Nothing but Christ: Rufus Anderson and the Ideology of Protestant Foreign Missions

By Paul William Harris | Go to book overview

7
THE POWERS THAT BE

Rufus Anderson still enjoys a reputation as a leader who sought to make the missionary enterprise less imperialistic than it had been and would be again. His emphasis on preaching the gospel without attempting to reform other societies seems relatively untainted by cultural imperialism. His promotion of efforts to raise up indigenous churches was intended to free converts from a kind of colonial dependence on their American patrons. His educational policy, whatever its other shortcomings, avoided collaboration with Western imperialists by aiming to train natives solely for missionary service and not for economic or political posts. Although there is certainly much truth in all this, it is equally important to understand that the missionary enterprise under Anderson's direction was inextricably tied to the expanding reach of Western political influence during the midnineteenth century.

Anderson was a strong believer in the separation of church and state, and what that meant in the context of antebellum evangelicalism should be briefly examined. Certainly it would have been anomalous if Anderson had not embraced that ideal. The great success of evangelical revivalism and the myriad voluntary associations organized by evangelical Protestants had convinced practically all of them that their religion did not need and was truly better off without state support. 1 Yet the antebellum period was also a great era of reform, often driven by a desire to infuse evangelical Protestant values through the

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Nothing but Christ: Rufus Anderson and the Ideology of Protestant Foreign Missions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Nothing but Christ *
  • 1 - Rufus Anderson and the Historiography of Missions 3
  • 2 - Indian Missions and the Puritan Legacy 10
  • 3 - Self-Denial and Civilization 24
  • 4 - Educational Ends and Means 38
  • 5 - Hard Times 59
  • 6 - The Abolitionist Attack 77
  • 7 - The Powers That Be 96
  • 8 - To Ordain Pastors Over Them 112
  • 9 - The Deputation to India 133
  • 10 - Into History 153
  • Notes 165
  • Index 197
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