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Miner Searle Bates

1897 ~ 1978

Bates was born in Newark, Ohio, the son of a Disciples of Christ minister and college president. He graduated from Hiram College, Ohio, and received both A.B. and MA degrees as a Rhodes Scholar at University of Oxford; in 1935 he received the Ph.D. in Chinese history from Yale University. He served in India and Mesopotamia with the YMCA in 1917-1918. For a span of 30 years (1920-1950), he taught history as a missionary of the United Christian Missionary Society (Disciples of Christ) at the University of Nanking (Nanjing), China, an institution formed in 1910 by the merger of three colleges sponsored by American Protestant missions.

In addition to teaching, Bates was active in numerous ecumenical enterprises. He was a member of the China delegation to the Madras meeting of the International Missionary Council (IMC) in 1938, and subsequently served as Far Eastern consultant and, from 1941 to 1945, as coordinator of wartime emergency services in China for the IMC. He served with the Fellowship of Reconciliation in wartime contacts with Japan. He served on the Council of Higher Education of China, the Nanking International Relief Committee, and the executive committee of National Christian Council in China. He served as investigator of opium trade in Japanese-occupied China. His Religious Liberty: An inquiry (1945) was published in seven languages.

From 1950 to 1965, Bates was professor of missions at Union Theological Seminary, New York; he was a trustee of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, and a member of the China Program Committee of the National Council of Churches in the U.S.A. After his retirement from teaching until his death, he worked tirelessly on a massive research project focused on the history of the Protestant effort in twentieth-century China.

About the Author

By Donald E. MacInnis

Formerly Director of the China Program, National Council of Churches in the USA, Coordinator for China Research of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, Maryknoll, New York, USA

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