This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of David Howard Adeney (CN 393, T6) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words have been omitted, except for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers. Foreign terms which are not commonly understood appear in italics. In very few cases words were too unclear to be distinguished. If the transcriber was not completely sure of having gotten what the speaker said, "[?]" was inserted after the word or phrase in question. If the speech was inaudible or indistinguishable, "[unclear]" was inserted. Grunts and verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. The transcribers have not attempted to phonetically replicate English dialects but have instead entered the standard English word the speaker was expressing. Readers should remember that this is a transcript of spoken English, which follows a different rhythm and rule than written English.
Chinese place names are spelled in the transcript in the old or new transliteration form according to how the speaker pronounced them. Thus, "Peking" is used instead of "Beijing," if that is how the interviewee pronounced it. Chinese terms and phrases which would be understood were spelled as they were pronounced with some attempt made to identify the accepted transliteration form to which it corresponds.
NOTE ON INTERVIEWEE'S EDITING OF TRANSCRIPT: Underlined text throughout the transcript identifies changes made to the transcript by Adeney. Underlined text in brackets [text] denotes a written addition made by Adeney to add clarity to his recorded comments. When following unbracketed underlined text (text [text]), the text in brackets is intended to replace that which it follows. No subtractions have been made from the spoken record. Researchers wishing to quote from this transcript may do so. In the event that the selected text includes an underlined portion reflecting a revision or addition by the interviewee, Dr. Adeney has requested that the researcher use the revised text.
... Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence on the part of the speaker.
.... Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.
( ) Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
[ ] Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.
This transcript was made by Christopher Easley and Paul Ericksen and was completed in April
Collection 393, T6. Conclusion of interview of David Howard Adeney by Paul Ericksen, November 14, 1988.
ERICKSEN: You mentioned [P.T.] Chandapilla before. Could you....?
ADENEY: I first meet Chandapilla when he was a student at Columbia Bible College, and I...I'll always remember because I'd had a talk with him and I was keen that he should help with the student work in India, and it was that time when he said to me, he said, "I came to the States with a small suitcase and I going back with a smaller one." And he gave away all his foreign clothes, went back and t...took the...the Indian dhoti [length of cloth worn around the thighs and between the legs], and simple Indian cloth...shirt, and he's always [unclear] worn that kind of clothing. And he came to our first....we had the first conference, in (I think it was 1957)...in Hong Kong, and he accepted the position of General Secretary for the Union of Evangelical Students in India. And he was at that conference in Hong Kong, together with people from the Philippines, and Japan and Singapore, and.... Then I used to go to India to meet with the UESI, to speak at some of their conferences, and my wife and I taught in their Bible school that they had for students in Kotagiri...in the...in the...in the hills. And...Chanda' was always to me an example of a...of a man with tremendous dedication to the Lord. He was a man in some ways like Stacey [Woods] [clears throat]...that it was black or white, and he was very strong against any form of...of compromise. And he was so strong in his dedication to the work and his love for the Word of God, and his demand for a simple life and giving everything to the Lord. And his leadership and his...the way that he...he was an example was...made a great impression. And he...later on we had him come to DTC, and he spoke to us at the Discipleship Training Center [in Singapore]. But, Chanda gave a great lead to the work in India, and was...was very wonderfully used there. Later on he's...he became the leader of the...his own church, and now he's starting a Bible...Bible college in...in Madras, helping in starting that. He's been through some personal troubles and disappointments, and his family, but he's a man...he's a man of God, and...I learned from Chanda and I thank God for him. He's a tremendous blessing to us all. He spoke at Urbana, and when he spoke at Urbana, he.... Always remember he...he was put with the speakers in the speakers accommodation, but he...he wouldn't stay there. He moved out and went into the dormitories [laughs] to stay with the students rather to the dismay of the Inter-Varsity authorities [laughs].
ERICKSEN: What led to your working with the Ce...running the Discipleship Training Center?
ADENEY: In 1968, after I had been working with IFES for twelve years, my job was to find Asian leadership, and in a wonderful way in each country God had given an Asian General Secretary, and we had some really splendid people. And now someone needed to take over my job. And Chua Wee Hian, I had talked to him when he was in London, and the Malaysian Student Movement had asked him to go to Malaysia, and they had invited him to be staff worker in Malaysia. And he went...went to Malaysia, and of course, I had...had talked with him in the early days when he started in Malaysia, Sing...Singapore. And now it seemed that he would be the ideal man to take over from...from me. And so he was invited to Hong Kong and he worked with me for a year in Hong Kong. And then I was to leave, and I felt that it was important that I should get right out of...out of the work. Stacy Woods did ask me if I'd like to work in another part of the world and continue in a...with a traveling ministry and that...but I said, "No, I wanted to stay in Asia." And at that time, as I had moved round, I had seen how a lot of the staff workers, (and by that time we had quite a large number of staff workers, and a missionary movement that had been started [unclear, clears throat] at the first missionary conference, and...and people were volunteering for the Lord's service), and some of them were not too happy about going to regular seminaries. They didn't want to go into denominational seminary, or they felt a little hesitant about seminaries. And so they...I felt the need for leadership training for [pauses] Bible training for lay people, and...and I wanted something that would be different from the regular seminary. To me there were three things that were...were important. First of all, the community life, because I felt that the Christ trained the disciples by living with them and having them work and walk with him. And secondly they must have practical experience. They must be working in the ch...in the churches while they we...they were studying. Thirdly, I wanted it to...to have a...a...a high academic standard. And I wanted to combine these...these three things. And I...I remember one of our senior [pauses] theologians in...in...who had been in OMF, and is...who is an outstanding person, but he said, "David, you just can't put those three together. It won't work." And...and yet we decided that we wou...we would try it and the OMF felt the need for this and they asked me if I would go to Singapore, and I would start this...this training center. And we had discussed it and I had shared my vision with them, and they said, "We would like you to come and start this under OMF auspices." So I rejoined the OMF, went back as a full member, of...of OMF, and...I was very nervous about it. In fact, I was at a conference in England and I talked to Bishop [Frank] Houghton, and I said, "I don't know if I can cope with it. I've been traveling doing conferences and all this kind of thing, and suddenly to become part of a small community, to live twenty-four hours a day and to be teaching, (and I'm not an academic), I don't know whether I can cope." And at that time I was studying John's Gospel, especially Chapter 17, and it came to me with tremendous force, the three little phrases, "The work thou gavest me to do, I have finished." "I have manifested thy name to the men thou gavest me." "The word thou gavest me, I have given to them." So the "work thou gavest me," "the men thou gavest me," "the word thou gavest me." And that was kind of a foundation for me going into this work and we prayed the Lord would give us men and women. And we took as the...kind of the motto "To be with Him and to be sent forth." Christ chose the disciples to be with Him and to be sent forth. And we didn't know where we'd start it, and...the rents were very high and then I got a...a letter saying, "We've got two very suitable buildings, but they...they're subject to floods and the rent is low." And we started there. We prayed. The Lord gave us twelve people, and they came to DTC. And we had the floods. And this is a whole story in itself, and.... This...this is a... [laughs] I'm afraid it would take to long for now, but it was...I had to learn a tremendous amount through that. I had some very difficult times, and yet God...God does provide...especially the first group of students were outstanding, and God has now taken them, many of them into very...very, very key positions. One of the students from DTC has my former job as the General Secretary for Asia, and...there are others in very key positions today, and one or two of them became outstanding academically. Seyoon Kim, who is back in...went on to take his PhD under [unclear] F.F. Bruce and then to go to Tubingen [University, Germany], and he's probably one of the foremost Asian New Testament scholars today [pauses] teaching in...in Korea.
ERICKSEN: How long were you there at DTC?
ADENEY: I was there for eight years? Then Howard Peskett, who is very gifted indeed, and has far more gifts than I have, took over from me as the...as the dean. I met him in Jerusalem and invited him to DTC, and he came, as he's an excellent teacher. And he took over the work from me. Now he's director of research and personnel at OMF headquarters.
ERICKSEN: Well, I'd like to finish with one more question. Having spent almost twenty years of your life in China, I wonder what it's felt like.... You've written about what...the things you...you've seen there. I wonder what it's felt like to...to go back...to China?
ADENEY: Well when the Lord took us, he took me from DTC when I retired from there and went back and did six months teaching in Hong Kong, at the China Graduate School of Theology, and I was there when Mao died, and...and the Gang of Four were arrested. And then a couple of years later I had the chance to go back into China, in 1978 before any of the churches were opened, and that gave me the vi...the vision of the need of the church in China. And so when I came back, I...I felt that God again gave a new vision. (Every period of our life God must give us vision), and now God gave a new vision, and this was to return to my first love, to the...to the work in China, and to stir up prayer for China, and to see what we could do outside to help the church in China. We couldn't send miss...missionaries, but there are other things that could be done. And that led to the visits...nine visits back to China, and it led to me meeting some of my old fellow workers and students, and hearing of the wonderful things that God has done in His Church in China. And so these last [pauses] years, I star...helped to start the Pray for China Fellowship, became the coordinator for the [pauses] China program of OMF, and...and then I handed that over to Dick Andrews late...later on. But the...my time now has really been spent largely in seeking to be one who speaks for the church in China, seeks to learn from what God is doing there and sharing with others and helping prayer for the church in China. And we helped to start the Chinese Awareness Seminars, and...and...and so on. And out of that came the book which Dennis Lane asked me if I would write, the OMF asked me if I would write on, China, the Church's Long March.
ERICKSEN: What kind of response have you found from the Chinese government to your...?
ADENEY: I haven't had any response from the Chinese government. The...the Three Self Patriotic Movement was very much...very suspicious of me because of my record with student work. And so they tended to watch me when I did go back in...into China. And there was evidence that they were concerned...concerned whether I should try and start a new student work. I think they were afraid of that [laughs].
ERICKSEN: What kind of impact has [pauses] Billy Graham's visit to China [April 1988] had on the...the church situation there?
ADENEY: Well, Billy Graham says it...it was a real [pauses] very important thing that he was able to meet with the...with Li Peng, and other top officials. And I suppose his visit...
ERICKSEN: Li Peng is....?
ADENEY: He's the...he's the Premier...of China, and [pauses] his visit with him was...was very, very impor.... I think it helped to make known the [pauses] church in China. On the other hand, the house church people were very nervous about it, because [pauses] although his invitation was a joint invitation from the...from the...the government...the ambassadors of...for Cultural Relations, and [pauses]...and the Three Self Patriotic Movement. But the Three Self Patriotic Movement, of course, used it to show that Billy Graham was supporting...supporting them, and although Bi...Billy Graham went to see Wang Ming Dao, and he spoke in the house church in Canton in Pastor Lan [?], Lin Chou Gan's...Lin Chou Gong's [?] church. But there's been some concern among the house church people that his visit kind of enabled the Three Self to say, "The evangelicals now support us." And there is a certain division among evangelicals. But on the other hand, he preached the gospel faithfully and wherever he went, he proclaimed Christ. He preached to people who perhaps could never have heard otherwise because he had the advantage of meeting with top people in government. And...and we thank God for that...for that proclaiming of Christ. There are still complications and that's another very, very big subject.
ERICKSEN: Well before we ask any more questions I think this is the best time to stop. Dr. Adeney, thank you.