Four Axes of Mission: Conversion and the Purposes of Mission in Protestant History
misions, church history, imperial history, protestantism
This article offers a framework for historical analysis of the goals of Protestant missionary projects. ‘Conversion’ in Protestantism is not clearly defined, is liable to be falsified and may (in some missionary views) require preparatory work of various kinds before it can be attempted. For these reasons, Protestant missionaries have adopted a variety of intermediate and proxy goals for their work, goals which it is argued can be organised onto four axes: orthodoxy, zeal, civilisation and morality. Together these form a matrix which missionaries, their would-be converts and their sponsors have tried to negotiate. In different historical contexts, missionaries have chosen different combinations of priorities, and have adapted these in the face of experience. The article suggests how various historical missionary projects can be analysed using this matrix and concludes by suggesting some problems and issues in the history of Protestant missions which such analysis can illuminate.
Transactions of the Royal Historical Society
Ryrie, Alec and Trim, David J. B., "Four Axes of Mission: Conversion and the Purposes of Mission in Protestant History" (2022). Faculty Publications. 4362.
FAR Report 2022