Imparting a world vision means more than stimulating an interest in missions. It means creating in others an unbiased, intelligent, sympathetic fellow feeling with mankind in general. It means imparting a knowledge of world needs, both spiritual and material. It means promoting faith in the untold possibilities of men and women, even the lowest, through Christ. It means viewing the worth of a soul in the light of eternity. It means also an understanding of humane, hygienic, pleasant living conditions in this world.
It means a true love for the brotherhood of man, with liberty and equality for all. Let me now suggest some principles through which we may aid our students in attaining this broad Bible view of the human family.
First, we should discourage in our students a narrow, bigoted conception of race or nation. Love for country and loyalty to government are to be stressed, but not the false nationalism of pride and hatred which has brought the world to its present perplexity.
Second, we must lead our students away from blind political party slavery, from class or caste distinction, from pride of sex, from everything that restricts and dims their view of the dignity and worth of a soul without respect to race, language, church, or nation. There is need today of remembering Christ's teaching, "All ye are brethren ;" and the American ideal as expressed by one of our best poets:
"Before man made us citizens, great nature made us men." Third, there is not a country in Europe where some of the people are not planning to leave their native land. The United States alone has no emigration. We should encourage our students to travel abroad, and in a few cases, to take studies across the seas. The world is full of new ideas, and we all need to keep abreast of real, up-to-date, world-wide thinking. Our students ought to become more humanity-minded.
God's eternal purpose of love in the brotherhood of man should be carefully studied.
Rightly understood, this will make both teachers and students truly mission-minded. Today the entire Adventist Church needs to become mission-minded as never before. Since missions is one of the foundation stones in our Christian educational system, I will mention some things which might help to give our American students an intelligent understanding of, and a deeper love for, foreign missions.
1. More books and journals on missions in our libraries, including some from other countries such as Great Britain, Australia, India, and France.-
2. Better-planned foreign mission bands and stronger ministerial-seminar activities.
3. An annual series of well-prepared lecture courses on missions overseas, including three lectures on the true philosophy of missions.
4. Systematic courses of study on the origin, progress, present status, and problems of foreign missions.
5. Bible teachers and other instructors with a background of foreign mission experience.
6. Whenever advisable, college presidents and even department heads should visit our mission fields. May I suggest that they stay at least two months in actual mission work in fields where malaria, amoebic dysentery, tsetse fly, yaws, leprosy, and a few other realities of actual mission life are found. Just to see a new country or visit museums has little value. We need to get a taste of the real thing.
7. Several of our mature teachers should accept a call as permanent missionaries. I would like to see each college in America give to foreign missions one of its best-trained men, possibly one with a university degree, though that isn't necessarily included in the term, "best trained." In its very beginning, Union College released its Bible teacher, Prof. J. C. Rogers, for mission work in South Africa. He is still in Africa. His going out had a profound influence on us students. Two years later, C. H. Parker left for the South Seas. A host have followed, but Professor Rogers set the pace.
Counteract Encroaching Indifference
If we are to send the everlasting gospel to all mankind in this generation, good training schools with a virile mission spirit and program are urgently needed. Other special reasons make this necessary. For example, all about us there is a strong and growing objection to missions. The racialism of our day is a bitter foe of foreign missions. Economic, political, and military forces are arraying themselves against missions. Modernism has no heart for missions overseas. Yet it is not so much this opposition that is to be feared as the great indifference in the popular borne-base churches today which have largely turned their backs on missions. When missions started, the zeal and sacrifice at home and the passion for souls abroad knew no bounds. Today we observe a great change. Many doubt the need or value of missions. Missions have even been investigated by special committees of worldly, skeptical laymen—and condemned. Americans give less than two thirds of a cent a week per capita to missions.
Adventists need to beware lest this indifference come into our own ranks. The church at home needs missions abroad. A church that doesn't have an interest in foreign missions is doomed. The future of Seventh-day Adventism rests on foreign missions. There is nothing that will bring blessing and grace and permanence to a church as will an active foreign mission interest. Today we are greatly in need of a revival of mission vision in all our churches and schools. We should pray for such a true understanding of missions born of love for Jesus that we may all become mission-minded. Our teachers of science, history, language, and above all, our Bible teachers, need this vision. As students ask them what they should plan to do, our teachers should lead those under their charge to think anew of the mission fields. Spiritual leanness in this respect will bring the world into our schools. Students should be helped to see foreign missions, not as an adventure or as a career, but as a great open door of sacrificial service.
World conditions at this time are a great challenge to the church—the challenge of open doors about to close. But we cannot realize this fully without a distinct world vision. Said Jesus, "Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields." When we thus survey mankind, we see millions of youth born since the World War, devoid of religion, but full of false philosophy, false thinking, and false objectives. Does not God call our Adventist young people to bring to these youth a living Christ? Further, we see, multitudes in all lands longing for God. Never was there such a seeking for the gospel of Christ in Moslem, heathen, atheistic, and Catholic lands as there is now. Our response to the challenge of misguided modern youth, of open doors rapidly closing, and of a world sinking, yet calling for Jesus, should be a mighty, genuine, enduring revival of mission zeal, mission studies, mission planning, mission sacrifice, and mission activity in all our schools and in every church.
And so we bring to this educational council the request that you revive and strengthen the mission spirit and vision of our young people. Make our schools truly mission-minded. We bring this request to the college presidents and the Bible teachers, as well as the teachers of history, science, mathematics, and other subjects. We bring it to the deans of women in our schools, for they have a mighty influence for good over the students. Help us get our most talented young women out into foreign work. And, might I say it once again—our great need today is not so much for knowledge as for thinking. And not even so much for thinking as for a real world vision. Or as the divine message says—we need a "spiritual vision touched by the finger of God."