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144BOOK REVIEWS Brown's list employs the term "Arrived in China," when what is meant is "Year mission service began." Kathleen L. Lodwick Pennsylvania State University/ Lehigh Valley The Conversion ofMissionaries:Liberalism inAmerican ProtestantMissions in China, 1907-1932. By Lian Xi. (University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press. 1997. Pp. xvi, 247. $38.50.) This is an excellent book,which I recommend highly to all with an interest in China missions, the course of liberalism in American missions theology and American Protestantism in general, or the subtle relationships between foreign missions and theology on the home front. Lian Xi, who is professor of history at Hanover College, Indiana, has given us a thoroughly researched, well argued, and elegantly written monograph. The author's purpose is to explore the "unraveling" of nineteenth-century missions certainties and the emergence of "liberalism" among an important sector of American missionaries in China between about 1910 and the 1930's. The "liberalism" discussed throughout the book is very much in the tradition of that in several works by William Hutchison of Harvard Divinity School, by whom Lian Xi has been strongly influenced. The book has two parts, which are quite distinct. Part I has three chapters summarizing the careers of individuals representing the loss of evangelical faith and the growth of sympathetic, even syncretistic, views among some American missionaries concerning the relationship between Christianity, native Chinese religions, and Chinese society. The three are Dr. Edward H. Hume, a pioneer of the Yale Mission in Changsha after 1905 and president of Yale-in-China until 1927; Reverend Frank J. Rawlinson, who came to China as a Southern Baptist evangelical in 1902 and later was editor of the influential Chinese Recorder from 1914 to 1937; and Pearl Buck, Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning author, who grew up in China in a Presbyterian missionary family and who herselfwas officially a Presbyterian educational missionary from 1914 to 1933. The chapters profiling these individuals are concise and clear, though ample information on all three is available in other scholarly works. Part II of the book, more ambitious, has three chapters tracing the evolution of liberalism in China missions from the unionist institutional initiatives of the early twentieth century, through the devastating impact on missions of a newly assertive Chinese nationalism in the 1920's, to the final denouement of surrender by some liberal missionaries of any claim to Christian distinctiveness and rejection altogether of the traditional missionary program. These chapters are well executed, and firmly set on the Chinese scene. They include brief portraits of often overlooked parts of the picture, for example, the Bible Union of China BOOK REVIEWS145 (the conservative/fundamentalist backlash to Modernism), the quixotic Gilbert Reid and his International Institute, and the Laymen's Inquiry and Report of 1932 (which marks the end of the coverage of the book). Lian Xi's conclusion stakes out a more ambitious claim, which cannot easily be proven: that the mission experience, especially in China, shaped the emergence of liberalism in North American theology on the home front during these decades. Here he makes some good points, such as the centrality ofmissions to Presbyterian conservatives as the focal point of their protests against liberalism, and the large number of liberal ex-missionaries who came home to teach in major seminaries . My major criticism of this work is that by ending in the early 1930's it gives the impression that the liberal/modernist impulse carried the day in missions. However, as a new work byJoel Carpenter,Revive UsAgain: The Reawakening ofAmerican Fundamentalism (Oxford, 1997), makes clear, a resurgence of conservative Christianity, including a strong thrust in foreign missions, was beginning just in these years. That impulse has been dominant inAmerican Protestant missions in the decades since; today, liberal missionaries like those described so well in this book are few, while fundamentalists on the mission field abound. Daniel H. Bays The University ofKansas Philippines The Church andIts SocialInvolvement in the Philippines, 1930-1972. ByWiIfredo B. Fabros. (Manila: Ateneo de Manila University Press. 1988. Pp. xii, 202.) In the late 1970's and early 1980's,the ReverendJohn N. Schumacher, S.J.,prepared and presented an "elective" course, on the "History of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 144-145
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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