North American Foreign Missions, 1810-1914: Theology, Theory, and Policy

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North American Foreign Missions, 1810-1914: Theology, Theory, and Policy. Edited by Wilbert R. Shenk. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004. Pp. xiv, 349. Paperback $45.

This collection of twelve essays, a volume in the series "Studies in the History of Christian Missions," is a product of two consultations held in 1997 and 1998 as part of the North Atlantic Missiology Project. Wilbert Shenk's introduction provides an excellent historical context for the essays and sets out the main themes of the book.

While each chapter treats a specific aspect of nineteenth-century North American Protestant missions, certain topics receive frequent attention. Half of the essays deal with the founding phase of 1810-1865, and the others with the maturing phase of 1865-1914. The earlier set concentrates on how mission agencies, especially the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, shaped the ideology of foreign missions for the future, even in light of its limited experience. The strategic role of Rufus Anderson is highlighted.

The chapters on the period from 1865 to 1914 stress the impact of the high imperial period on the maturing of the foreign missions enterprise. …