"I believe this 100th year of protestant missions in Japan will go down in history as the year of the greatest Christian evangelistic surge ever felt. This year we're going to wave the flag of all-out evangelism" stated Rev. K. Kaneda, energetic Tokyo pastor of the Suginami Free Methodist Church
Unless a major crisis or an unforeseen world event occurs, many believe this prophecy will come true. Through various centennial committees and surveys this fact is abundantly verified.
One hundred years ago, on May 2, the first Protestant missionary arrived in Japan. In celebration of this centennial, most evangelical organizations are putting forth special evangelistic efforts during 1959. Among the planned are:
The EMAJ (Evangelical Missionary Association of Japan) executive committee, is encouraging Centennial evangelistic campaigns by printing printing tracts, posters, seals,and handbills for nationwide use. The EMAJ as such does not hold campaigns, but exists as a service agency to encourage, mobilize and co-ordinate Biblical evangelism, serving existing missions and groups. A goal of 2,000 centennial campaigns is envisioned.
Two missionary Bible conferences are planned around the Centennial motif: The Nojiri-Ko Bible Conference, July 27-29 and the EMAJ Karuizawa conference, July 30 to Aug. 4. Special speakers include Canada's Dr. L. E. Maxwell, America's Dr. John Mitchell, and Germany's Rev. Hans Rommell.
Some key missionaries and pastors, burdened for the mobilization for all-out evangelism formed a loose liaison committee known as the JCE (Japan Centennial Evangelism Committee). They seek to mobilize coordinate and act as a sort of "quartermaster corp." for Japan's Christian "army" to make available full information on all existing evangelistic "ammunition," including audio-visual aids, literature, radio, teams, evangelism and follow-up.
The JCE is concerned with emphasizing and coordinating evangelism on 3 levels: city-wide, church-wide, and local one-church meetings. They seek to so divide up Japan that no one great area will miss having city-wide campaigns.
The JCE is also helping to co-ordinate speaking engagements for 30 evangelical leaders coming from India, China, Germany, Formosa, Indonesia, America, the Philippines, England, Canada, and Australia.
The Japan Protestant Centennial (JPC) movement is geared primarily to pastors, missionaries and believers. With a $13,000 budget, JPC scheduled two Bible conferences in Tokyo and Osaka: October 5-11 in Tokyo, and 14-8 in Osaka, and smaller conferences in Nagoya, Sendai, Hiroshima and other key areas. On the local level are small church meetings where the Moody color movie, "The Stones Cry Out," is shown and where the believer's faith is strengthened in "the Christ of the infallible Bible." Overseas speakers slated to come are Canada's Dr. Oswald J. Smith, Switzerland's Dr. Roger Nicole and America's Dr. Edward J. Young.
The official basis of cooperative evangelism of JPC and JCE is: "JCE and JPC in all official operations shall limit official Participation to men who adhere to this minimum doctrinal basis: 'We believe in the Bible as the fully inspired, infallible Word of God, the only rule of faith and practice,' and that it will attempt, as far as possible, on the local level to enlist in evangelism men of the same conviction."
The Oriental Missionary Society (O.M.S.) and Japan Holiness Church, led by Rev. A. Kurumada, is almost half way through their planned 100 centennial campaigns, expecting to see a great 100-fold increase in believers.
Japan's largest mission, The Evangelical Alliance Mission (EAM), co-operating with its Japanese pastors (Domei) in their "joint Centennial Evangelism Committee" listed as its 3 minimum goals:
1) 100 - TEAM - Domei evangelistic campaigns
2) 70 churches built to celebrate Team's 70-year anniversary of work in Japan
3) An increase of 2,000 new believers. Rev. Matsuda challenged each pastor to hold at least 3 special campaigns this year.
Japan Christian College evangelism department is responding to the need of rural evangelism. Already 18 different areas have requested a student Gospel team from July 10 to September 10. They expect to get at least 10 Gospel teams "on the road."
Dr. David Morken has planned a crusade in Fukuoka City, September 16 - October 4. The Spolls Arena, seating 6,500, has been engaged. All 38 churches in the city united in inviting him for this special crusade. Mr. Morken is the Far Eastern representative of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Following this, five other crusades in major cities of Kyushu will be conducted by Mr. Morken.
DR. Bob Pierce and his team will carry on a three week crusade in the beautiful Festival Hall of Osaka, Japan's second largest city, May 12 to June 1. A great wave of prayer has gone up for this endeavor. Some 1,700 have already registered as counselors. Full radio and TV coverage is planned to make this Osaka's greatest campaign.
Evangelist Koji Honda of Kobe's Central Church is planning city wide campaigns in 8 different cities throughout Japan.
Evangelist John Rhoads of the Navigators, is planning six city-wide campaigns in the western part of Japan.
Dr. Fred Jarvis, director of the New Life League, is holding city-wide campaigns in Yonago, Matsuyama, and other cities .
Rev. Jack McAllister, director of the World Literature Crusade, recently sent $10,000 to inaugurate the second Every Home Crusade seeking to place tracts in half of the homes of Japan during the centennial year.
Life Messengers the Bible Meditation League Dr. Norman Harrison, Dr. John R. Rice, and others also are contributing generous sums for Japanese centennial literature.
In 1956 the New Life League, in cooperation with pastors of many evangelical groups, launched a 3-year, 100,000 converts crusade culminating in the centennial year. Already 330 requests from 110 cities for evangelistic meetings have been received. A number of Japanese pastors will conduct these meetings.
They are sponsoring a "Kick off Rally at Tokyo Chapel Center on may 1 where missionaries and pastors of all groups will gather for a centennial evangelism conference followed by an all night of prayer ending on May 2, the date of the arrival of Rev. John Liggins, the first Protestant missionary to Japan a hundred years ago. Dr.. Andrew Gih, director of "Evangelize China Fellowship," one of China's outstanding evangelists, will be the main speaker at this rally, at 2:00 and 7:30. Movies will be shown from 10:00-20:00.
Evangelist Gregory Tingston from the Philippines, and Dr. Timothy Dzao of Hong Kong will also hold evangelistic campaigns during the centennial year.