Puslapio vaizdai

Christian thought in the international lessons, others may prefer to link their teachings more closely to the church. calendar of time-honored power. Whatever our convictions are as to route, let us decide on some course and pursue it vigorously, knowing our faces are all set toward the same haven as we bid God-speed to each other, trusting the hour will soon come when the Chinese will themselves be able to help decide the questions in which our hereditary preferences make it difficult for us to form a uniform conclusion. In all let us never forget that in variety of manifestation we rejoice together in one God, one faith, one baptism of the Holy Spirit, which moveth in us to will and to do His own good pleasure.

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Bible Study for Chinese Christian Workers

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Secretary of the Centenary Conference Committee for the
Promotion of Bible Study among Christian Workers.

NE of the needs most frequently and emphatically expressed at the Centenary Conference was the need of the promotion of Bible study among Chinese Christian workers. The broad term, Christian workers, was understood to include all regular pastors, evangelists, medical helpers, chapel keepers, colporteurs, Bible-women, and other workers of the church as they may be variously designated.

A committee was appointed to put, if possible, forces in motion that would fill the need so frequently expressed.

A recent number of the RECORDER contained the reports of the various conference committees, and among them was the one "For the Promotion of Bible Study among Christian Workers." That report set clearly before the missionary body some of the aims of the committee and the work already accomplished.

The committee has as carefully as possible investigated the questions, Is there a field for such a work? Does Bible study need to be promoted among the Christian workers of the Chinese church? Do the various missions in China feel that there is a call for such a work? In order to be able to intelligently answer the above questions the committee sent out the following list of questions with the results indicated, which

show most conclusivly the need and indicate in many ways the present way to supply that need. Answers were received from thirty-seven missions, and the questions and answers were as follows:

(( Has your mission a home study course which you require of your Christian workers, aside from the regular college and theological courses?" To this question twentyseven missions replied "No" and ten replied "Yes.'

Some of the courses were very simple, and with all but two or three exceptions, the ten that replied that they had courses of study, were agreed that the present courses were not satisfactory and the methods used for carrying out the courses, as prescribed by the missions, were far from satisfactory.

The next question asked was, "Does your mission have any correspondence courses for your Chinese Christian workers?" Thirty-two missions replied that they did not have such work and five replied they did. The correspondence work is in the very beginning, in some centers, but the five missions that have undertaken it, feel it is the most practical and succesful way of working the home study courses.

The third question was, Does your mission have any supplementary reading courses for your Chinese Christian workers? Thirty-three missions answered "No" and four answered " Yes.'

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The fifth question was asked in two parts: (1.) Does your mission have Bible institutes or conferences for your workers? (2.) Does your mission take part in any interdenominational conferences for Bible study? To these two questions twentysix replied in the affirmative and eleven in the negative. Very few of the missions take any part in interdenominational conferences, and the others, in most instances, were brief conferences of but two or three days' duration, and were not held with any degree of regularity.

To the next question, "Do you give any portion of your yearly conferences of the Chinese church to Bible study or lectures thereon?" Nineteen answed "No" and seventeen "Yes," but to nearly all of the affirmative replies was added the information that the Bible study portion of the conferences of the Chinese church was confined to the morning devotional period. The final questions were, Has your mission laid any stress on the daily observance of the morning watch or quiet hour? Have you recommended any regular line of study

looking to the deepening of the spiritual life of your workers? Nineteen answered "No" and seventeen answered "Yes."

In addition to the above answers, the secretary of the committee has visited several important centers, and finds that the proportions, as indicated above, are fairly accurate.

From these answers, and the almost unanimous suggestions that the answers contained, there are some very evident conclusions.


The statistics supplied by the Conference report indicates that in 1907 there were some 10,000 Chinese workers that would come under the scope of the work laid out for this committee.

This would be to hold strictly to those that are at present at work in the church. The number of unordained who should undertake regular and systematic Bible study is an increasing number and the statistics quoted above far underestimate the actual field that is before us. The field is as broad as the church in its work and development.


All missions agreed in the opinion that the workers scattered in the various stations needed to do regular and systematic study in the Bible. That a course of study was needed which would spur them on to regular work and make them see the necessity of Bible study. From many sources it was gathered that the Christian workers were demanding such a course, but the missions were so burdened that they had not time to outline and carry forward this line of work.

A few missions have realized the paramount importance and have gone successfully forward in this work.

At the point of the course of study, the committee has experienced the greatest difficulty. To make a suggestive course that would in a small measure supply the needs that are confronting the church entails the important question of suitable books. The church is well supplied with commentaries and like literature, but there seems to be a lack of books that are entirely sufficient for the present needs of systematic Bible study.

Existing books should be used and adapted as far as possible, and this is one of the purposes of the committee.

A sub-committee on courses of study decided to suggest a tentative course which should be used for a year, and in the meantime a most careful investigation of existing books will be made, and after a year's trial we can go forward with much better knowledge than at present.

This tentative course will be published in a following number of the RECORDER.

Correspondence Schools for Bible Study.-While the need for this work is one of the most important before the church, because of the lack of men to carry it out, it is felt that it is one feature that must wait. Investigation is being carried on as to the best methods of promoting such work and as early as possible, perhaps in several centers, such work will be commenced under the general direction of a central committee, but co-operating in every case with the local missionary forces, and each center independent to carry forward its own work.

Supplementary Reading Courses and Libraries.-One fact that has impressed the committee more than any other is the lack of suitable books in Chinese for the workers of any given mission or center. What books the workers have access to are those that he has been able to buy out of a very meager salary or the few that the missionary may have collected from time to time which have, in many instances, not been carefully selected and with no definite purpose in view.

A few missions have most excellent circulating libraries, and they find that the books are used with the greatest profit. In some centers the various missions have united and provided most excellent libraries.

This work needs but the suggestion to have it executed in many missions and in many centers throughout the empire. The best magazines should always be available for the workers. If the Chinese workers are to do the greatest work at this time in China, they must be given a broad outlook on the field, and by being brought in touch with the best literature they will be inspired to the highest service.


In talking with a prominent Bishop in China about the work of the promotion of Bible study he said something on this wise: "Get them to reading the Bible through at least

once every year. Have them observe some definite hour of the day, and in that hour read a definite portion of Scripture that will take them through the Bible in a year at least. The observance of this has been one of the greatest motive forces in my life, and whatever I am spiritually I believe I owe it to this brief daily reading of the Bible." This same testimony has come to us from many sources. In talking over this subject with the late Dr. Li, he laid the greatest emphasis on regular daily devotional Bible study.

No more important campaign could be carried on at this revival time in China than the enlisting of all the Chinese workers for the Chinese for at least a fifteen-minute daily observance of a definite time for devotional Bible study.

Bible Institutes or Conferences.-The kind of work that seems to be the most needed, the kind that is the most possible, and the kind that is the most rapidly carried forward is the Bible institute or conference held under entire local management, either by several missions or by a single mission for its own workers. This work is now being carried on in almost every province in China. The institutes are of various periods of duration. Some are as short as three days, while others have extended over a period of a month or six weeks.

Many plans are followed in conducting these institutes, and all are accomplishing a great deal of good. The institute that has probably been conducted the longest without any interruption, is the one in Nanking. Many requests have come to give an account of the working of that institute. include it below, as I believe it is better to give a detailed account of the working of one institute than to give meager outlines of many.



A Word as to the History of the Institute.-Some six years ago one of the missions in Nanking felt the need of special instruction for evangelists, colporteurs, chapel keepers, etc. An institute was held with seventeen in attendance. The missionaries of other missions were invited from the first to give lectures, and in that way they soon began to send their workers. In two or three years it was practically a union institute, but the details were left to the mission that first convened it. After the Centenary Conference appointed a Union Committee for

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