|Hudson and Maria Taylor|
|Hudson Taylor (1832-1905)|
Maria Taylor died at age 33. She was the wife of Hudson Taylor of "China Inland Mission" (CIM, which later morphed to OMF, Overseas Mission Fellowship). Where might this story go? We're Americans. We're Westerners. We're concerned about me, my, and mine and fellow-me-ers and fellow my-ers, right? That is what Mr. (rev. dr.) Michael Horton of Westminster Seminary, CA, continues to tell us and write about. What might be seen in the lives of these two people?
Maria Taylor was born in China to Anglican missionary parents. Anglicans really did have missionaries. (Can anyone say Nigerian Anglicans, several cliques above Canterbury and 815 these days?) Her parents died when Maria was ten. Maria and her siblings returned to England and were raised by an uncle, presumably an Anglican. At age 18, however, she returned to China.
She met Hudson Taylor in China. He was a Methodist, a physician, and missionary from England. She spoke fluent Chinese and was an able assistant to him. They had several children together, but her life was cut short on 23 Jul 1870 at age thirty-three.
Some background on CIM.
Taylor founded the "pan-Protestant mission" group called “China Inland Mission.” By 1895, CIM had 641 missionaries. By 1914, it was the largest mission agency in the world. By 1934, there were 1360 missionaries with almost an estimated 500,000 Christians. Civil war broke out in China between the nationalists and communists. During WW2, both groups united to fight Japan, but then resumed their mutual hostilities after WW2 with the nationalists fleeing to Taiwan. In 1949, the communists won. CIM missionaries left China in 1953 as a result, but began other mission works in other far eastern countries. Persecution of Christians by the communists was severe in the first two decades after the politio-military triumph. CIM left Churchmen in the wake of 100 years of mission work.
By 1980, there was an estimated 2 million Christians. By 2000, the estimates are about 75 million Christians. The growth pattern, allegedly, is the greatest in church history. Or, there are "no parallels" to it.
“Hudson Taylor was one of the greatest missionaries of all time and one of the four or five most influential foreigners who came to China in the nineteenth century.” Kenneth Scott LaTourette
What are we to make of this in the West?
We have read, preliminarily, that Chinese Churchmen, especially in the university contexts, are demanding "translations of Reformed literature" because it "steels" them in their theology. There are antigens and immunological strengths in the DNA. They like the courage that is born of faith in God's sovereignty.
That is not surprising. Reformed people are “jerks,” right? That's the charge.
Mr. (Rev. Dr.) Scott Clark of Westminster Seminary, CA, a good and scholarly blogger, writer and professor, gives it a good shot at: http://heidelblog.net/2013/07/why-some-reformed-people-are-such-jerks/
Hopefully, we are polite, kind and gracious, but, when needed, tough, firm and unbending. Remember the French Huguenots? Remember John Foxe and Miles Coverdale's refusal to bow to Queen's Bess 1's "adiaphora" that was imposed? Both men were kindly and patient, but refused the "feloniousness" of Mrs. Tudor's adiphora. The reputation is that we do not bow to tyrants. That’s one of our alleged weaknesses; on the other hand, it’s also our strength. Can anyone say “Laud, Charles 1, Charles 11 or George 111?”
This warrants further consideration (beyond the current self-absorptions and self-preoccupations of Westerners, including American Anglicans). As for narcissism, Mr. (Rev. Dr.) Clark gives it another excellent shot at: http://heidelblog.net/2013/07/narcissism-ignorance-and-bureaucracy-a-vicious-combination/
Anyone inclined to mission works in foreign countries?
Hudson and Maria Taylor were two such individuals.