A WRITER in a late number of the Missionary Review of the World deems it necessary to defend the cause of missions against the charge that “converts are only from the low-caste people in countries like India.”
It is certain that Christianity needs no defense against such a charge as that. If “the cause of missions” needs it, it can be only because “the cause of missions” is lacking in some of the elements of Christianity.
It if should prove true that not a single high-caste person in such countries as India or any other country, and ever accepted Christianity, this would weigh absolutely nothing against the truth, the power, or the merit, of Christianity. It would simply show that all such people had made the greatest mistake that it is possible for any human being to make.
Yet there are thousands of people who propose to measure the merit of Christianity by just such a test as is here suggested. They support that if Christianity were to make many “converts” among the “high classes,” this would be evidence that it was a pretty good religion. And if only it were to make all its “converts” among the “high classes,” this would be evidence that it was a perfect religion—completely adapted to all the needs of mankind. Whereas if it made only a few converts from the “high classes,” this would be evidence that it is rather an inferior religion. And if it should make no converts at all form such “class,” this would be sufficient evidence that it is a religion worthy of no consideration at all by such altogether wise and proper people as “we” are.
Such views as this, however, are altogether vanity. Such people as these would have rejected Christ when He was on earth, just as did the other Pharisees. Such is precisely the argument made then by the “higher classes;” “Art thou also His disciple? Have nay of the rulers or the Pharisees believed on Him? But this people that knoweth not the law”—these unlearned, low class, common folks, who believe on Him—“are cursed.” “He goeth in with publicans and sinners, and eateth with them.” In fact, not a single one of the “higher classes” there was known to be a believer in Him till after He was dead; then two of them, who had been disciples, “but secretly,” stepped out publicly and let be known that they were such.
If Christianity in Christ’s day on earth had been dependent on the “high classes” for a place in the world, it would have had no place at all in the world. In fact, in that case it could not have even entered the world; for the only ones in all that land to whom the angels could announce the glad tidings were the lowly shepherds who were watching their flocks and longing for the coming of the promised One.
Christianity knows no higher classes nor lower classes, nor classes of any other kind. It knows only that all men are so low as to be overwhelming lost in sin, and need to be saved. It knows that men of low degree are nothing, and that men of high degree are worse than nothing. It knows that all are lost alike, and all must be saved alike. And there is no respect of persons with God. Christianity therefore goes to all alike, offering everlasting life and eternal glory. And wherever it is true that there are any classes so “high” that they cannot be converted by it, that is only the more shame to them, and shows that they are really so low as not to be able to discern the value of the highest gift the universe can afford.
Caiaphas was so “high” that he could despise the Lord Jesus and persecute Him to death, and because of it he will sink to eternal perdition. But when the Lord was crucified with the two thieves, one of them was so “low” that he could believe on Him, and because of it he will rise to the heaven height of eternal glory.
Oh! in the presence of Christianity as it really is, for men to talk of “higher classes” and “lower classes,” “high caste” and “low-caste,” betrays such a lack of comprehension of it as to be painful to every Christian. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Why will any man in the wide world hold himself so high as to despise such a gift?