New Translation of John Ross Mission Manual Released to Refute China Government Accusations of Missionary Imperialism
The Chinese government’s new February religious regulations prevent Chinese churches from unapproved contact with foreign Christians. The goal, according to the Chinese government, is the ‘Sinicization’ of Christianity to overcome what they call Christianity’s imperialist past. But according to Voice of the Martyrs Korea representative Hyun Sook Foley, the concept of Sinicization did not begin with the Chinese government but actually goes back to the famous early missionary to China and Korea, John Ross. So this week Voice of the Martyrs is releasing a new Korean translation of John Ross’ Mission Methods in Manchuria to refute Chinese government accusations of missionary imperialism and to advocate a recovery of the original concept and practice of Sinicization established by Ross. A Chinese translation will follow this spring.
VOMK Korean translation of John Ross’ Mission Methods in Manchuria
“Missionary Ross’ Mission Methods in Manchuria was published in English in 1908, yet up until now it has not been well translated in Korean or Chinese,”
says Representative Foley.
“That is unfortunate because today the China Communist Party is seeking to domesticate Christianity and make it compatible with the so-called ‘Chinese Dream’ of Xi Jinping. But John Ross’ Mission Methods is about the true Sinicization of Christianity. The trueSinicization does not seek to advance or retard the goals of the Chinese government but rather advances Chinese men and women on the road to Christ by presenting the gospel to them in uniquely Chinese ways. Ross pioneered unique ways of reaching Chinese and Korean people for Christ, but for 110 years only English speakers have been able to read what Missionary Ross actually wrote. Soon, China will be home to the largest number of Christians of any country in the world, so global Christianity will be shaped by which understanding of Sinicization the global church adopts—that of the China Communist Party or that of John Ross.”
Representative Foley notes that much of Ross’ writing sounds more at home in 2018 than in 1908. “Missionary Ross was ahead of his time. He wrote, ‘True religion is ever voluntary. Faith, to be worthy of the name, must be intelligent. It is worthy of the name only when the man is ‘fully convinced in his own mind.’ This is a message that can counter popular anti-Christian claims—including those from the Chinese government—that Christianity is an imperialist, anti-intellectual religion. More than a thousand Korean missionaries have been kicked out of China in the last few years based on that claim. The writings of John Ross can help us turn the tide, if we know our own history and refuse to let it be distorted.”
Representative Foley says that Voice of the Martyrs Korea is offering the book for sale on its website, www.vomkorea.com, and by calling its office at 02-2065-0703, but also broadcasts Ross’ messages on its daily radio programs into North and South Korea on AM, satellite, short wave, and podcast. She says the ministry will add the Ross messages to its daily China satellite radio broadcast once translation is completed on the Chinese edition of the book later this spring.