Turning the World Upside Down - A Century of Missionary Endeavour
W. T. Stunt
A record by W. T. Stunt, A. Pulleng, A. Pickering, G. P. Simmons, D. K. Boak, and S. F. Warren. Upperton Press in conjunction with Echoes of Service. Illus. 663pp. £3.00 plus 25P postage from 1 Widcombe Crescent, Bath.
To present an exhaustive account of an entire century of missionary work is a mammoth task. The introduction to this book indicates in the following words the spirit in which this task is entered upon; "The story of the present as well as the past, is of a God who is faithful and in whom his people can unreservedly trust". Overshadowing this record is the character of a mighty God. Not surprisingly, this is a vast factual record covering geographical, historical, spiritual and personal details of missionary labours in each land. They are integrated into the narrative, and very usefully cumulated in the appendices and index at the end of the book.
Essentially, however, the book is concerned with people, mainly those whose names have appeared in Echoes of Service. This creates an atmosphere of warmth, making for a constant appeal to interest. The book is dedicated to martyrs and those who suffered in pioneering the way of missions. Of particular interest in this respect are the chapters on "Early Years" and "Men of Bath". The tragedies and joys, sacrifices, labours and prayers of devoted Christians, led by the Spirit of God and burning with unquenchable zeal, cannot fail to inspire.
Conspicuous in this volume are missionary methods. These methods embrace a wide range of activities. It is good to study their adaptation to the various customs, traditions and religions of each particular country, and heartening too to observe the constant application of New Testament church preaching, practice and principles throughout the years of missionary toil. Such methods are seen to produce, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, living and strong indigenous assemblies which survive and develop even when no missionaries remain. Failures are faithfully recorded, but are shown to result in sound achievement.
Many problems are described. A proportion of these have been and still are linked with the nature of the countries in which the work is carried on. One wonders at times however the work has survived in some lands. This book is a witness to the power of God who is greater than all problems and will be able to deal with Satan's power.
"It is good to sit back sometimes and watch the Lord at work". This book certainly encourages such an exercise, for as we watch, the prospect of missionary work brightens. Perhaps the day of the missionary is changing or passing. Many native Christians are now engaged in the work, which missionaries began. "Turning the world upside down"- the title describes what Spirit-filled saints have done, and will continue to do, until the Lord returns. The layout is excellent, the text being interspersed with numerous half-tone illustrations of both personalities and missionary activities. Perhaps if this volume has to be reprinted, it may be worthwhile to produce a certain number of copies with higher quality paper and binding.