Thursday, February 12, 2015
I am pleased to announce the publication of my new book: The Presbyterian Mission Enterprise: From Heathen to Partner. My book is now available for purchase at wipfandstock.com.
American Presbyterians have a remarkable heritage of foreign mission work. While today the mission and ministry of the Presbyterian Church and all of mainline Protestantism is in a time of reformation and deep change, it is vital to remember this heritage of world mission. The Presbyterian Mission Enterprise tells this story by highlighting significant mission leaders through the ages. Our story includes Francis Makemie, a colonial-era missionary pastor and church planter who gathered with colleagues to form the first Presbytery in 1706. Tough, old-school Presbyterians like Ashbel Green insisted on a distinctive Presbyterian mission effort, and Presbyterians were among those who heard the call exemplified by William Carey to take the gospel to the whole world. This vision beckoned Walter Lowrie into leadership, and Presbyterians joined the great missionary movement. Robert Speer was a driving force behind this growing movement, negotiating a moderate path through bitter conflicts. After the traumas of World War II, John Coventry Smith worked to reconfigure and redirect the mission enterprise. Now, in an era marked by fragmentation and realignment, leaders like Clifton Kirkpatrick and Hunter Farrell work to continue the Presbyterian mission enterprise as a vital piece of the way forward. Our heritage guides our future.