World Mission: Canadian Protestantism and the Quest for a New International Order, 1918-1939
Wright examines these churches' historical connections with the outside world and their newly cultivated interest in international politics. He argues that the clerical and missionary Úlite's vision of "a new internationalism" was burdened by essentially "Victorian" ideas of the inherent superiority of Protestant Christianity, political democracy, and Anglo-Saxon "race characteristics." Tensions between its traditional world view and the new realities of international and inter-racial relations eventually made this vision untenable. According to Wright, the Canadian churches of mainline Protestantism tried to find a middle ground. They relaxed the link between conversion and westernization and came to accept the legitimacy of indigenous churches in Asia and Africa. Although they ultimately stuck to their theme of Christian brotherhood and service, they confronted the theological challenges of reconciling Christianity with other belief systems and the intellectual revolution in the West. And, although they paid ritual respect to the League of Nations and collective security and accepted war in 1939 as necessary, they showed keen interest in disarmament. While the ambivalence of this middle ground had some tragic consequences, such as the incapacity of the Canadian Protestant leadership to lobby forcefully on behalf of either European Jewish refugees in the 1930s or Japanese- Canadians interred during World War II, there were successes in humanitarian, relief, and educational work abroad. The churches' activities also helped shape the international role of the Christian community and their eventual acceptance of both ethnic diversity and the developing nations' right to self-determination laid much of the groundwork for Canada's post-war approach to foreign aid and development.
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