|dc.description.abstract||This thesis aims to examine the final years of missionary activity in China, with
particular reference to the Baptist Missionary Society (BMS). It argues that, contrary
to existing narratives, the Society was committed, from the beginning of its work in
China, to placing responsibility for evangelism, church organisation and leadership
in the hands of Chinese Christians, but that this plan was undone by events in China
between 1937 and 1952. The missionary departure from the province of Shandong,
planned to take place in 1942, was delayed when members of the Chinese church
found themselves obliged to seek additional help from the BMS in order to cope with
the destruction occasioned first by the War of Resistance against Japan, and later by
the Civil War.
The thesis explores the contrasting experience of work during this period in three
different North China provinces, Shandong, Shanxi and Shaanxi. It examines the
way the BMS dealt with the new developments, and the impact on individual
missionaries and their families of working in this rapidly-changing environment.
When Baptist missionaries eventually left, their departure was no longer in keeping
with the systematic plan of withdrawal devised earlier, but was precipitated by
political developments following the establishment of the People’s Republic of
China in 1949. Relationships with Chinese colleagues had to be abruptly terminated,
and strident public criticisms were levied against missionaries and other foreigners.
The shock of this unplanned and painful departure led missionaries and missionary
societies to reflect critically on the whole past history of their work in China. This
negative emphasis has got in the way of a more nuanced assessment of the
missionary contribution during these years.||en