Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

The Church Mission Society and World Christianity, 1799-1999

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

The Church Mission Society and World Christianity, 1799-1999

Article excerpt

KEVIN WARD AND BRIAN STANLEY, EDS. The Church Mission Society and World Christianity, 1799-1999. Studies in the History of Christian Missions. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 2000. Pp. xviii + 382, illustrations, bibliography of printed sources, index. $45.00.

The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG) relied heavily upon "converted" Puritan pastors to spread Anglicanism in eighteenth-century New England. These SPG missionaries learned quickly that they would have greater success if they adapted their Anglicanism to the colonial frontier environment and the religious tastes of their target audience. In the same way, in their volume of essays entitled The Church Mission Society and World Christianity, 1799-1999, Kevin Ward and Brian Stanley explore the challenges facing the Church Mission Society (CMS) as it carried the Gospel to lands outside of the British Empire. Unlike the SPG, the CMS sought to work outside of the British colonial structure in its evangelization efforts. Paradoxically, CMS's presence was often instrumental in making an area more "British"; the society thus found itself continually overtaken by the march of British colonialism.

The Church Mission Society celebrated its 200th anniversary in 1999. Ward and Stanley offer this set of essays as a bicentennial history of the society. These essays, written by authors from diverse cultural perspectives, capture the multiple voices of the society's past. This book offers interesting case studies of CMS missionary work in Africa, the Middle East, India, New Zealand, and at home in Britain. The strategies and philosophies of major CMS general secretaries are also explored in several essays. At the same time, this volume suffers to a degree from a lack of cohesion that might leave a reader unfamiliar with the society confused. …

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