- China Inland Mission
- The China Inland Mission (CIM) was the most geographically expansive Protestant missionary endeavor in pre-World War II China. It was founded in 1865 by James Hudson Taylor (1832-1905), who had previously served in China with Karl Gutzlaff's short-lived society. Taylor won some support in England with his 1865 book, China's Spiritual Needs and Claims. Later that year, with the assistance of William Thomas Berger (d. 1872) but with little financial backing, he created the CIM.The CIM was to operate under a unique set of rules. It would not make public appeals for financial support but rely on voluntary offerings. Those in service would not be guaranteed a salary. They were expected to integrate themselves into Chinese life and culture, and they were to concentrate on the essentials of the Protestant faith and avoid interdenominational controversies. Taylor returned to China in 1866. The initial missionary station was established at Hangchow (Hangzhou) in Chekiang (Zhejiang); in its first years, work centered on the coastal regions south of Shanghai.Berger remained behind in London to administer the affairs and finances of the mission. Following his demise in 1872, a council was set in place to select future missionaries, and promote the work in England. Councils were later established in Australia (1890), New Zealand (1894), South Africa (1943), North America (1888), and Switzerland (1950).Taylor instituted a course of study for newly arrived missionaries, which included mastering Chinese and gaining basic knowledge of local geography, government, and etiquette. In addition, they were given instruction in Chinese religion and advised how best to communicate the Gospel in a new context. Recent arrivals were then usually posted to a station where they could be supervised by an experienced associate.The China Inland Mission grew steadily through the first half-century of its operation. It began with 24 workers, and peaked in 1934 with 1,368 workers at 364 mission stations all across China and in Manchuria, Mongolia, Tibet, and Burma. Women were integral to the CIM's success. In 1878, Taylor braved possible negative reactions by assigning single women to the mission field. By 1882, Taylor had assigned 95 single women and 56 wives of missionaries to official posts.After the turn of the century, Taylor's health began to fail, and he was affected by the loss of colleagues during the Boxer Rebellion. He resigned as general director in 1903 and died two years later.The Japanese invasion in 1937 and the Communist victory in 1949 devastated the CIM. In 1950, all CIM missionaries were ordered to leave the country, with the last missionary reaching Hong Kong in 1953. As personnel withdrew from China, the leadership gathered in England and decided to redirect the work to the Chinese communities outside of the People's Republic. Personnel were restationed throughout Southeast Asia, and headquarters moved to Singapore.In 1964, a new name, Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF), signified a major redirection. For the first time non-Western Christians were welcomed into full membership, and home councils were established in Asian countries to support the work. Also, OMF now moved to include nonChinese in their missionary efforts.Further reading:■ Marshall Broomhall, The Jubilee Story of the China Inland Mission (Philadelphia: China Inland Mission, 1915)■ Leslie T. Lyall, A Passion for the Impossible: The China Inland Mission 1865-1965 (Chicago: Moody Press, 1965)■ John Charles Pollock, Hudson Taylor and Maria: Pioneers in China (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1962)■ Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor and the China Inland Mission (London: Morgan and Scott, 1919)■ J. Hudson Taylor, China's Spiritual Need and Claims (London: Morgan and Scott, l887).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.