Campbell N. Moody's reflections on the Christian mission.
For the influence of the mission field on perceptions of Christianity, the case of Campbell N. Moody (1865-1940) is suggestive. Between 1895 and 1924 Moody, a Scottish missionary of the English Presbyterian Mission (EPM), worked mainly in colonial Taiwan. Stimulated by interactions with Taiwanese people, Moody consciously criticized "the Western eye," that is, a viewpoint that tends to perceive the ethnic and religious other through negative stereotypes. (3) Examination of Moody's literary works and his personal correspondence written during his early years as a foreign missionary, between 1895 and the 1910s, throws light on how he formed and articulated his attitude toward sociopolitical and religious issues through interaction with Taiwanese people, then under Japanese rule. (4)
Campbell Naismith Moody was born in 1865 to a Free Church family in Bothwell, Scotland. A graduate of the University of Glasgow and the Free Church College, Glasgow, Moody started working in 1890 as a home missionary in Gallowgate, an impoverished district in Glasgow. In 1895 he joined EPM and sailed to Taiwan, which had been occupied by the Japanese earlier that same year. He was also involved in missions in Singapore (1901-2). After he married Margaret Rintoul Findlay in 1907, they worked together in Taiwan (1908-9, 1915), Australia (1909), and New Zealand (1909-14). Margaret suffered poor health and died in 1915 in Taiwan. In 1921 Moody married Margaret Christian Arthur, known as Peggie, who had joined the Taiwan mission in 1919 and who later wrote Moody's biography.
From the beginning of their Taiwan mission in 1865, EPM missionaries mainly worked among Minnan-speaking Chinese-Taiwanese, as well as with the Pepo. Minnan is one of the most widely used Taiwanese vernaculars, and the Pepo, or plains tribes, are indigenous peoples who have actively assimilated Chinese-Taiwanese cultures and languages. In Taiwan EPM stressed medical and educational activities in their Christian missionary endeavors. They opened a dispensary as soon as the Taiwan mission was established. Then in 1877, after concentrating staff in Taiwan-fu (present-day Tainan) to form the Mission Council, which became the headquarters of the Taiwan mission, they founded a theological college to train Taiwanese evangelists, followed by a middle school in 1885 and a girls' school in 1887. Local mission stations were established in southern and central Taiwan, and missionaries made occasional visits to preach or baptize candidates.
While another missionary, William Campbell (1841-1921, active in Taiwan 1871-1917), and Moody in particular were known for articulating the virtues of station visiting and street preaching, some EPM missionaries in Taiwan did not regard these methods as particularly effective, which frustrated Moody. He expressed his feelings in a personal letter, writing that, with the exception of Campbell, the missionaries in Taiwan-fu "treat po-to [open-air evangelism] with a sort of mild scorn." (5) Nevertheless, with Chiang-hoa (Zhanghua) in central Taiwan as a base station, he continued to practice street preaching and supported the establishment of more than ten mission stations in mid-Taiwan, including churches in Lok-kang (Lugang, 1897), Chhau-tun (Caotun, 1900), Toa-siaN (Dashe, 1905), and Ji-lim (Erlin, 1924).
Moody was also well known for his simple lifestyle, exemplified by his wearing worn clothes, eschewing the use of rickshaws, and traveling third-class. Lim Hak-kiong (1857-1943), a Taiwanese evangelist and later minister who worked with Moody in the Chiang-hoa region, described him as follows:
He was not a rich person. He was frugal, and wore ragged clothes. When his mother sent him Western clothes, he sent them back to her. For he did not want people to think he was hard to approach. He ate frugally too. Once, a cook bought a slice of cero for him but since he wanted to avoid luxury, he made the cook sell the fish back. Thus he lived thriftily, and spent what he received before God and contributed them to churches. (6)
Moody consciously tried to maintain close contact with Taiwanese people and adopted some of their practices in order to carry out missionary tasks. When he engaged in street preaching, he often did so with one or two Taiwanese evangelists, whom he typically let take the lead. Moody also adopted Lim's methods for gathering crowds, using musical instruments such as drums, gongs, and bugles. To gain an audience, he would cry, "Where the children of God have gone!," employing a method widely used in Taiwan when people were searching for lost children in busy parts of towns and villages. (7) Moody's personal letters home clearly show that he adopted a strategic approach to his work, and it is likely that he made use of information concerning the methods of the China Inland Mission (CIM). In 1898 he mentioned in a letter that he was curious about the CIM and admired its missionaries for being "rather better at preaching than other missionaries are" because of their "intimate contact with the people, and constant evangelistic efforts," including living and dressing according to native custom. (8)
Colonialism and Negative Stereotypes
From 1895 into the early 1900s, those involved in the Taiwanese armed resistance against the Japanese often hid among unarmed civilians, leaving Japanese officials unable to distinguish between "robbers" and "good people." (9) In a letter to his former co-worker in Gallowgate, Moody censured the Japanese army, believing them to "bring these troubles on themselves" by "taking little care to distinguish between guilty & innocent," which gave reason for innocent civilians, who had not previously fought against Japanese forces, to turn to revengeful resistance. (10) At the time, criticism of the Japanese for their harsh treatment of the Taiwanese was fairly common. The publication in English of several articles condemning "the savage and relentless severity" of the Japanese triggered anonymous correspondence from a missionary stationed in Taiwan-fu who discussed the 1896 massacre perpetrated by the imperial army in Yunlin, mid-Taiwan. (11)
By 1907, when Moody published his first literary work, The Heathen Heart, he had come to focus on the broader problems of cross-cultural interaction, including the sense of superiority over the colonized people exhibited by both Japanese and Western colonialists. Furthermore, he noticed that Christian missionaries, himself included, could similarly hold themselves to be superior to non-Christians. As Moody reflected, disregard for "heathen" people was often based upon a negative stereotype that viewed them as being morally backward. Such attitudes were not uncommon among EPM missionaries in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; Chinese-Taiwanese were described as unsympathetic (12) and as severely "demoralised" people, with their "adulteries" and their "woeful" and "foolish" idolatry. (13) Significantly, the connection between lack of Christian faith and moral backwardness was also made in contemporary Scottish society, from which many EPM missionaries came. Against the background of rapid urbanization and the widening social divide, the emerging middle class came to have an important place in many Scottish congregations, with a popular assumption that poverty and moral shortcomings were interrelated products of an individual's "spiritual failure." (14) By the 1880s this self-justifying tendency was being criticized by church members themselves, exemplified by A. B. Bruce (1831-99), a professor at the Free Church College who had greatly influenced
Moody during Moody's days as a theology student. (15) The contact between Bruce and Moody suggests that Moody's opposition to negative stereotypes, which was cultivated by his educational experiences, was partly self-critical.
Moody recognized that he shared the negative image of the moral shortcomings of heathen people. While resident in Singapore he once came to the aid of an elderly man who was drowning in a drain. None of the many Chinese people gathered around dared to help, for fear that the Malay police would charge them with assault, which brought Moody close to breaking out "in righteous indignation." Immediately afterward, he learned that the elderly man had been pushed into the drain by American marines. Moody was "compelled to burn in silent shame," for he recognized that, in feeling "righteous" anger, he had shared the common assumption that the Chinese were heartless people. Moody observed, "Thus East and West were one in heartless self-regard"; heartlessness could not be solely attributed to particular ethnic groups. (16)
Moody noticed that his negative images of the cultural other were also the product of simple linguistic misunderstandings. In a letter to a friend dated 1899, he describes how he and Taiwanese evangelist Chheng encountered the body of a Taiwanese man who had been shot dead by Japanese police officers. They learned that the victim had told the soldiers that he came from Lam-tau (Nantou), a hotbed of resistance, and the Japanese officers had jumped to the conclusion that he was taking part in criminal activities. During a sermon at a mission station, Chheng referred to the incident as "a laughable matter. " Moody expressed his great shock at the Taiwanese people's severely "callous" attitude toward the sufferings of others. (17) But in 1931 he added to a copy of this letter, "This hardly does justice to the irony of Chinese 'laughable.'" Presumably, the word Moody translated "laughable" was kho-chhio in Minnan Taiwanese, which means funny but can take on very cynical and contemptuous overtones. Considering that Moody acknowledges the shy but "honest, and kindly" Chheng's commitment as a Christian worker in The Saints of Formosa (1912), it is probable that he had recognized his misunderstanding much earlier than 1931. (18)
In his interactions with Taiwanese people during open-air evangelism, Moody had many opportunities to shed his negative images of non-Christians. His personal letters record that he often was "struck with the kindness and affection" Taiwanese children showed to each other, and he expresses the thought that there was less domestic violence against women in Taiwan than there was in Scotland. (19) At times Moody described experiences that made him puzzle. He witnessed David Landsborough (1871-1957, active in Taiwan 1895-1939), a medical missionary, receiving counsel from a non-Christian woman who was dying from the surgery he had performed on her, "very considerately" urging him not to distress himself over the matter. Moody records that the patient and her family had shown kind and sincere concern for Landsborough and himself and reflects, with a certain sense of discomfort, on their own stumbling, unsuccessful attempt to "say something about the Savior" to the patient so that she would make a confession of sin before her death. (20)
His experiences in Taiwan played a part in inspiring Moody to believe that a rethinking of the true meaning of Christian mission was necessary, as he recorded in The Heathen Heart:
Of course it would sort with our prejudices to represent the Heathen Chinese as the slaves of every vice, without natural affection, unloving and unloved, oppressing and oppressed, their minds crushed with gloomy superstition, living in perpetual fear, no hope beyond the grave. It would be satisfactory to the Christian preacher to convince himself that the Gospel was as light shining in deepest darkness, a balm for intolerable sores, a comfort for unspeakable distress. But these things are not so. (21)
Thus, through his experiences in missionary fields, Moody had come to articulate his recognition that the heathen, or people of different ethnicity and religion, also have hearts and that the moral superiority of which contemporary Christians tended to be so self-righteously proud was by no means the essence of Christianity. This journey of self-recognition is well represented by the title of his work The Heathen Heart.
Relationship with Taiwanese Evangelists
Meanwhile, Moody's attitude and behavior toward Taiwanese were significantly influenced by his close contact with Taiwanese evangelists. Most of the Presbyterian Taiwanese evangelists of the late Qing and colonial period were students or graduates of the theological college, (22) and some of them had been encouraged by missionaries to become involved in mission activities. Taiwanese ministers Liau Tit (1889-1975) and Koeh Tiau-seng (1883-1962), who were baptized by Moody and who more than once went out with him to do open-air evangelism, recollected how as adolescents they had been influenced by Moody's attitudes as a Christian evangelist. (23)
But these Taiwanese Christians also deeply impressed Moody. In particular, Lim Hak-kiong, who frequently went out visiting stations with Moody and became his good friend, played a significant role in shaping Moody's thoughts about Taiwanese people. Moved by Lim's personality, Moody depicts Lim in an especially affectionate way in his literary works. He was careful, however, not to simply romanticize Lim and other Taiwanese Christians. Moody, who was used to "Scotch" ways of carrying out a Communion service, frankly acknowledged his cultural shock on witnessing Lim's and Taiwanese converts' "prosaic" way of organizing the service. (24) After both observing the Taiwanese context and referring to several historical documents on church lives in the Western world, however, he balanced his initial impression of the Taiwanese Christians' attitude, stating that "the reverence and decorum to which we are accustomed" were unfamiliar not only to Taiwanese Christians, but also to people of earlier generations in Christian lands. (25)
At times, Moody's close interactions with Taiwanese evangelists led him to take action that did not conform to the Mission Council's decisions, as in the case of his management of salaries for Taiwanese evangelists. During the late Qing and early colonial era, wages for EPM's Taiwanese employees were fairly low. Moody noted that in the 1880s, missionaries' domestic helpers received 10 or 12 shillings a month, but Christian preachers 12-20 shillings, (26) and the records of the Mission Council show that in 1900 they decided to pay Taiwanese preachers monthly salaries of between 4 and 12 dollars. (27) Also, the earnings of church employees were generally lower than the earnings of people in other occupations. Moody recorded that in 1906, when a Taiwanese sawyer Kho Bin (1881-1959) changed employment to become his domestic helper, his monthly income fell from a pound to 12 or 14 shillings. (28)
Against this background, as both Lim Hak-kiong and Koeh Tiau-seng recollect, Moody "secretly helped evangelists in hardship" by giving them part of his own income on top of their fixed salaries. (29) Moody's management of salaries for Taiwanese evangelists in the Chiang-hoa region appears to have raised concern among some members of the Mission Council, for minutes of the council show traces of tension between Moody and the council, and between the council and the Foreign Missions Committee (FMC). On February 1, 1906, the council called attention to the fact that "certain preachers in the Chianghwa [Chiang-hoa] region did not receive salary according to the scale agreed upon by the Council, and Mr. Campbell was instructed to communicate with Mr. Moody on the subject." (30) It was reported on July 4 the same year that Campbell had received Moody's reply about the issue, but Moody left for furlough and the subject was not discussed until his return to Taiwan two years later. On October 28,1908, urged by the Foreign Mission Secretary in a letter, the council noted the need for an early attempt for "understanding" and that they should "confer" with Moody about the matter, but the discussion was postponed again. (31) The issue remained unresolved, for at the end of 1908 Moody revealed to the council that, because of his wife's illness, he had already sent FMC his resignation and was preparing to leave Taiwan. (32) Until their return to Taiwan in 1914, Campbell and Margaret Moody worked temporarily in Australia and New Zealand.
Moody's six-year absence did not discourage him from continuing his support for Taiwanese evangelists. Koeh recollected that in the aftermath of the First World War, as he faced great difficulty maintaining his family of six on a monthly wage of 14 yuan, Moody suddenly visited, asked him to join village evangelism, and insisted on offering him 80 yuan for accepting the job. (33) These individual actions were part of Moody's strategy to ensure that Taiwanese preachers were in a position to practice their mission activities, but they also resulted from his own consciousness of the unequal status of Taiwanese and foreign workers, which was closely intertwined with his reflections on missionaries' sense of superiority over the Taiwanese. As Moody's second wife, Peggie, pointed out, he felt uneasy about the undeniable contrast between the living expenses afforded the missionaries in comparison to those received by the Taiwanese. He stated that "to come as the representative of Jesus Christ, and yet to live like a rich man, moving from place to place in a chair, this sort of thing oppresses and perplexes one." (34)
Reaffirmation of Christian Mission
Moody was candid in assessing the people and the sociopolitical context in colonial Taiwan, and thus he was aware of the problems surrounding the attitudes of the colonialists and Western missionaries, which set them above the ethnic and religious other. Personal encounters with thoughtful non-Christian Taiwanese made him especially critical of the negative stereotypes of the "heartless heathen" that Western Christians, including himself, tended to hold, and he was led to denounce the self-justifying assumption that the essence of Christian mission lies in a moralizing influence on non-Christians. That Moody's attitude toward Taiwanese was connected to his concern about the issue of missionaries' self-esteem is exemplified by his response to the income gap between foreign and Taiwanese Christian workers.
This change in Moody's perceptions of heathen people and Christian mission led to his religious quest for the true significance of Christianity, both in principle and in practice. First, in the 1910s and 1920s, in order to denounce the assumption that the essence of Christianity is its moralizing influence and to reaffirm a truly Christian quality, Moody carried out a comparative study of the early church and contemporary Taiwanese churches. As a result, he articulated, in both his English and Minnan Taiwanese literary works, the crucial importance of "justification by faith alone," particularly in highlighting the error of Christians who hold self-justifying attitudes. (35) Second, in the 1930s the plight of the Jewish people in Europe and the problem of Japanese nationalism in Taiwan led Moody to consider the meaning of Christianity in the face of suffering. The result was his sympathy for the anticolonial nationalism of the Taiwanese people, an attitude that was most distinctly expressed in his children's book The
Mountain Hut (1938). In this work Moody describes the calamity of Taiwanese society in the early years of Japanese occupation, telling the story of a Taiwanese resistance leader who became a fugitive for twenty years. (36) Moody's personal experiences in his early years as a foreign missionary had played no small role in altering his perceptions of the ethnic and religious other and of Christianity itself, and they inspired him to continuously rethink and reaffirm the fundamental meaning of being a Christian.
(1.) A. Hamish Ion, The Cross and the Rising Sun, vol. 2, The British Protestant Missionary Movement in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, 1865-1945 (Waterloo, Ont.: Wilfrid Laurie Univ. Press, 1993), 116.
(2.) Helen Ballhatchet, "Woruta-Deninngu: Meiji shoki ni okeru Sennkyoushi no Katsudou" (Walter Dening: Case Study of a Missionary in Early Meiji Japan; in Japanese), Asian Cultural Studies 16 (1987): 21-55.
(3.) Campbell N. Moody, The Saints of Formosa: Life and Worship in a Chinese Church (Edinburgh: Oliphant, Anderson, & Ferrier, 1912; repr. Taipei: Ch'eng Wen, 1971), 121.
(4.) Carbon copies of Moody's personal correspondence written during 1897-99, with some additional notes by Moody, are archived in the Museum of Church History, Tainan Chang Jung Senior High School, Tainan, Taiwan, the former middle school established by EPM (hereafter MCH Tainan).
(5.) Campbell N. Moody to Jeanie Renfrew, September 25, 1898, MCH Tainan.
(6.) Hak-kiong Lim, "Koo Mui Kam-bu Bok-su e Sio-toan" (In memoriam the late Rev. Moody; in Minnan Taiwanese), Tai-oan Kau-hoe Kong-po (Taiwan church news) 664 (July 1940): 11; repr. as Taiwan Jiaohui Congbo Quanlan: Taiwan Di-yi-fen Baozhi (The complete Taiwan church news collection: the first newspaper in Taiwan; in Minnan Taiwanese), vol. 14,1939-1940 (Tainan: Taiwan Church News, 2004).
(7.) Bun-liong Koeh, personal communication, August 24, 2010.
(8.) Campbell N. Moody, letter to Jeanie Renfrew, May 4, 1898, MCH Tainan.
(9.) "Taiwann Hoku-bu Dohi Tousei Tennmatsu" (Report on rebels in northern Taiwan; in Japanese), ca. 1898, Goto Shinnpei Archives, Ed. Mizusawa City Museum of Goto Shinnpei, archive no. 7-63, microfilm reel no. 30, Kyoto University Library, Kyoto, Japan.
(10.) Campbell N. Moody to James McCulloch, November 14,1898, MCH Tainan.
(11.) "The Japanese in South Formosa: Appalling State of Affairs," China Mail, July 18,1896, Leisure and Cultural Services Department, Multimedia Information System, Hong Kong Public Libraries, https:// mmis.hkpl.gov.hk/home; "Rebellion in Mid-Formosa," The Times, August 25,1896, www.newspapers.com/newspage/33024641.
(12.) William Campbell, Sketchesfrom Formosa (London: Marshall Brothers, 1915), 17.
(13.) George Ede, "Formosa: Letter from Mr. Ede," The Messenger and Missionary Record of the Presbyterian Church of England (London: Presbyterian Church of England), no. 80 (August 1884): 157-58. George Ede (1854-1904) was an EPM missionary active in Taiwan from 1883 to 1896.
(14.) Callum G. Brown, The Social History of Religion in Scotland since 1730 (London: Methuen, 1987), 131-36,140-43.
(15.) A. B. Bruce, "The Kingdom of God," in Christianity and Social Life: A Course of Lectures (Edinburgh: Macniven & Wallace, 1885), 1-16. For Bruce's influence on Moody, see Peggie C. Moody, Campbell Moody: Missionary and Scholar (Tainan: Taiwan Church News, 2005), 102-4. Peggie Moody's biography of her husband was not published until 2005. It was then published in Taiwan with a translated author name (Poqi Hong) and title (Xuanjiao Xuezhe Mei Jianwu), but with the content in its original language, English.
(16.) Campbell N. Moody, The Heathen Heart: An Account of the Reception of the Gospel among the Chinese of Formosa (Edinburgh: Oliphant, Anderson & Ferrier, 1907), 59-64.
(17.) Campbell N. Moody to Matthew Laurie, January 4, 1899, MCH Tainan.
(18.) Campbell Moody, Saints of Formosa, 178-79, 214.
(19.) Campbell N. Moody to friends, June 20, 1898, MCH Tainan.
(20.) Campbell N. Moody to Mary Ewing Naismith, June 30, 1898, MCH Tainan. (Naismith was Moody's mother).
(21.) Campbell Moody, Heathen Heart, 84-85.
(22.) At the college, students learned the liberal arts such as mathematics or geography as well as the catechism and Bible reading, in both Peh-oe-ji (POJ) and Chinese characters. POJ, or "colloquial-letters," is romanized Minnan Taiwanese and was widely used in EPM mission literature in Taiwan. After graduation, the students would prepare to be ordained as ministers by carrying out mission activities and taking regular examinations.
(23.) Tit Liau, "68 Hoe-ek-Liok" (Reminiscences of 68 years; in Minnan Taiwanese), Oah-mia eBi-niu (Daily bread) 32 (January 1957): 40-42: "Zhenben Shengjing Shuwei Diancang Chaxun Xitong" (Digital Archive of Scarce Books and Bibles, Search System), Taigu Sin Bong Ai (Taiwanese Faith, Hope, and Love; in Minnan Taiwanese), http:// bible.fhl.net/ob/ro.php?book=41&procb=0>; Tiau-seng Koeh, "Siau-lian Mui Kam-bu Bok-su" (Commemorate Rev. Campbell Moody; in Minnan Taiwanese), Tai-oan Kau-hoe Kong-po (Taiwan church news) 664 (July 1940): 8: repr. as Taiwan Jiaohui Gongbo Quanlan: Taiwan Di-yi-fen Baozhi (see endnote 6); Tiau-seng Koeh, Chuan-dao Xing-cheng (Preacher's progress; in Mandarin Chinese and Minnan Taiwanese), vol. 1 (privately printed), 64, Tainan Theological College and Seminary Library, Tainan, Taiwan.
(24.) Campbell Moody, Heathen Heart, 169.
(25.) Campbell Moody, Saints of Formosa, 98.
(26.) Campbell Moody, Heathen Heart, 163.
(27.) William Campbell, Handbook of the English Presbyterian Mission in Formosa (Hastings: F. J. Parsons, 1910), 715.
(28.) Campbell Moody, Saints of Formosa, 128.
(29.) Lim, "Koo Mui Kam-bu Bok-su e Sio-toan," 11; Koeh, "Siau-lian Mui Kam-bu Bok-su," 8.
(30.) Campbell, Handbook, 878.
(31.) Ibid., 947, 950.
(32.) Ibid., 952-53. The following records of the Mission Council also suggest tension among Moody, the council, and FMC: council chair Campbell's disapproval of Moody's manuscript of POJ commentary on Romans (ibid., 883); strong protest of the council at FMC's decision to prolong Moody's furlough because of his illness (909-10); the council's reprehension of FMC for their "repeatedly singling out one member of the Council [presumably Moody] for preferential treatment" (950-51).
(33.) Koeh, Chuan-dao Xing-cheng, 254-55.
(34.) Peggie Moody, Missionary and Scholar, 154-56. Later, on March 11,1925, in a letter to Foreign Mission secretary P. J. Maclagan, Campbell Moody also stated, "I feel very strongly about needless expenditure on missionaries' houses" (Presbyterian Church of England Foreign Missions Committee, SO AS Library, University of London, London).
(35.) Campbell N. Moody, The Mind of the Early Converts (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1920); Campbell N. Moody, "Spiritual Power in Later Judaism and in the New Testament," Expository Times 38 (1927): 561; Mui Kam-bu (Campbell N. Moody), Tam-lun To-li (Conversation about doctrines; in Minnan Taiwanese) (Tainan: Tai-lam Sin-lau Chu-tin-tong [The book room], 1920).
(36.) Campbell N. Moody, The Mountain Hut: A Tale of Formosa (London: Religious Tract Society, 1938).
Kazue Mino is a doctoral student at Kyoto University Graduate School of Education, in Japan, where she is studying the history of English Presbyterian Missions in Taiwan under Japanese rule, focusing on the Scottish missionary Campbell N. Moody.
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|Publication:||International Bulletin of Missionary Research|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2014|
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