King's Business - 1948-08

South, are classified as Christian, be­ cause of the dominance of the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. However, a glance back into the religious history of these lands, reveals the threatening and forceful means used to induce millions to become so-called Chris­ tians. The truths of the Word of God and the light of the gospel have been smothered by ritualism and paganism. The Reformation either did not pene­ trate to them or was rejected, and con­ sequently today great ignorance prevails as well as bitter prejudice against what is conceived as being the church and Christianity. Unevangelized millions in these areas are living and dying without the gospel. Traveling through the devastated areas of the northeastern part of France, we came to the city of Amiens. As in many other towns, small and hastily-con­ structed wooden huts served to accommo­ date what was left of the business dis­ trict of the town, and, in addition, there were blocks and blocks of rubble. A man in a café to whom I spoke told me that seventy per cent of the city had been destroyed or damaged. Having the address of a Protestant minister there, I sought him out. He was the only pas­ tor in this city with a population of 90,000. Imagine my delight when I dis­ covered him sitting in his small room enjoying fellowship over a cup of tea with another pastor from a town some miles away. Soon we were discussing the task of evangelizing France. “ I am the only Protestant pastor in this city,” explained the Amiens brother, “ and my church was the first of the Protestant churches of France to be destroyed in this war. We now meet in a hall and find things most difficult. Then our situation is so dif­ ferent from yours. Most of the people in your country have some conception of God; they know something about the Bible, about Christ and about the church. But in France it is different. So many people here seem to have little concep­ tion of God. The word God means little to them. The church they know in the sense of the visible Roman Church—the building—and the name of Christ con­ nected- with it. The significance of the church, the Saviourhood of Christ, the Bible, the gospel, these are practically unknown. We have to commence with the ABC of Bible facts.” We spent the night in dreary, devas­ tated Amiens. There was a terrific gale. Windows rattled, the place rocked, and the electricity failed. “ I have always thought of France as a strong Roman Catholic country.” How often we have heard these words after speaking about the conditions in that land today. Traditionally, of course, France is Catholic, but not actually. In 1905, the Roman Church was disestab­ lished, since which time France has had no national or state religion. In 1939, religious statistics showed that only 25% of the population were claimed by the •Roman Catholic Church as nominal ‘. T H E K I N G ’ S B U S I N E S S

lâ â ion D o £ u r o p e By Claude E. Copperwheat OF THE EUROPEAN CHRISTIAN MISSION

W E have extinguished the heav­ enly lights with a magnificent gesture,” boasted Viviani in the French Assembly after the disestab­ lishment of the churches in France in 1905. He had in mind the dignitaries of the Roman Church whose power had been curbed. However, if we attach a different significance to his words, and think of the heavenly lights as the Word of God and the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, we will have one of the basic causes of the tragic conditions prevail­ ing in Europe today. The heavenly lights have been either completely extinguished, or have been shining but dimly. Some European nations have made it part of their policy to banish the Word of God and to curtail the preaching of the gospel. On the other hand, the un­ belief and unconcern of professional and professing Christians have allowed the heavenly lights to burn low. This trend of things has gone sa far that a well- known British philosopher describes it as a “ God-shaped vacuum” in the life of Europe today. Only a few years ago, thousands of the finest of the youth of several na­ tions—America, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and India set out on a “ Mission to Europe” to fight and overcome an evil system which threatened to dominate the world. The suffering and shambles left in the train of this struggle have called forth many another such mission to administer relief to the starving and ill-clad, to get the wheels of industry turning again, and to stabilize the polit­ ical and economic conditions. And, once again, the Macedonian call which stirred the apostle to the Gentiles to leave Troas and to launch out on his mission to Europe during his second missionary journey, is falling upon the ears of Christians in more favored lands. “ The day is past,” writes the secretary of one of the oldest British missionary societies, “when the church can divide the world into black areas representing mission fields and white areas represent­ ing Christian countries. Rather should we conceive of the whole world in varying shades of gray, and we must include Europe in our missionary thinking.” One afternoon not long after the lib­ eration of Holland, as we sat in the home of a Protestant pastor, he related to us some of his experiences and anx­ ieties during the years of occupation. He spoke of the unfavorable influence of the years of occupation. He mentioned particularly the effect of the occupation upon the moral standards and outlook of the people, especially the youth. “ It Page Six

Crowds listening to the gospel at Marseilles, France. is difficult to understand what it means to live in occupied territory, and subject to the discipline of an enemy power, unless you have experienced it.” This I had heard a number of times in post­ war Europe. The pastor went on to ex­ plain that during those years many young people were trained in the arts of trickery, treachery, lying, deceit and theft, for these were weapons used against the occupying powers. The trag­ edy is that after the liberation these very means were used by the young people in their own interests. This has had a very detrimental effect upon their lives. I well remember being in the great city of Lille, France, and having to take my meals in a restaurant near the center of town. Each day I watched first one, then another, young man come into the restaurant, and go from table to table with packets of cigars and cigarettes. These they brought out from beneath their coats; and sold for high prices. The young men had procured them by dis­ honest means and in a matter of a few hours had accumulated sums of money which ordinarily would take weeks to earn by honest labor. The sense of insecurity which is the atmosphere in which the peoples of Europe live today also has a very great effect upon their outlook. One day in France, I read in one of their periodicals that nearly a million young people were applying to emigrate from the country, for they could see no future for them­ selves there. Three times in the living memory of some French people they have seen their country invaded and devastated. Now in its wounded state it lies torn between two great sections of humanity whose attitude towards each other seems increasingly threatening. The moral deterioration is the result of the spiritual conditions. Spiritually, the picture is dark indeed. Vast areas of Europe, particularly in the East and

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