THE fearful and cataclysmic drama of anti-Christ unrolled in these pages is still developing, in all its phases. In the “Christian Advocate” of June 18, 1925, appeared the following editorial, as the leading article, which I quote in full:
A NAME! A NAME!
What’s in a name! asks the poet, as if “Nothing” must be the inevitable answer. Yet it is the experience of mankind that the proper answer would be “Everything.” For around the name cluster all the qualities of the thing named. The color and scent of the queen of flowers flash out before the imagination at the very name of “rose.” So precious are the names of articles of commerce that we find manufacturers of soaps and tooth-pastes, gasolines and lubricants, bread, salves and cigarettes, paying large sums to secure a distinctive name for their special brand, and registering it with the government and defending their sole right to its use with all the authority the laws confer. Shut your eyes and let some one speak the words “Ford” and “Rolls-Royce,” and no more ask what’s in a name?
There is a Name that is—or must we say was?— above every name. What has happened to it?
A remarkable thing has recently taken place in Turkey. The government called into consultation Asa Kent Jennings, an American resident of Asia Minor (whose name is still borne with honor on the rolls of the Northern New York Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church). During the war between the Turks and Greeks he had displayed qualities of character, which won him the good opinion of both nations. He was told that the Turkish Republic was seeking to discover some educational method or social agency that would promote the physical, intellectual and moral excellence of the young men and women of the nation. In conference with him a plan was worked out for a system of associations or clubs in large centers, where everything which distinguishes the threefold program of the Young Men’s Christian Association shall be put in practice under the official patronage and with the support of the Turkish Government, which is Mohammedan in religion, but under the direction of Mr. Jennings, who is a “Y” secretary and a Methodist preacher. The first of these clubs is to be opened at Angora, the new capital, and the man in charge will be another Methodist preacher, John B. Ascham, of West Ohio, whose illuminating contributions on the European political situation since the war have appeared in these columns from time to time. But it was stipulated by the Angora government these institutions, though redolent of the spirit of Christ, must not bear the name of Christian. That is a fundamental condition. Everything Christian, except the label!
How can this be? The explanation is obvious. From the time of the Crusades, when the wearers of the Cross clashed with the wearers of the Crescent, the name of Christian has been forever tarnished with memories of massacre and war. None of the fruits of the Spirit, the virtues which the Western world likes to connect with the word Christian, come to the mind of the Turk when he sees that name. Thus Christianity, named for the Elder Brother of all mankind, is for a whole nation synonymous with racial and religious enmity.
There are European nations where the name that should be above every name has been dragged in the dust. A London writer who was commissioned to create a Christian literature for the boys of Czechoslovakia proposed to initiate a series of hero-biographies with a life of Jesus Christ. A man who was better acquainted with the people of that country warned him that a life of Christ would kill the series. During the long period of Austrian tyranny over these lands the Church of Rome had so identified itself with the ruling despotism, that everything bearing the Christian name shared the evil reputation of that partnership of oppression and superstition. The Kaiser was gone and the Church disestablished, but a book with the label of Christian would still be viewed with suspicion by the people, as being propaganda for their former masters. Consequently the series will start off with Abraham Lincoln because groups calling themselves Christian have made the name of Christ a reproach.
Mahatma Gandhi of India tells the missionaries that Christ wins him, but Christianity as exemplified by Western political, social and economic standards he does not recognize as a New Testament product. China looks lovingly toward Christ, but becomes suspicious of Christian nations when they are represented by warships, machine guns, and extra-territorial courts, or by predatory foreign business corporations, wringing the last cent from coolie labor at the expense of decency and life itself. “If this is Christ,” they say, “let us stick to Confucius !”
Nor is it necessary to go abroad to find the golden name of Christ debased and counterfeited.
The purity of the coinage is entrusted to every one who has named for himself the name of Christ. The excellence of His precepts is sure to be judged by the performance of His professed followers. Many a sermon has failed to convince, convict and convert the sinner, chiefly because the sinner could point to men and women in the congregation whose lives, known and read by their associates, tended to discredit the minister’s appeal. Thus, the Name before which every knee should bow commands no homage.
The nation or the individual that takes the name of Christian incurs a weighty responsibility. In some degree the Name of Christ is committed to them. Upon the manner in which that person, church, society, or nation discharges its responsibility will measurably depend the esteem which others will give to that Name.
I have read this editorial time and time again, and all that I can get from it is that the name of Christ, of a soap, of a tooth-paste, of a salve, of a grease, of a cigarette, should be used as long as it produces results, but when no longer potent, should be dropped. This is certainly what has been officially done in Turkey with the Name. What the church people of America should understand is that Mohammedanism is marching on with firebrand and scimitar, the greatest enemy of Christianity in the world, and that dropping the Name of Christ and the teaching of the Master, by great Christain organizations, is another victory for the Prophet. No sophistry, however ingenious, can obscure this fact.
Let us hope that this move on their part is the prelude to a great awakening and revulsion on the part of Western Christians:
And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest.
And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth.
But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew.
But Peter afterward testified in quite a different manner. There can be no working for Christ in any place where his Name is dropped. That concession is in itself a victory for the Powers of darkness.
In the press of October 25, 1925, appeared an article by George Seldes, describing the persecution of the Christian Chaldeans, on the Turkish-British frontier, near Mosul. It was announced as the first of a series, but the other articles have not been published. It is so similar to the other well-authenticated happenings of a like nature described in the foregoing pages, that it forms a logical continuation of the narrative. I quote from the “Washington on Post” of October 25, 1925:
Mosul, Mesopotamia, October 18 (By Mail to Cairo).—In a beautiful village oasis called Zakho, on the British-Turkish frontier in the biblical country, amidst peaceful surroundings, I found witnesses to-day to a terrible tragedy which Mohammedan Arabs as well as Christians asked me to relate to the Christian world.
It is the story of the deportation of eight thousand Chaldean Christians from the frontier, of their march into the interior of Turkey, of how the Turks murdered men, violated women and threw infants over precipices. It is a story of suffering unparalleled in recent times and every word here written is sworn to on the Bible by chieftains of villages and their priests and attested by Archbishop Timothy, their spiritual father.
OLD AND ILL SLAIN
“Will the Christian world believe that such things can happen now!” asked Archbishop Timothy as the Mukhtar—or sheif—of Murga, knelt and told his story. What the Mukhtar told in Arabic was this:”
“ As God is my witness and by the blood of Christ I swear that on the march north the Turks killed five men who, on account of their age, could not keep up with the procession. Three women who were ill they stoned to death. On the first night we camped near a fountain. The Turkish officers and soldiers put out the lights and seized all the young pretty girls and carried them to the fields. All night we heard the screams and cries of the girls and women. They clouded the skies with their mournful cries and it was like the Day of Judgment.”
“On the third day one of the women was in the pangs of childbirth. The Turks waited until the baby was born. Other women took the baby, but the mother was too feeble to march, so she was shot. At the Ozozan Mountains three men and two women who tried to escape were shot to death. Their young orphaned children were then killed.”
This statement, in colder official form, I saw later in records sworn to and attested by the British governor of Mesopotamia.
A letter has just been received by me (October, 1925) from Doctor George E. White, President of the ill-fated missionary college at Marsovan, Turkey. This important and once flourishing institution has been reopened at Saloniki, Greece. I quote the following from its circular:
“The refugee peoples of the Near East deserve all the sympathy they receive from American friends. This tragic “movement of populations” is the greatest of its kind in all history. There are 160,000 refugees in the city of Saloniki, 800,000 in the province of Macedonia, and 1,500,000 in the whole of Greece. . . . The Greek Government has revised its laws for the express purpose of welcoming American education. . . . Saloniki is building mightily at the present time; it is the point where the Greek seaman from the South meets the Slav plowman from the North; Moslem Jew and Christian have felt at home for many generations; Saloniki is moving forward under a Christian government reestablished in 1912, after alien domination since 1430.”
Let us hope that this Christian college will “build mightily” in its new habitat, where it lime a great and sacred mission: so to diffuse the spirit of the Master through the Balkans that race hatreds will diminish in those regions, wars cease, and the remnants of the glorious old Byzantine Empire will be able to reestablish that Christian civilization, which the Turk has driven out of Asia Minor. Or, if that is too much, let us at least hope that the influence of its teachings may be sufficiently great to prevent any of the Balkan States from joining with the Moslems or the Bolsheviks to destroy their neighbors.Next: Pictures | Previous: Chapter XXXIX | Book Contents | Book main page