The War as a “Missions Field”

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The January 1942 issue of the Bethel Bulletin contained Christmas greetings from alumni stationed around the world, including Rodney Kephart (JC ‘40), one of more than a thousand civilian contractors building a military base on Wake Island.1 One week after Kephart’s letter home had been postmarked in Hawaii, the American garrison on that strategically-placed atoll surrendered to Japanese forces.

That November the Bulletin updated readers that Kephart “has not been heard from since the Japs took over Wake Island and it is assumed he is missing in action.”2 In fact, on September 30th he and most of the remaining civilian prisoners had been shipped to Japan. (The ninety-eight left behind were executed en masse in 1943.) Kephart spent the remainder of the war in Japanese prisoner camps, under threat from malnutrition, disease, and brutal guards. He was finally liberated in mid-September 1945, emaciated and suffering from beri beri. From his bunk on a hospital ship, Kephart wrote a letter to his alma mater: “Keppy Aint [sic] dead, he’ll be back.”3

Rodney Kephart in the late 1990s

Kephart was ordained an Evangelical Episcopal priest in 1997, six years before his death

Throughout his imprisonment, Kephart kept in his pocket a poem he had written while sailing between Wake and Hawaii in mid-1941. While that transport’s cramped conditions would later seem luxurious to a POW, they seemed to Kephart to evoke the tragic reality of the human condition:

God, how like this, men’s lives are lived!
Groping in darkness,
Caged in the bonds of sin,
Tossed by the sea of life,
No love toward man or kin,
Selfish and haughty—
Life full of guile and greed.
When the Master came
At a time of need,
Not only almost, and then to stop
When the kindly Master spoke,
But they scoff, revile, and crucify

For Kephart, as for many of the people of Bethel and its denomination, the worst war in history merely brought into relief the larger problem of human sinfulness.

But equally, for such believers, the war underscored the urgency of bringing the Good News of redemption to anyone and everyone “Groping in darkness, / Caged in the bonds of sin.” Indeed, Kephart claimed that evangelism had been his true goal in taking the job on Wake Island. “We have had a few converts to date,” he reported to former classmates in September 1941. “The number seems to be like the tide, but the spirit is gaining.”5 On December 7, 1941, he had been allowed to preach a fifteen-minute sermon over the camp’s loudspeakers. “My aim had been fulfilled,” recalled Kephart, “I had given everyone an opportunity to hear the Gospel.”6 Then as a POW in Japan, Kephart drew on his Bethel education to lead Bible studies, pray for the sick, and even officiate at funerals.

From Wake Island to a POW camp near the Japanese city of Orio, from Bremerton, Washington to Naples, Italy, the war itself became a missions field — and a catalyst for the “foreign missions advance” in the history of the Baptist General Conference.

Memorial to 98 American civilian prisoners executed by the Japanese on Wake Island

Memorial on Wake Island to the 98 civilian prisoners executed by Japanese troops in October 1943 – U.S. Air Force

…nations rise and fall; ideologies come and go; men become famous and then decline – so very little to cling to within the worldly sphere, but there is One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, to whom we can hold and by whom we can be held. — Bethel dean Emery Johnson (October 1944)7

While the people of Bethel and the Baptist General Conference didn’t hesitate to profess their love of country, the approach and onset of World War II didn’t change their conviction that their highest citizenship was not in any earthly kingdom, that their hope was not in any earthly cause. Two months before Pearl Harbor, the front page of the denominational magazine featured the pre-WWI poetry of Alexander Blackburn, who professed himself unimpressed by “ranks of soldiers with flags unfurled” or “armored ships that gird the world.” Despite military and other kinds of secular power, “yet the state / in the eye of God be far from great.” Instead, Blackburn concluded:

That land is great which knows the Lord,
Whose songs are guided by His Word;
Where justice rules ‘tween man and man,
Where love controls in art and plan;
Where, breathing in his native air,
Each soul finds joy in praise and prayer—
Thus may our country, good and great,
Be God’s delight—man’s best estate.8

A month after Pearl Harbor, Bethel president Henry Wingblade insisted that true “national defense” is not to be found in a large military or massive defense spending: “The defense of a nation is the presence of God in the hearts of those who have put their faith in Him.”9 The following winter, in his belated inaugural address as Bethel’s president, Wingblade decried the “lack of wisdom” that had “precipitated the holocaust in which we find ourselves today… the answer to the problem is found in the Scriptural recipe that the fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom.”10

Speaking just before Wingblade, New Testament scholar and Central Baptist Seminary president H.E. Dana had painted an even more dismal picture of the world:

As we cast our eyes about us upon this earth today, we see a rather discouraging plight. If this terrible war closed within the next 24 hours, we would be in a sad condition, and each month that this conflagration of national ruin continues, it is going to leave us worse and worse. But as in a spiritual vision I look out upon that day when finally some kind of conclusion has been accomplished in this conflict of nations, and see this old world lying in the midst of these bloodsoaked, smoking ruins. I see them all lying distraught, bewildered, helpless, and hopeless as far as any real permanent reconstruction of this human race is concerned.11

Carl Bergstrom, as pictured in the Bethel Clarion article announcing his participation in the 1943 Bethel Homecoming

Bergstrom’s photo in the Bethel Clarion issue announcing his participation in the 1943 Homecoming – Bethel University Digital Library

Bethel students and alumni in the military encountered such scenes firsthand, even months after the war ended. In September 1945 Army chaplain Carl Bergstrom (A’ 16, S ‘19) wrote to Henry Wingblade about entering the harbor of Naples, the largest city in southern Italy. After Allied troops and Italian insurgents wrested control of the city from the Axis in 1943, Clarion readers had been told to be grateful that American “children aren’t growing up in broken cities playing with booby traps and taking soldiers to their sisters,” unlike the children of Naples.12 When Bergstrom arrived two years later, little had improved. “The entire water front is just shambles where once stood beautiful buildings,” reported Bergstrom. “Not a pane in any window can be seen even though the natives still live among the ruins.” But more shocking still to Bergstrom (who had seen combat in both world wars) were the conditions in which those poverty-stricken “natives” still lived:

As we pulled in I saw a sight I shall never forget. The GI’s on KP threw the garbage overboard from the lunch they had the night before. At once dozens of men and boys with small nets were there to fish the stuff out of the dirty water. Halfeaten weiners [sic] were devoured even before they had a chance to dry them. The same was true with everything they could fish out with their long handled nets.13

Bergstrom was not the only person appalled by the devastation he saw in Italy. “Hunger governed all,” reported one Australian journalist. “We were witnessing the moral collapse of a people. They had no pride any more, or dignity. The animal struggle for existence governed everything. Food. That was the only thing that mattered. Food for the children. Food for yourself. Food at the cost of any debasement or depravity.”14

Greek victims of starvation in the winter of 1941-1942

Earlier in the war, Italians had caused starvation for others. Here are a few of the Greek victims to starve to death during the Axis occupation — Athens National Museum

The language of “moral collapse” fit well with how most American Christians interpreted what one Dutch scholar has called the war’s “crash of ruin.”15 In a fall 1942 chapel talk at Bethel, Bob Jones College professor John Herrmann explained that Hitler was the symptom, not the disease: “When society dispenses with God and all binding moral controls thereby contained, the only thing left is pure force.”16 Nor was the aftermath of such collapse confined to Europe. America might have seemed physically unscathed next to war-ravaged countries like Italy, Russia, and China, but Gerald Sittser points out that American Christians found that the war revealed plenty of moral decline at home as well: “Church leaders did not hesitate to catalogue America’s sins. Severe criticism came from all quarters of the church, not only from neo-orthodox theologians, whose rediscovery of sin had made them adept at preaching jeremiads to America, but also from evangelicals, liberals, dispensationalists, and confessionalists.”17

While members of the third group in that list interpreted the “wars and rumors of wars” of 1939-1945 as signs of the coming apocalypse18, such eschatological language is generally missing from the responses of our subjects. The people of Bethel and its denomination saw God’s judgment on a “sin-sick” world, but unlike the dispensationalists, they were remarkably hopeful that the war would bring profound, positive change. For them, as for most American Christians across the theological spectrum, “The war revealed the true nature of humanity as fallen and needy,” but it also “led to a new realization of the fundamental place of religion in life… A crisis had arisen that only the church could meet.”19

For if the problem was sin, then the solution could not be purely material. Political reform was not enough, argued Dana at Wingblade’s inaugural: “Yes, democracy is a great thing, but democracy will not save this old world.” Instead, he pointed to schools like Bethel: “But I can behold rising pristine and triumphant in the midst of all of it, the Christian school functioning as the agency of God, supported and sustained by the Christian church as the one divinely endued force for rebuilding this old world of ours.”20

Bethel political science professor C.E. Carlson did not want Conference Baptists to turn away from the practical challenges waiting on the other side of the war, such as the reconstruction of shattered economies. But while “Rehabilitation must be economic and social,” he wrote in 1945, it was more

basically spiritual. They [the people of the postwar world] will need a dynamic gospel of love, of faith and of hope… and, chances are, they will not accept any other gospel.

When the victory has been won for the United Nations and for the ‘four freedoms’ we will at best have restored the opportunity for full scale battle in the spiritual conflict which is the prime concern of the Christian. In this spiritual war our aim is to make people fit to be free. Only when this spiritual goal is won can there be freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, or freedom from fear.21

Emery Johnson, whom Carlson would soon succeed as Bethel’s college dean, wondered if the whole conflict couldn’t have been avoided if Christians had simply been more actively evangelistic: “…if we as a Christian nation [had] set out to evangelize the world we would not have been in a position of going out to fight for freedom. Had we spent more money for missions we would not have found it necessary to spend so much for defense.”22 Carl Bergstrom, whose service as a chaplain took him from the Mediterranean to the Pacific, came to a similar conclusion while witnessing war crimes trials in postwar Manila: “Sitting there, I felt as though the entire Japanese nation was on trial before the world. Then it suddenly came to me: If we had sent them more missionaries in the last fifty years and less scrap iron and oil, maybe this thing would never had [sic] come to pass.”23

German refugee children in Denmark after the war

Or as a chaplain’s assistant from another denomination wrote, during the Battle of the Bulge: “The Church has such a lot of work to do! One task it must share eventually, I feel, is in restoring these poor, hungry children of Europe to bodily and spiritual normalcy. This ravaged continent is crying for missionaries, although it has had so-called Christian civilization for centuries”24 (Photo source: Bundesarchiv)

We must continue and strengthen foreign missions since the need of all men everywhere for the Gospel is not only still as great as ever, but also, because of the tragedy of our times, is more universally poignant and urgent than in any previous age. — Historian and missiologist Kenneth Scott LaTourette (1942)25

Johanna Anderson

Bethel Seminary San Diego church history professor James Smith profiled Johanna Anderson (1856-1904) in the May 2008 issue of The Baptist Pietist Clarion

From the arrival of Johanna Anderson in Burma in 1888 to the time of World War II, Swedish Baptists sent upwards of 150 missionaries beyond the United States.26 The same commitment to foreign missions permeated Bethel, whose alumni, enthused President G. Arvid Hagstrom in 1915, “are already represented on the far flung battle front of foreign missionary endeavor, while younger aspirants are preparing therefore.”27 Spending even a short time “over there” in 1918 had strengthened that ambition for former Academy student Carl Ackerman:

…my service in the U.S. Army has not changed my ambition, to be a Voluntary for Foreign Missions; but has in fact emphasized it. Because while in London, and seeing daily the sin, and wickedness of the masses, made me think of the appalling need in heathen lands. Where darkness seems to reign supreme, then how much greater the need.28

After finishing at Bethel Seminary in 1922, Ackerman pastored a church in Michigan and doesn’t seem to have entered the missions field. But others did, including Academy alumnus and teacher Walfred Danielson, who went to Assam, India in 1923. The following year Bethel Institute added a Bible and Missionary Training School; it closed in 1937, but a “Christian Worker’s Course” continued at the Junior College.29 Bethel publications regularly featured missionary updates, and even into the war the fourth Wednesday in October was set apart for a Prayer and Mission Day that saw some class time canceled in order to make room for missionary presentations. “Missionary work is not at a stand-still,” proclaimed the leader of the campus Missionary Band in December 1942, “instead, souls who would not listen before are receptive today.”30

Many of those potential converts, Bethel students were convinced, were fellow Americans. In January 1944, The Clarion reported that Miriam Johanson and Helen Heitzman had answered a “present-day ‘Macedonian call.’” They suspended their seminary studies at Bethel and moved to Bremerton, Washington, whose population had swollen to 80,000 as workers sought well-paying jobs at nearby Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Johanson and Heitzman would provide Sunday school and other Christian education to the thousand families in Bremerton that “have little or no church connections whatsoever.”31 Four months later, Heitzman wrote back that “Altho’ we haven’t had the joy of seeing many souls saved, a few have indicated their desire to accept Christ, and we know that the Gospel is being preached, and many are being reached.”32 Two more students, Helen Soder and Grace Swanson, spent their summer vacation that year helping with Vacation Bible School programs in Bremerton.

John Breitholtz as a Bethel senior in 1951

Breitholtz went on to pastor Baptist churches in Brooklyn Center, MN and Ortonville, MN – Bethel University Digital Library

Many Bethel students and alumni serving in the military longed to evangelize their comrades-in-arms. “My heart burns within me,” wrote Army NCO John Breitholtz (C ‘51, S ‘53), “as I read accounts of servicemen winning their buddies to Christ and I’m compelled to ask myself just what I’m doing for Him.”33 Oregon native Dave Carlson, who would return to Bethel to complete his seminary degree in 1952, spoke for many: “It is our task to be missionaries in the service and I have thanked my training at Bethel many times for being able to answer the taunts of skepticals.”34

Some former students organized formal religious activities and organizations among fellow servicemen. James Nyquist led Sunday evening services on his troop transport and passed out tracts at prayer meetings: “Four men found salvation in Christ, five more rededicated their lives, and we were all enriched spiritually.”35 While studying to be a radio technician at the Naval Air Technical Training Center in Memphis, Willie Wessman (JC ‘42) was thrilled to find himself working alongside the son of a medical missionary to India: “The Lord used both of us in a mighty way. There were about twenty-five there and God was right in our midst. A week later two of the fellows in a neighboring barracks came over and told us that they had dedicated their lives to Christ for full time missionary work.”36

But a moment for evangelism could arise at almost any time. Gordon Johnson (JC ‘43, S ’46), later to serve for many years as dean of Bethel Seminary, recalled witnessing to a fellow sailor:

One day standing in line for a meal a fellow sailor who had been in the Navy for a while sidled up to me and began to talk. He asked if I was a Christian. I said yes. He replied that he thought so because he had seen me pray before meals. I got acquainted with him and discovered that he had no sense of Christian friendship or community in the Navy up to that point. He had become a Christian earlier in life but was about ready to give it up and was floundering. We began attending church together and he discovered the strength of the community of the church. Through the church he met a lovely young Christian woman. They later married. Some years ago I was preaching in a church in another part of the country. At one of the sessions, a dinner meeting, a trio sang. It was this man’s wife and two daughters. Stability had come to him through the community of the church.37

Ben Anderson played flute and sousaphone in Army bands, but resisted “the biggest temptation I’ve had in the army” and pointedly refused to take part in a dance orchestra. As he excitedly wrote to Henry Wingblade, “That was the first time I gave my testimony before a large bunch of boys & men. It sure was a wonderful feeling.”38

No one was more optimistic about the potential of the war as a missions field than Bethel’s president. In late 1944 Wingblade shared with students his experience on a trip to the West Coast:

…I was privileged to show a Filipino student, who was going to a wedding—the way of salvation and to give him a soldier’s testament, which he promised faithfully to read,—with great joy. On another occasion I was privileged to kneel with a great big strapping service man who definitely accepted Christ.

“Everywhere,” Wingblade concluded, “there was enthusiasm for missions—home and foreign.”39

Signe Erickson

Signe Erickson (1898-1943) – American Baptist Foreign Mission Society

It was the latter that was particularly exciting for Wingblade, whose inaugural address celebrated that “Bethel has sent out some eighty-five emissaries to foreign shores with the message of peace and power.”40 One of them, Olivia Johnson (A ‘13), had died of influenza in 1919, while home on furlough from her work in the Philippines. That same country hosted a Baptist missionary from Pennsylvania named Signe Erickson, who studied at Bethel Seminary in 1936 before returning to her work on the island of Panay.

When Japanese forces invaded the Philippines in December 1941, Erickson resolved to “stay with the Filipinos unless their staying would endanger Filipino lives.” One year later she took refuge at Hopevale, a forest camp established by ten other American Baptist missionaries. (One of whom, Louise Cummings Rounds, also appears to have studied at Bethel in the 1930s.) Just before Christmas 1943, Japanese soldiers discovered and executed Erickson and the other missionaries.41

The 1946 issue of the BGC’s illustrated annual — renamed Advance — was dedicated to Signe Erickson, “Our First Martyr.” Editors C. George Ericson and J.O. Backlund admitted that it may “savor of irony” to start an “advance” in memoriam. “Is death, then, an advance?… God can, and we believe He will, use the testimony of the death of Signe, and her eleven colleagues, to the advancement of His cause and kingdom.”42

Indeed, reading her story inspired a nurse named Agnes Erickson (no relation) to come to Bethel to train for the missions field.43 She left for the Philippines in 1948, but unlike Olivia Johnson and Signe Erickson, her mission was under the auspices of the Baptist General Conference, not another Baptist group.

Bethel Missionary Band, 1943

The 1943 Missionary Band at Bethel – Miriam Johanson, one of the students who moved to Bremerton, Washington is seated on the far right, next to former president Hagstrom – Bethel University Digital Library

After the war great missionary opportunities will open, and we must be prepared to hasten to bring the gospel story to all parts of the earth. — Bethel professor A.J. Wingblade (April 1942)44

Never has the field of missionary service in the homeland and the lands beyond the seas been as challenging, nor the doors more inviting to God called and efficiently trained men than in the days that are ahead. — G. Arvid Hagstrom (February 1943)45

“The war became a catalyst for the renewal of American missionary work,” concluded Sittser, “which had experienced a decline in most Protestant denominations between the wars…. Christian leaders believed that the churches had to prepare for a new advance, to launch new programs, to give sacrificially to the cause of church expansion.”46 One version of this response came from the foreign missions agency of the Northern Baptist Conference, the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society (ABFMS), whose leaders looked hopefully into the postwar future:

This could be the perfect moment for the soldiers of the Cross, who, from generation to generation, have dreamed of the day when impenetrable barriers might be leveled, thus bringing the races of mankind into one great family.

Governments that formerly were indifferent or openly opposed to missions now say they must have Christian workers immediately to heal the hates bred by war.47

Before the war, the ABFMS could have counted on the support of what was now the Baptist General Conference, which had contributed about a hundred missionaries to American/Northern Baptist initiatives.48 But at its 1944 annual meeting in St. Paul, delegates from Bethel’s denomination voted to start their own foreign missions board.

The causes of this split — or, for BGC authors, this “Advance” — have been much discussed, but it seems clear that two factors were especially important. First, Swedish and other Baptist conservatives were suspicious of what they saw as creeping theological liberalism among their Northern Baptist cousins. Unsuccessfully, they lobbied the ABFMS to tighten its requirements for missionaries to include affirmation of the trustworthiness of Scripture on matters like the Virgin Birth.

In the end, only a quarter of the 100 Swedish Baptist missionaries serving with the ABFMS left it to join the new BGC enterprise.49 But the new “foreign missions advance” had broad support within the BGC because it represented a striking statement of denominational autonomy. After years of speculation that they would simply blend into the Northern Baptist Conference (now the American Baptist Churches USA) like other ethnic groups, the Swedish Baptists asserted a distinctive identity in the last year of World War II. “Many Conference Baptists felt then (as many still believe),” wrote American Baptist pastors Joy and Elmer Barnhardt in 1987, “that the Conference’s future was at stake.”50

Walfred Danielson, 1933

Walfred Danielson as Bethel dean in 1933 – Bethel University Digital Library

“As a unifying and spiritually strengthening power, creating a wholesome denominational consciousness,” wrote Bethel historian Adolf Olson during the BGC’s centenary in 1952, the value of the Advance “cannot be underestimated.” Indeed, only one other event in the denomination’s history compared, in Olson’s judgment: the beginning of Bethel College and Seminary in 1914.51

Bethel leaders and alumni played prominent, though not unconflicted roles in the BGC’s decision to create its own, independent foreign missions program. The committee that considered that step — and initially recommended a less drastic change — was chaired by former Bethel president Arvid Hagstrom. Its membership included Henry Wingblade’s trusted assistant, H. Wyman Malmsten, and former missionary Walfred Danielson, who had been one of the first students in the history of Bethel Academy and served as the first dean of the junior college.

Soon named the new head of the BGC’s foreign missions board, Danielson spoke in terms that exemplified the optimism and self-confidence of the postwar Advance: “Today the Conference stands united as never before in its history, in faith and courage looking forward to new opportunities and responsibilities at home and abroad.”52 Indeed, the Conference’s ambitious goal of sending out fifty-two missionaries by 1952 — the denomination’s centenary — was reached two years early. Writing an early history fifteen years into the Advance, Robert Sandin acknowledged missteps and overreaching, but concluded that “Although comparatively inexperienced in independent missionary ventures, the Conference missionary leadership has, in general, displayed extraordinary imagination and integrity in moving forward in the Advance.”53

Missions Week at Bethel, 1957, focused on Japan

Mission Week at Bethel College in 1957 featured Japan. The sign on the table reads, “Telling the Untold We are Saved to Save another” – Bethel University Digital Library

What role did the war play in causing or shaping the BGC’s Advance into foreign missions? “A widened missionary vision is also in evidence,” editorialized the denomination’s magazine a few months after the end of the war in Japan. “There is not one of our returned chaplains but that he could testify that the great commission has a stronger hold upon his heart now than it had before he entered the service of his country.”54 The Barnhardts agree that the war helped energize a new generation of more independent-minded Conference Baptists, giving future missionaries like Roy Nelson a kind of ‘short-term mission experience’ far from his home in Seattle.55 And even apart from theological concerns, some Conference Baptists were not sure that the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society had the capacity to expand as quickly as they wanted.

In most places, BGC foreign missions built on earlier Swedish Baptist efforts. Ten years into the advance, for example, Agnes Erickson and eight other BGC missionaries were continuing the work in the Philippines started by women like Olivia Johnson and Signe Erickson. But the war opened a new field in Japan, where the first BGC missionary to arrive (in 1948) was former military chaplain Francis Sorley. BGC historian Robert Sandin explained that “The prestige and power of the army of occupation and the confusion created by the revolutionary disturbances which were seizing Japanese society made most Japanese people warmly receptive to anything American.”56 The head of that occupation effort, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, actively encouraged Christian missionary activity as a way to head off the appeal of Communism.57

Altogether, over 1,500 Western missionaries came to Japan between 1945 and 1953, including many “returning GI’s, who had caught the missionary challenge during their earlier visits to Japan.”58 One of them was the highly-decorated former chaplain Del Kuehl. After finishing at the top of his class at Bethel Seminary, Kuehl and his family spent most of the 1950s in Japan as missionaries. (Not with the BGC, but The Evangelical Alliance Mission; Kuehl later served in the TEAM home office.)

But by the early 1950s, admitted Sandin, “it became apparent that the opportunity presented for Chrisian [sic] missions in Japan was not as great as had been appreciated.” Ten years into the Advance, the BGC had fifteen missionaries serving in five stations in Japan, but that year Danielson’s assistant, fellow Bethel alum Al Bergfalk, concluded that “Rather than a spiritual hunger, as was thought at that time, it was an interest in what made their conquerors great.”59

— Chris Gehrz


1 Bethel Bulletin, Jan. 1942.

2 Bethel Bulletin, Nov. 1942.

3 Letter from Rodney Kephart, Oct. 18, 1945, G. Arvid Hagstrom Papers, “Correspondence 3: Correspondence with Military Personnel, WWII” box, Folder 24, The History Center: Archives of the Baptist General Conference and Bethel University (hereafter HC). Kephart’s story was also told in Barbara Wright Carlson, “War and Miracles: The Story of Capture, Survival and Witness,” Bethel Focus, Spring 1998.

4 The full poem (“Your Friend and Mine”) is reprinted in Rodney Kephart, Wake, War and Waiting (New York: Exposition Press, 1950), pp. 11-12.

5 The Bethel Clarion, Sept. 23, 1941.

6 Kephart, Wake, War and Waiting, p. 14.

7 Letter, Emery Johnson to Arthur Anderson, Oct. 3, 1944, Hagstrom Papers, “Correspondence 3: Correspondence with Military Personnel, WWII” box, Folder 1, HC.

8 Alexander Blackburn, “What Makes a Nation Great?”, reprinted in The [BGC] Standard, Oct. 4, 1941.

9 The Standard, Jan. 10, 1942.

10 Henry Conrad Wingblade, “Bethel in the World of Tomorrow,” undated [Feb. 26, 1943], Henry Wingblade Biographical File, HC.

11 H.E. Dana, “The New Challenge to Christian Education,” undated [Feb. 26, 1943], reprinted in Bethel Bulletin, July-August 1943.

12 The Bethel Clarion, Nov. 17, 1943.

13 Letter, Carl J. Bergstrom to Henry Wingblade, undated [Sept 1945], Hagstrom Papers, “Correspondence 3: Correspondence with Military Personnel, WWII” box, Folder 3, HC.

14 Quoted in Max Hastings, Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945 (New York: Vintage Books, 2011), pp. 340-41.

15 Peter Schrijvers, The Crash of Ruin: American Combat Soldiers in Europe during World War II (New York: New York University Press, 1998). The title is cribbed from a poem by William Wordsworth.

16 The Bethel Clarion, Nov. 25, 1942.

17 Gerald L. Sittser, A Cautious Patriotism: The American Churches and the Second World War (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1997), p. 83.

18 On the dispensationalist response to WWII, see ibid., pp. 88-92.

19 Ibid., p. 119.

20 Dana, “The New Challenge to Christian Education.”

21 C. Emmanuel Carlson, “If Peace Comes In 1945,” Ebenezer, 1945, pp. 12-14.

22 Letter, Emery Johnson to Norman B. Copeland, Nov. 6, 1944, “Correspondence 3: Correspondence with Military Personnel, WWII” box, Folder 8, HC.

23 The Standard, Apr. 12, 1946.

24 Quoted in Schrijvers, The Crash of Ruin, p. 247.

25 Quoted in The Standard, Mar. 28, 1942.

26 Adolf Olson, A Centenary History, As Related to the Baptist General Conference of America (Chicago: Baptist Conference Press, 1952), p. 528.

27 G. Arvid Hagstrom, “A Look Ahead,” The Acorn, May 1915, p. 9.

28 Letter, Carl J. Ackerman to A.J. Wingblade, Dec. 9, 1919, A.J. Wingblade Papers, “Principal Academy – A.J. Wingblade – Misc. 1916-1931,” HC.

29 Norris A. Magnuson, Missionsskolan: The History of an Immigrant Theological School (St. Paul, MN: Bethel Theological Seminary, 1982), pp. 66-69.

30 The Bethel Clarion, Dec. 16, 1942.

31 The Bethel Clarion, Jan. 19, 1944.

32 The Bethel Clarion, May 1, 1944.

33 Letter, John Breitholtz to Henry Wingblade, Aug. 19, 1945, Hagstrom Papers, “Correspondence 3: Correspondence with Military Personnel, WWII” box, Folder 5, HC.

34 Letter from David H. Carlson, Hagstrom Papers, “Correspondence 3: Correspondence with Military Personnel, WWII” box, Folder 7, HC.

35 [BGC] Advance, 1946, p. 42.

36 The Bethel Clarion, May 2, 1945.

37 Gordon Johnson, My Church, rev. ed. (Arlington Heights, IL: Harvest, 1994), p. 105.

38 Letter, Benhard Anderson to Henry Wingblade, May 18, 1944, Henry Wingblade Papers, Box 2, Folder 61b, HC.

39 The Bethel Clarion, Nov. 22, 1944.

40 Wingblade, “Bethel in the World of Tomorrow.”

41 The story of the Hopevale Martyrs has been told in numerous places, including the September/October 1945 issue of the Bethel Bulletin, Jesse R. Wilson, Through Shining Archway (New York: American Baptist Foreign Mission Society, 1945), and Scott Walker, The Edge of Terror: The Heroic Story of American Families Trapped in the Japanese-occupied Philippines (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2009), ch. 11.

42 Advance, 1946, p. 5.

43 Letter from Agnes Erickson, Oct. 9, 1945, Hagstrom Papers, “Correspondence 3: Correspondence with Military Personnel, WWII” box, Folder 12, HC. In his reply, Henry Wingblade shared the story of Olivia Johnson, concluding, “Well, the Lord has a way of glorifying Himself through the martyr saints”; Letter, Henry Wingblade to Agnes Erickson, undated [Oct. 1945], same file.

44 The Standard, May 23, 1942.

45 Hagstrom’s charge to Henry Wingblade, undated [Feb. 26, 1943], Henry Wingblade Biographical File, HC.

46 Sittser, A Cautious Patriotism, pp. 204, 205.

47 Annual Report of the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society, 1946 (New York: ABFMS, 1946), p. 12.

48 Norris A. Magnuson, How We Grew: Highlights of the First Hundred Years of Baptist General Conference History (Arlington Heights, IL: Baptist General Conference, 1984).

49 Joy A. Barnhardt and Luther E. Barnhardt III, “The Baptist General Conference Foreign Mission Advance: An Investigation into the Causes of its Emergence,” American Baptist Quarterly 6 (Sept. 1987): p. 182.

50 Ibid., p. 186.

51 Olson, A Centenary History, p. 539.

52 Walfred Danielson, “The Foreign Missionary Advance,” Advance, 1946, p. 88.

53 Robert T. Sandin, “The Foreign Mission Advance,” in Fifteen Eventful Years: A Survey of the Baptist General Conference, 1945-1960, eds. David Guston and Martin Erikson (Chicago: Harvest, 1961), p. 74.

54 The Standard, Jan. 11, 1946.

55 Barnhardt and Barnhardt, “The Baptist General Conference Foreign Mission Advance,” p. 189.

56 Sandin, “The Foreign Mission Advance,” p. 101. On the Japanese response to an occupation that Gen. Douglas MacArthur clearly saw in terms of “Christian mission,” see John W. Dower, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (New York: W.W. Norton, 1999).

57 The Christian Century, June 28, 2011, p. 15.

58 Sandin, “The Foreign Mission Advance,” p. 101.

59 Ibid., p. 102.

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