The American Board And Recent Discussions -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 047:186 (Apr 1890)
Article: The American Board And Recent Discussions
Author: Anonymous

The American Board And Recent Discussions

There are some indications that the controversy which for some years past has agitated the constituency of the American Board is about to pass into a new phase or to be merged into a wider movement of thought. The time is, therefore, opportune for a brief review of the merits of this controversy and a careful statement of the results, so far as they have yet been realized. Such a study is of more than temporary interest and value, since the matters in debate have touched the effective working of one of the most venerable and successful missionary organizations of the times, and have also been closely related to one of the great theological movements of this generation. It is these wider bearings of the questions in review which have attracted the general interest of Protestant Christendom; something more has been seen to be at stake than the fortunes of a few missionary candidates or of the officials in a missionary society, something which affects radically the whole missionary enterprise of the age and the general interpretation of the gospel and the Christian faith. Whatever part purely personal considerations or mere partisanship may have played in the events here reviewed, it is not these which have made the movement memorable, or which have drawn toward it the thoughts of so many men of weight in other communions and in other lands. Agencies and methods for evangelizing men and nations, involving the highest temporal and eternal

interests of vast populations as well as the forms and power of civilized life over the greater portion of the habitable globe, are under inquiry and are subjected to the severest tests. The meaning and the validity of the divine message which the Master has commissioned us to proclaim, the warp and woof of the Christian faith by which we live and which is the one supreme treasure of human hearts in all generations,—it is these transcendent themes which are in debate, it is these ineffable interests which have been cast into the balances of thought and discussion.

Let us take a brief survey of the salient features of the movement, that the facts may be familiar and that the grounds and significance of the criticisms we offer may be plainly in mind. Before we begin, it may be needful to say that the general doctrinal ferment of these later years is not specifically in view. We recognize it, we notice its connection with the events we are to study at more or fewer points, we are not insensible to the logical relations which subsist between these two movements; but for obvious and sufficient reasons we confine our present study to the agitations which have been directly connected with the American Board and its administration during the past four years. The mu...

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