George Muller, J. Hudson Taylor & China’s Forced Abortion Policy

What does forced abortion in China, George Müller and J. Hudson Taylor have in common? Seem like a far-fetched question? Think again.

Müller, of course, is best known for his work with orphans. He also founded the Scriptural Knowledge Institution (SKI). Müller’s Institution was a main-stay of Hudson Taylor’s China Inland Mission in its early days. (Coads, History, 52, 53. The millennial system of passivity, other-worldliness/non-involvement in “worldly matters,” and their distinctive, unique prophetic views. The system neutralized Christianity wherever it went.)

In his February 25, 1834, journal entry, Müller gave six reasons for forming “a new Institution [SKI, ed.] for the spread of the gospel.”

The first one is as follows:

1. We consider every believer bound, in one way or other, to help the cause of Christ, and we have scriptural warrant for expecting the Lord’s blessing upon our work of faith and labor of love; and although, according to Matt. xiii. 42-43, 2 Tim. iii. 1-13, and many other passages, the world will not be converted before the coming of our Lord Jesus, still, while he tarries, all scriptural means ought to be employed for the ingathering of the elect of God.” (The Life of Trust, being a Narrative of the Lord’s dealings with George Müller, written by Himself, 109, 110, 113. See Origins, 129.)

The then operating missionary societies “constantly put before their members” the hope of Christianizing the world before Christ’s return. That goal of Christianizing the world Müller found unscriptural. [Manuel] Lacunza‘s “dispensational” view of Matthew 24, which became popular in his lifetime, caused Müller to abandon any hope that the gospel could change the world for Christ. It also caused him to say that those expecting the Gospel of Christ to Christianize the nations are not serving the Lord. Müller, therefore, led in changing the goal of missionary endeavors from Christianizing the world’s nations to simply “soul saving.” Accordingly, the missionaries trained by the SKI went over the world to “save souls,” yet they were convinced that it was unscriptural to hope that the gospel message could bring about godly social change. The expectations of their faithless gospel were met. Müller’s ideas united with John Darby’s, who, echoing Irving’s words, condemned all who desired to convert the world to Christ (Collected Letters of J.N. Darby, I.257, 1858. Collected Writings of J.N. Darby, II.185. Apparently, these men, Müller included, believed the gospel of Christ is powerless when it comes to bringing about godly social change through individual conversion.)

Hudson Taylor and Others

Hudson Taylor’s influence for powerless, other-worldly Christianity cannot be overlooked.

The early decades of the twentieth century were perhaps the years of greatest enthusiasm for foreign missions and in this area Keswick‘s record (let go and let God thinking) was indeed strong. J. Hudson Taylor (1832-1905), a Britisher who founded the China Inland Mission in 1865, had become deeply committed to Keswick views. The China Inland Mission became a model for independent and self-sacrificing missionary work as well as a source for much of the later fundamentalist agitation against liberalism in the mission field. The Student Volunteer Movement, originating out of Moody’s Northfield conference, also had close Keswick ties. Many impressive young men of the era responded to these teachings by consecrating their lives to missionary service. (Sandeen, The Roots of Fundamentalism, 97).

We do not question Mr. Taylor’s love for God nor his godliness. However, we must question his deep commitment “to Keswick views” that “social service programs were particularly dangerous.” We must also question Taylor’s close tie with Müller’s SKI and its message that it is sin to seek to Christianize the world (a neutralized, powerless gospel). Taylor “became a protegé of C.I. Scofield,” and he fully embraced the dead message of withdrawal from all society to become personally more spiritual.

“The early decades of the twentieth century were perhaps the years of greatest enthusiasm for foreign missions…” However, notice that the message taken to the four corners of the world was one of hopelessness and defeat. Taylor and his mission work, though saving many souls, delivered to the Chinese a hopeless message of defeat — Taylor, with the help of Müller’s SKI, neutralized Christianity, leaving the Chinese “helpless against the military onslaught of the Communists.” Fully expecting an imminent “rapture,” multitudes of Chinese Christians were tortured and slaughtered. On the other hand, non-millenarians fled. Hiding safely in the mountains, they kept Chinese Christianity alive.

Moreover, China’s modern attitude toward forced abortion must, at least in part, be attributed to those who taught a generation of Chinese Christians that it was sin to be involved in social programs and issues.

When Christians withdraw from involvement in social programs, they give them to the ungodly by default.

adapted from Todays China