|MORAL AND SPIRITUAL RE-ARMAMENT|
Interviewed in 1978, Tournier said that Buchman was the man 'who has had by far the greatest influence upon me of anyone in my life'. In 1932 lie had been a general medical practitioner, an orphan, a very closed man, who found it practically impossible to make personal contact with anyone. Meeting the Oxford Group in Switzerland had eliminated this problem and set him free, along with his wife, to help people spiritually. 'Then in 1937 I went to Oxford, for the only time, to a house-party,' Tournier continued. 'There Frank was interested in our applying our personal experience to our professional life. I had considerable experience of this area, but more like a laboratory experiment – I had started to bring about changes in patients without seeing the consequences for the future of medicine. I got a very clear conviction that God wanted me to devote the rest of my life to showing the effect of spiritual life on the health of people.'
After he returned from Oxford Tournier sent a printed letter to all his patients saying he would no longer function as an ordinary doctor, but would be available to help any person spiritually. 'I lost practically all my patients. Then slowly I built up a completely new clientele, and in 1938 I started to write Médecine de la Personne25 which I dedicated to Buchman.' Tournier felt so strongly about this dedication that he delayed publication in Britain for fifteen years rather than omit it as his publisher wished.
'My own road went differently, but I have always felt myself an integral part of the spiritual revolution Frank brought to the world. When Frank launched Moral Re-Armament I admired his courage in concerning himself with politicians and the prickly matters they have to handle. I think historians will see in him the man who launched a whole spiritual development of humanity rather than the founder of the movement of Moral Re-Armament. I think he was a prophet. I compare him with Wesley and St Francis. In the purely rational West, he restored the value of irrational human relations. Why was he opposed? For the same reason as Jesus and His disciples were opposed.'
Malcolm Muggeridge writes that for a long time he was puzzled by 'the extraordinary hostility which Buchman's Christian evangelism caused' in Britain. 'Yes, he's an American,' he says, 'but then so is Billy Graham, for instance, and I've never heard people denigrating Billy in quite such vicious terms as they did Buchman and MRA.