Title

Four Axes of Mission: Conversion and the Purposes of Mission in Protestant History

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-22-2022

Keywords

misions, church history, imperial history, protestantism

Abstract

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.

Journal Title

Transactions of the Royal Historical Society

Volume

First View

First Page

1

Last Page

21

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1017/S0080440122000020

First Department

Church History

Acknowledgements

FAR Report 2022

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