Thursday, November 19, 2009 | By: Rudi Butt

No Time To Get Cold Feet

The Friend of China gave this report on June 28, 1842:
An American missionary has added another pagan soul to the Lord’s fold by the simple expedient of paying $2 to the heathen to be baptized. The man-of-God, fearful that his convert might be alarmed by the water pouring over his head, engaged a couple of Hong Kong’s native policemen to hold the man’s arms. We wonder if this increases veneration for Christ.
The Rev. Jehu Lewis Shuck, co-editor of the Friend of China from 1842 to 1843, who was also the first American Baptist missionary to have gone to China, complained about this report and the widespread ridicule of Christianity amongst the foreign community.

The other co-editor John Slade responded that his informant is a well-respected merchant and beyond reproach. He justified publishing the report by adverting to increasing local reports of misjudged missionary zeal. He says, “a wise man has told us that ‘in any controversy, the instant we feel anger, we have already ceased striving for the truth and are merely striving for ourselves’.” Slade died thirteen months later, on August 1, 1843, from fever. I wonder what Slate would say to St. Peter, if he made it to the gate.

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