-previously published in the November 2019 Light Magazine article
By Rev. Dr. Ed and Janice Hird
What if we told you that in his lifetime, Dr. E. Stanley Jones was the most-widely read spiritual author in the entire world, with 28 books, some selling millions of copies? Born in Clarksville, Maryland, in 1884, Time Magazine called him the world’s greatest missionary. In 1964, Time stated that Jones’ “fame overseas as an evangelist is matched only by Billy Graham.” Many see him as the Billy Graham of India. Billy Graham spent ten minutes in his 1963 Los Angeles Crusade, commending Jones’s missionary work, calling him his “good friend and trusted advisor.” Billy Graham wrote in his final book that Jones “made a profound impact on all those around him because of his extraordinary faith and service to others…His is a worthy testimony of living a meaningful life during the journey to eternal life.”
Jones initiated “round table conferences” at which Christian and non-Christian sat down as equals to share how their spiritual experiences enabled them to live better. Tom Albin said that “everyone was asked to share only their religious experience and specifically ‘how religion was working, what it was doing for us, and how we could find deeper reality.’” Serving in India for over 50 years, Jones was personal friends with Mahatma Gandhi. A top spokesman for the Indian government, when Jones received the Gandhi Peace Prize, called him “the greatest interpreter of Indian affairs in our time.” Who could have imagined that God would use Jones’ book on Gandhi to inspire Martin Luther King Jr to launch the non-violent civil rights movement? King told Jones: “It was your book on Gandhi that gave me my first inkling of nonviolent noncooperation.”
While in England, Gandhi for the first time read the Bible, finding the New Testament compelling, especially the Sermon on the Mount. As Gandhi commented, it ‘went straight to my heart’. Because Gandhi daily read the Sermon on the Mount, Jones said to Gandhi “You know the principles. Do you know the person yet?” Gandhi confessed that he didn’t but was searching.
Early in his missionary service in India, Jones suffered a physical and emotional collapse. Telling the Lord that he was done, he surrendered his ministry to Jesus, and the Lord miraculously restored him. Self-surrender became his theme and song.
There are many United Christian Ashram retreats across Canada and around the world. Many members of our family have been powerfully impacted by the past 47 years of the BC Christian Ashram. The first one was started in India by Dr. E. Stanley Jones in 1930, after spending time at Rabindranath Tagore’s and Mahatma Gandhi’s ashrams. Jones said that only Jesus was good enough to be the leader, the guru of a Christian Ashram. He was very Christ-centered, teaching that the highest thing we can say about God the Father is that he is Christ-like. Inscriptions on the original Christian Ashram walls in Sat Tal, India, said, “Here everybody loves everybody”, “East and West are alternate beats of the same heart”, and “Leave behind all race and class distinctions, all ye that enter here.” Jones commented that in the Christian Ashram, barriers of class and cash disappear completely. A black man shared, “This has been the first week of my life in an unsegregated world. I have lost my resentment against white people.”
Jones was exiled by the British government during World War II because of his stand for racial equality and independence for India. Experiencing reverse-culture shock, Jones spoke out against American racism on NBC radio:
“When I landed on the shores of my native land on September 7th, had I obeyed my impulses I should have taken the first boat back to India … I must confess I came to America with deep questionings and concern. From a distance your civilization seemed superficial and your Christianity inadequate.“
He told a critic: “If I should be kept back from India permanently, God forbid, then I should consider seriously giving the balance of my working days to help the (Afro-Americans) of America to an equal status in our democracy and to their fullest development as a people. For the color question has become a world question.” This time of exile also enabled him to transplant the Christian Ashram movement to Canada and the United States. For many years, Stanley Jones spent six months in North America conducting city-wide missions and Christian Ashrams, and the other six months overseas.
Because of his global impact, Jones the peacemaker was invited to periodically meet with Presidents Roosevelt and Eisenhower, General Douglas MacArthur, John Foster Dulles, and Japanese Emperor Hirohito. Jones saw everything through the eyes of the Kingdom, seeing inequality and racism as violation of Kingdom principles. He called the caste system “India’s curse”, similarly rejecting the curse of racism in his own American homeland. In a 1947 article “India’s Caste System and Ours,” Jones commented. “The caste systems of India and America are fundamentally alike – they are both founded on blood.” For Jones, the sin of racism had set back the cause of missions and democracy, saying
“There are no local or national problems any longer. Our treatment of the (Afro-American) is a part of a world racial problem and should be treated as such … You and I know that the central problem of Missions in the East is the white man’s domination. It haunts every gathering, public and private, we have in the East.”
He was one of the first in the States to have desegregated meetings, causing some people to gossip about Jones as a communist agitator. Jones also served on the Advisory Committee for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), which organized the Freedom Rides of the early 1960’s. Reader’s Digest published an article entitled “Methodism’s Pink Fringe” (February 1950), portraying Jones as a Communist sympathizer, or worse. Jones responded ironically “Breathes there a man with soul so dead, who never has been called a Red?” Because of his connection with Gandhi, Edgar Hoover had a 117-page FBI file on Jones. Since he led so many communists to Christ, the communist leaders were not very happy about him either. Jones replied, “You say, ‘He tends dangerous towards social equality between the races.’ If this be a crime, then so be it. It is a treason against democracy and against the Christian faith to advocate inequality of treatment between the races.” If the local laws required that blacks sit in the balcony, Jones instructed groups of whites on the main floor to move to the balcony themselves when the service began. Dr. Bob Tuttle commented “Stanley had the pulse of the world. Who was more global at the time! He was the true renaissance man.” E Stanley Jones was truly a global firestarter for Jesus’ Kingdom.
Rev. Dr. Ed and Janice Hird
Co-authors of the new Blue Sky novel
 The Thirteenth Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies WESLEYAN COMMUNITIES AND THE WORLD BEYOND CHRISTIANITY 12 to 19 August 2013 Working Group 4, “Practical Theology, Worship, and Spirituality” The Spiritual Vision and Mission of E. Stanley Jones, Evangelist Rev. Tom Albin, Dean of The Upper Room Ministries and Ecumenical Relations, “By the end of his life, he had published twenty-eight books, two of which sold over one million copies.”, p. 1. https://oimts.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/2013-4-albin.pdf (accessed October 12th 2019)
 Time, Dec. 12, 1938, p. 47.; Albin, p. 1 “It is widely agreed that E. Stanley Jones was one of the greatest Methodist missionaries to India, North America, and indeed to the world.”; E. Stanley Jones: Missionary Extraordinary and Founder of United Christian Ashrams http://www.christianashram.org/e-stanley-jones.html.; Richard W Taylor “The Legacy of E. Stanley Jones”
 Albin, p. 1 “In their 1964 Times edition, they stated that Jones’ only peer in international Christian ministry was the Rev. Billy Graham.” http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,875673,00.html (accessed October 12th 2019).; “Stephen Neill “…12, 1964): 216.
5. Stephen Neill, Salvation Tomorrow (Nashville: Abingdon, 1976), p. 26. “…in his great days Jones was probably (second to C. F. Andrews alone) the best-known western Christian in the whole of India.”
 Thomas John Philip Nalloor https://www.dubaimarthomaparish.org/links/e-lib/E.Stanley%20Jones.pdf (accessed October 12th 2019).; Samuel Matthew, “E. Stanley Jones and His Interfaith Exercise: The Early Years”, Fuller Studio, “He (Jones) was a highly skilled orator, known to easily draw an audience of four to five hundred educated Hindus and Muslims in any city that he visited.” https://fullerstudio.fuller.edu/e-stanley-jones-and-his-interfaith-exercise/ (accessed Oct 13th 2019).
 undated, unattributed biographical sketch of Jones, Box 1, Folder 3; Box 5, Folders 5 and 6, ATSSC; Swartz, p. 1132, https://bit.ly/2otLcjF (accessed October 13th 2019).
E. Stanley Jones, “Higher Synthesis?” The Christian Century, August 14th 1957, p. 970. “After talking personally with Billy Graham, I became convinced that he is more or less consciously one of the meeting places of this movement toward synthesis. And therefore this movement is to be welcomed. It is a movement of the Spirit.”
 Albin, p. 6-7 “Jones describes the first round table conference as an accidental creation. After a public lecture and
question and answer session sometime in 1923, a Hindu chairperson of a public lecture asked if they could schedule a more private session with a small group of the city’s “leading figures.” The chairperson suggested a tea party for a smaller group of people, which would allow for a more personal conversation than even a question and answer session afforded. Jones agreed and by 1925 these smaller gatherings became integral to his ministry and a
regular part of his public lectureships.”
 Albin, p. 7.; Matthews, “Their discussions revolved around what religion brought in terms of light, of inward peace and harmony, of redemption from sin and from the power of this world, of God and what they are verifying as true in experience.”
 E. Stanley Jones, Asbury College Archives
 The Christian Century 81 (Feb. 12, 1964), p. 216.; Albin, p. 1 “In 1962, (Jones) was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and in 1963 Dr. Jones received the Gandhi Peace Prize.”
 Albin, p. 2 “…Jones suffered a ruptured appendix that proved to be inoperable. The pain of his illness was compounded to the expanding responsibilities; Stanley was assigned one district with more than one million people, the another and another until he was responsible for four districts and the Methodist Publishing House in Lucknow. The stress and the physical illness was too much: ‘As a consequence, at the end of eight and a half years I was ordered to go to America on furlough….I was at the back of the church kneeling in prayer, not for myself but for others, when God said to me: ‘Are you yourself ready for the work to which I have called you?’ My reply: ‘No, Lord, I’m done for. I’ve reached the end of my resources and I can’t go on.’ ‘If you’ll turn that problem over to me and not worry about it, I’ll take care of it.’ My eager reply: ‘Lord, I close the bargain right here.’ I arose from me knees knowing I was a well man.” https://goodnewsmag.org/2019/05/brother-e-stanley-jones/
 Tom Albin, “Brother E. Stanley Jones”, Good News, May 16th 2019, “That exchange is marked by a plaque on the Lucknow church wall, it reads: “Near this spot Stanley Jones knelt a physically broken man and arose a physically well man” (p. 79).”
 E. Stanley Jones, Mahatma Gandhi: An Interpretation (Lucknow: Lucknow Publishing House, 1948; reprinted 1963), p. 36.; E. Stanley Jones, “My Stay at Santineketan,” Indian Witness, Sept. 5, 1923, pp. 612f.; Jones circular letter, October 1st 1926, Box 10, Folder 6, ATSSC, After meeting Gandhi at the Sabarmati Ashram, Jones commented to his American supporters “The spirit of the ashram is so beautiful and so self-sacrificial, Gandhi combines strength and humility, unselfishness and service.” https://bit.ly/2otLcjF (accessed October 13th 2019).
 Swartz, “Christ of the American Road: E. Stanley Jones, India, and Civil Rights”, Access Volume 51, Special Issue 4 (Exploring the Global History of American Evangelicalism), November 2017 , p. 1124, There was at the Sat Tal Ashram in India “…a large painting of Christ with an inscription that read, “Christ is the Guru of this Ashram.” https://bit.ly/2otLcjF (accessed October 13th 2019)
 William E. Berg, “My Spiritual Journey with Brother Stanley,” in “600 Faculty/Staff: E. Stanley Jones Biographical,” AU Archives https://bit.ly/2otLcjF (accessed Oct 13th 2019).
 Swartz, NBC radio broadcast, Feb. 17th of an unknown year, Box 33, Folder 21, ATSSC. ‘For India’ https://bit.ly/2otLcjF (accessed Oct 13th 2019).
 Swartz, p. 1125, https://bit.ly/2otLcjF (accessed October 13th 2019).
 Albin, p. 1. “His work as a liaison between Roosevelt and Japanese diplomats in October and November of 1941 is seen by some as almost avoiding (if only postponing) the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.”
 Swartz, p. 1126, https://bit.ly/2otLcjF (accessed October 13th 2019).
 Jones to Jesse Arnup, Jan. 20th 1944, Box 4, Folder 1, ATSSC.; Swartz, p. 1134, https://bit.ly/2otLcjF (accessed Oct 13th 2019).
 James Farmer to John F. Kennedy, April 26th 1961, in Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project, https://bit.ly/2otLcjF (accessed October 13th 2019).
 Howard A. Snyder, “Profiles: E. Stanley Jones: Mission / Evangelism” https://www.catalystresources.org/e-stanley-jones/ (accessed Oct 13th 2019)
 Albin, p. 2 “His visits to Russia and his public reflections on communism brought unwanted attention from the FBI.”
 Swartz, p. 1121, “In front of an audience of thirty thousand people on the southern tip of the subcontinent, Jones desperately sought to sway Indians away from Communism. In the midst of many Communist leaders and a tense atmosphere, Jones reported success. Many “found Christ as their personal Savior.” https://bit.ly/2otLcjF (accessed Oct 13th 2019)
 Swartz, p. 1128.