Current Events: 1. Reports of Missionaries. 2. Labor. 3. The War and Education. 4. Married Men and the Draft.

Reports of Missionaries

We refer with this heading to two reports of missionaries who have recently returned from the Orient. These two reports are found in The Banner and in the Presbyterian Guardian respectively. In the Banner of September 11, Rev. S. A. Dykstra writes the first article about their return from Jukao, China, which belongs to that part of China now occupied by the Japanese. He speaks of the ‘‘Crises in China”, and about this last crisis he writes, “Our third return marks the greatest crisis in mission history. We were shown the door. More than 1,500 Americans were exchanged for the same number of Japanese.” From this first hand report we can realize the implications of the present conflict in the Orient for missionary activity among that part of the Yellow race. Another first-hand report is given by Rev. Bruce F. Hunt, Orthodox Presbyterian missionary to Manchukuo. He writes in his letter from the M. S. Gripsholm, August 7, published in the Presbyterian Guardian of September 10, the following, “Over one-third, and almost one-half of the passengers on board are missionaries. No Protestant missionaries have been left in Korea of any denomination or country. In Manchuria only Protestant missionaries of non-allied nations, Norway, Denmark, and Hungary, possibly Finland, have been allowed to remain. All American and British Protestants are out even though some of them, including myself, when asked our preference, had said they wished to stay. In China the wishes of the individual were respected in some instances but in other cases those who expressed a preference to stay are being sent out. An exception was made for American Catholics in Manchuria; about half of them are staying and half of them are with us on the boat. In Korea all the American and British Catholics are leaving, “by order of the bishop”, but it is a question whether the Korean bishop dared do otherwise without having trouble.”

One part of this letter of Rev. Hunt shows a beautiful Christian missionary spirit. He writes, “We are daily praying that when we conic to you we will come to you in the fullness of the blessing of Christ, and we are praying for God’s guidance as to what His will for us is in wartime America. You have had to face a lot of things and think through a lot of issues that we have not yet had to come up against.

Labor

Along with the promised control of farm prices and wages we are experiencing, already in a measure with a promise of complete control, conscription of labor. With the conscription of labor it is promised that all the man power of the country will be controlled by the government. That means that the government can establish an American’s pay by decree or executive order, and freeze or chain him to his job. Westbrook Pegler in commenting on this situation, wrote that the general impression was gotten from the President’s speech to Congress that collective bargaining has changed a great deal from what it was in peace times. We can see how that this has taken place from the control of the working man’s wage and rights on the one hand, and the control of the profits by taxation and regulation on the other. This is indeed a change in our American way of living. But this columnist raises another question with respect to this significant impending legislation which shall change the relation of employee and employer. He raises the question about the future of unions. He wrote, “One very important issue must be met soon. That is the question whether. citizens who are compelled to work or fight or to go hungry, shall be forced to join unions. Unions would seem to have lost their reason for being, their role as bargaining agents, under a system of fixed wages and compulsion, but of course they will be kept going, anyway, as a sort of front to balance the representatives of industry in consultations on pay, hours, rate of production and so forth. But as bargaining agents, they can only plead, not demand, and under worker compulsion, their sacred right to strike, would seem to be gone. Why, then, should anyone be compelled to join a union ? And why should anyone voluntarily join a union, unless in the determination that when peace comes the united workers will insist on the revival of free competition in industry which is the only system which provides freedom from government control for the worker?”

This question indicates that important changes are going to take place which will require another or a new emphasis of our Christian principles. Our Christian principles will never change but their application to unions may have to be changed. It depends on the interpretation and action of the government. If the government makes of the unions an instrument in its own hands to recruit and regulate the relation of the laborer to his government then they no longer shall fall under the condemnation they now do from our Christian principles, but they become officials of the government itself. If, however, they remain independent with their own creed, but subject to all the regulations of the government, and then also an organization which shall become obligatory to join, the same  criticism will apply then as it does now.

The War and Education

It is pointed out to us by leading educators that the schools are directly affected by our war program. Not only are the schools of higher education affected but all the schools. The colleges and universities had to shorten the time of education. This shortening of the time required for education does not necessarily mean a poorer education. It is admitted that now it can be seen that Hutchins of the University of Chicago was right when he accused our educational systems of wasting time. Instead of having a college and university training take eight years he advocated six and seven years. This is now being done. The subject matter has also received a different emphasis. In the high schools and in colleges the emphasis is upon physics and mathematics instead of the social sciences, which formerly received the emphasis. Now it is realized what a bad technical training was given when the army and navy require the best technicians.

Especially in possible danger areas the educational system must take into consideration the horrors of war. Conditions caused by an air raid must be considered. First aid has to be taught for accidents. Preparation has to be made now for the shock which war brings to the children and the weak in an air raid.

For those who are soon to be selected from the schools to enter combat the proper morale has to be kept up, it is warned.

That these things must necessarily be taken into consideration we readily realize. Particularly ought it to be emphasized in our Christian schools and in our Christian homes the spiritual preparation we and the children need, to prepare us for the events that shall shortly take place. The battle is really a spiritual battle. The children must be taught to expect the events that are pictured to us in the Bible. They must be taught why these things must come to pass. What can we expect of the morale and the spiritual condition of covenant children and young people who must inevitably face a more horrible condition than there ever happened in history if the educators are always praying for peace when there is no peace and always speaking of God’s grace in the way of dollars and cents and peace and prosperity? May we pray for grace to teach covenant people and covenant children to pray with us for grace to expect and to pray for the coming of the Kingdom of heaven in the way God reveals it must come. For as we ask for this grace of faith and courage we all shall be equipped with that invulnerable armor, according to the promise of God.

Married Men and the Draft

Some men with dependents have already been drafted. The prediction is that in a very short time we must expect to see married men with wives and children drafted for military purposes. Homes have always been broken up. Christian as well as non-Christian homes have been touched by death, even in “normal times”. Divorce has preceded this war in the breaking up of the American home. So to many Americans it may not seem so dreadful that such is going to take place. Dreadful it is. Departures of the sons has been a beginning of sorrow. Departure of husbands and fathers is another step in that load of sorrow. But all this is only the “beginning of sorrow”. Other lands have certainly experienced in a more dreadful degree the chaos and the ravages of war.

It may seem that our Christian homes will be disrupted. We may think, what will become of the Christian instruction and leadership that is dependent upon fathers. Knowing that God’s ways are not our ways, we feel assured that nothing can disrupt the Christian home established by God to bring forth His elect, or to be guardians of His elect. When the evil day draws nigh the Christian mothers shall be strong in the Lord to guide their children in the fear of the Lord. Their fervent prayers shall be answered. Now fathers and mothers have time yet to strengthen themselves by the grace of God in their common faith in the eternal and unchangeable God who is their Father in Jesus Christ. This is not particularly a time of grace. This is a time to work while it is day. All time is a time of grace for the Christians. Separated husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, shall enjoy the dreadful times too as a time of grace for them. That is especially the blessed truth they must have straight and firm in their minds. In that they will be sustained. We must be thankful to God for preparing us so long ago, by giving us parents and leaders who have sacrificed much to have us learn the doctrine of eternal and sovereign grace.