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Resolution 41 - Missionary Problems

Resolution 41

Missionary Problems

On the subject of the relation of governments and government officials to Christianity and other faiths, the Conference gives its approval to the words used in paragraphs 2 and 3 on page 92 in the Report on Missionary Problems*, and commends them to the careful consideration of all concerned.

*"In dealing with the large number of persons in their colonies and dependencies who profess different faiths, the policy of the British and American governments has always been that of strict religious neutrality. We heartily endorse this policy, having no desire to see any kind of political influence brought to bear upon people to induce them to change their religion. But we cannot fail to notice that in certain instances the ferment produced among primitive races who have received the Gospel of Christ has led to hindrances being placed in the way of missionaries in the prosecution of their work, and to a preference being shown for other faiths. The Church would be failing in her work if the acceptance of the truths did not awaken in her converts a higher sense of their dignity as human beings, of their rights as well as their duties, and any government which has the real interest of subject races at heart will be glad of such awakening even though, in civil life, it raises new problems to be solved.

"We hold it to be the duty of missionaries to look at their work from the government point of view, as well as from their own, and to adapt their methods, as far as is consistent with Christian morality and justice and with the faith and order of the Church, to the policy which the government is following in dealing with such peoples. On the other hand, we claim that no discrimination should be shown against the Christian faith, and that the greatest care should be taken by public officials, lest they be betrayed into doing or saying anything which is bound to be interpreted by the people in a sense which does dishonour to our Lord. Further, we feel it is necessary to urge that the religious sentiments of Christians are entitled to be treated with the same consideration that is so markedly, and rightly, shown to those of men professing other faiths."

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