Billy Graham Center
MacGillivray Notes, 1950 - Text Only
Kenneth McGillvray was a missionary with the Elim Pentecostal Assemlies of Britian, working in
northwest China. This report was apparently compiled by him from reports he heard about
meetings Chinese church leaders had had with Chou En Lai and other governement leaders shortly
after the Communist victory in China. These notes help document the beginings of the Three Self
Movement in China. This copy of McGillivray's notes was apparently sent by him to his freind and
fellow missionary Victor Plymire in Springfield, Missouri and is from box 1, folder 24 in Collection
341, the papers of Victor Guy Plymire.
This copy was typed on very thin copy paper, with a few inked-in or typed-in changes. For example,
the word "own" in the phrase "its own leaders" in paragraph (c) is actually spelled "won" and an
inked-in editorial mark indicates the correct order of the letters. It was not possible to reproduce
most of these handwritten corrections in this text, although they do appear in the
photographic reproduction. The text that follows reflects the editorial corrections. Any comments
by the archivist are in brackets [ ]. On the reproduction of the notes, the discolored patches on the
document were caused by scotch tape that had been applied sometime in the past. Page two is
extremely short, but does appear to be the end of the document. Because of limitations in the
software program, the layout is not exactly the same as in the original document.
[Start of document]
June 11th 1950
My Notes on the Meetings with Investigation Group, Sian, May 17-19
Liu Fang Mou's report of official talks between Government and Christian leaders concerning the Church in New
19 Church leaders from Peiping and Tientsin went to interview Government leaders at short notice. They had 3 talks
with Minister Chou En Lai (4 hrs. each) and 3 with other leaders (3 hrs. each), twenty high government leaders being
present. Minister Chou was educated at Nankai so was familiar with YMCA and knew a good deal about the
Church. He emphasised the following points:-
1. THE CHURCH AND HISTORY. Religion and politics inseparably connected in Europe but ever separate in
China. Luther's Reformation against Catholicism recognised; Protestant influence on China admitted p- closely with
imperialism and imperialistic aims. In 1919 student movement of the 4th of the 5th month started and had its
meetings in Tientsin YMCA - some connection with revolutionary movements, produced a few revolutionaries,
supported war against Japan, but generally the church connected with imperialism throughout. Church asked to send
representatives to Constituent Assembly in October because of revolutionary connection.
2. THE DUTIES OF THE CHURCH AT THE PRESENT TIME.
(a) It must sever all connections with imperialism, understanding its methods of work and influence in the
Church. If it clear out all imperialistic elements in its constitution no reason why it should not continue to
exist - to be done by the church itself (tzu tung ti) not by the government (pei tung ti) inaugurating "down
with religion" movement (the alternative). Democratic movement within to "ch'ing suan" (reckon
(b) It must clear out the running dogs of imperialism' -Chiang, Kung etc.
(c) It must develop into self-governing, self-propogating, self-supporting organization - train its own leaders,
develop its own methods of self-support, learn to do without foreign money. Money reduced gradually in
case of institutions rendering services to the people and needed in China at present e.g. Yenching. Church
should institute "testing the thinking" and "self criticism" meetings,
(d) It would be best for the Church to [word crossed out] gradually get rid of foreign preachers. Principle of
the Church to do without foreign money and foreign preachers.
(5) It should increase its love of country and/democracy. Are these found in the Church as interpreted by the
Government? Government can cooperate with the Church to carry out the "kung tung kang ling" (stated
but not yet published officially). It recognises religion to be necessary with Protestants (1 million),
Catholics (3 million), Buddhists and Moslems making up more than 50% of the population. It will take
good points of Jesus' teaching for use in new society e.g. about the poor and the rich. In future socialist or
communist China, Church will have a place as in Russia. Materialism and Idealism (wei hsin lun) can
subsist together but latter cannot take the place of the former. Government has a "down with religion"
movement but it will not be necessary if the Church gets rid of imperialistic elements.
(f) It should accept and follow the leadership of the Government.
Minister Chou came back again and again to the necessity of getting rid of imperialistic elements and connection
with imperialistic countries, England and America, and the necessity of becoming self-supporting, self-governing,
OTHER POINTS :- Preaching to be confined to the churches lest there be trouble on the streets if preaching there;
people form outside should not go to places whereland has been divided in order to preach, especially to north-east
areas which are more advanced in socialism.
FROM OTHER SPEAKERS:- Various emphasis/of the minister's talks; large number of missionaries in China not
suited to New China' because of Western thinking and style of living etc. (best for them to withdraw as quickly as
possible!): some still have contribution (doctors, nurses, technicians etc.,;; new people who might have contribution
but wiser at present not to invite in view of minister's emphasis.
Last Revised: 6/26/00
© Wheaton College 2005