the power of Christ.
(9) The time has come for bringing about closer co-operation among the leaders of the Christian forces at work among Moslems. For several years the need has been recognized of a closer co-operation among the missionaries and other Christian workers in the Moslem fields. The Cairo and Lucknow Conferences and their related activities revealed the advantages to the missionary cause resulting from more intimate fellowship and collaboration in planning and in effort. While these benefits are now being realized by the workers of India and China through their well-planned and efficient National Christian Councils, and in more limited areas such as Egypt, Syria and Palestine through intermission councils, there has been no arrangement which has made possible united action on the part of the workers throughout Northern Africa and the Near and Middle East. The following finding unanimously adopted at the Jerusalem Conference is, therefore, highly significant and it is believed will do much to ensure the carrying out of the many other important resolutions of the recent series of conferences and the realization of the high hopes entertained by the delegates and by all others who have at heart the highest welfare of the work of Christ among Moslems:
The Conference has reviewed with interest the development of the National Christian Councils in China, Japan and India, enabling the Christian forces in those areas not only to increase opportunities for co-operation on the field, but to speak with a united voice to the home Church.
The Conference is convinced that the time has come for the formation of a Council representing the various Christian agencies and conferences in North Africa, Egypt, Northern Sudan and Abyssinia, Syria and Palestine, Turkey and the Balkans, Arabia and Mesopotamia, and Persia. We, therefore, recommend that a Preliminary Committee be appointed at this time to formulate a plan for a Council for Western Asia and Northern Africa, to present it to the various agencies concerned, and to confer with the International Missionary Council concerning affiliation with that body. Pending the adoption of the permanent plan of organization the Preliminary Committee shall seek to conserve and promote the realization of the findings of this and of other committees of the Conference.
The Preliminary Committee is composed of twenty-one persons representing the various fields of Northern Africa and Western Asia, its Executive Committee consisting of the following : Dr Charles R. Watson, Chairman, Mr George Swan, Secretary-Treasurer, Rev. J. H. Nicol, Vice-Chairman, Dr E. F. Frease, Bishop Maclnnes, Mrs George H. Huntington, Sheikh Mitry S. Dewairy and Bishop Gwynne.
(10) Our Christian faith is involved and, in fact, is at stake in the way in which we at this time deal with the need and opportunity presented by the Moslem world. To prove the validity of our faith we must bring Christ to the entire Moslem world. Archbishop Whately has said, "If my faith be false I ought to change it; whereas if it be true; I am bound to propagate it." There is no middle ground. We must either modify or abandon our faith or be logical, consistent and apostolic and expand our plans and practice so as to give all Moslems opportunity to know Christ. The fact that there are still difficulties apparently insurmountable and that the conquering of them inevitably calls for great sacrifice, and, perchance, martyrdom does not break the force of our obligation. To preserve our faith, or to maintain its purity, vitality and conquering power, we must give ourselves more largely to its propagation throughout the vast areas of the Moslem world. We need to remind ourselves in all solemnity of those early Christian Churches which existed in thousands across the breadth of North Africa and which have disappeared leaving no living trace, and to ask ourselves what was the reason that for over a thousand years Islam reigned supreme where once these Churches witnessed for Christ. Moreover, the state of certain of the Oriental Churches to-day, and even of sections of the Protestant Communion here and there which have neglected their missionary responsibility and thus lost their world-conquering power, are present-day evidences and warnings of the danger.
The essential victory or ultimate triumph of our Christian faith is involved as well as its validity and vitality. A Gospel which cannot, after being adequately brought to bear upon Moslems, win their minds and hearts and command the allegiance of their wills, must fail to satisfy the deepest longings and the highest expectations of the followers of other religions and of those without any religious faith. Ultimately, therefore, the triumph of the Christian cause in other foreign fields and at the home base is involved in what takes place in the heart of the Mohammedan world. The most searching experience and possibly the most creative hour in each of the recent conferences was the consideration of the topic, ' What has Christ to bring to Moslems which they cannot under any circumstances obtain from their own religion or from any other source ? ' The corporate thinking and intercession of those memorable hours confirmed the faith of every one as to the absolute uniqueness, supremacy and sufficiency of Jesus Christ the Living Lord. This unshakable conviction, and the practical means to ensure its being held in true prominence and as a dominating influence in the life and action of missionaries and native Christian leaders and the members and supporters of missionary societies related to the Moslem task, are so well voiced in the report of the Committee on Spiritual Dynamic that we venture to give this report in full. It will be suggestive to remind all readers of the circumstances attending the preparation of this report. The committee had assembled to draft findings on the subject. They seemed to be unable to make any progress. The Chairman, Bishop Gwynne of the Sudan, suggested that the committee adjourn and that each of its members go apart for a period of private prayer for divine guidance. Later they reassembled and drafted the report as it now stands. It should be added that, although this experience was not known at the time by the members of the conference, this is the only report presented at any of the conferences which was accepted unanimously without any modification or amendment.
The only spiritual dynamic is the Living Spirit of the Crucified and Risen Christ Himself. The whole Moslem world is awaiting the release of this vital force through human personalities vitalized by this Holy Spirit and witnessing with a new power to the Cross of Christ as the central fact of faith and life. We submit that the spiritual dynamic for such a compelling witness is, in the good purpose of God, always available. But there is nothing in the Bible or in the experience of the Church to suggest that it is available cheaply. Each marked release of the Holy Spirit of God in human lives must be at the cost of definite surrender and prayer. We find, therefore, that the situation in missions to the Moslem world calls for definite action along the following lines :
I. A change of emphasis in the life of the missionary and of the community associated with him.
(a) A mission house under modern conditions tends to become a home of organization and of good works. We submit that it must be equally a home of prayer even at the cost of refusing some other opportunities for service.
(6) We suggest that local governing bodies, in allocating staff, should rather leave work unattempted than crowd workers' lives until only short and weary hours are left for communion with God and for intercession.
(c) We submit also that such bodies should hope for and gladly accept a special vocation to the work of prayer on the part of some of their members and should so plan that those on whose heart God lays this burden shall be able to fulfil their ministry.
(d) We submit that not only private prayer but communal worship should have a more central place in the daily activities of any missionary group and the oriental brethren associated with them, and that fuller exploration should be made of the possibilities of small prayer circles, of retreats and conventions, and that far more use should be made of communal seasons of silent waiting upon God.
2. Change of emphasis in the policy of the home hoards. We submit to the home boards :
(a) That the life of worship is equally important with the life of more outward activity in any mission community and that boaixls should definitely plan in the staffing of institutions or stations for such freedom from pressure as shall leave space for this.
(6) We submit that since the devotional life, especially in the spiritual atmosphere of Moslem countries, must, along with joy, involve suffering and wrestling with spiritual wickedness in high places, the training of missionary candidates must include definite teaching and discipline in the use of seasons of devotion.
3. Effect of such a change of emphasis. We suggest that such a change ot emphasis will in itself prove fruitful as a witness in the Moslem world.
(a) A mission house which is as much a home of prayer as of other work and is known to be so, is in itself a witness that God is given the first place in life.
(6) In communion with God, differences between eastern and western mentality cease to count, common worship may be the greatest unifying force between oriental and western workers and may call forth that sacrificial living which no amount of able organization and teaching can demand.
(c) There is a quality in the lives of those who are much with Jesus which is recognized by non-Christians and is a surer witness than a vast output of work.
John R. Mott