Mission Crossroads

SUM 2017

Mission Crossroads is a three-time-a-year magazine focused on worldwide work of the PC(USA). It offers news and feature stories about mission personnel, international partners and grassroots Presbyterians involved in God's mission in the world.

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2 Summer 2017 origin of the current Presbyterian World Mission, a ministry of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Over the years World Mission has operated under different names, and at various times it served as the mission organization of the Northern, Southern and United (middle states) branches of the Presbyterian Church. Today it serves the nationwide Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Much of the impetus for mission in the 19th and early 20th centuries was the desire to fulfill the Great Commission that Jesus issued before his ascension: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19). is approach achieved its clearest expression in 1886 with the famous watchword of the Student I n this year in which we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, we also mark 180 years of Presbyterian mission abroad. During these years, much of the nature of mission and of how Presbyterians think about mission has changed or, at the very least, been supplemented or clarified by new ideas. Some changes have been so great and startling that we might even imagine a 180-degree turn in missiology. It is curious that the Protestant reformers of the 16th century, such as Martin Luther and John Calvin, did not emphasize mission. Despite having a missional Bible and a missional God, they did not develop a missional theology. To be fair, they were deeply engaged in other matters: translating the Bible into vernacular languages, reforming Christian doctrine and reforming church practices. In effect, they had a mission in Europe. It was during the Great Awakening of the 18th century, led by George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards, that Protestant leaders in America first began to dream of world evangelization. In the 1740s, David Brainerd became the first American Presbyterian missionary. He labored for five years among the Native Americans of New York before succumbing to tuberculosis. Edwards edited and published Brainerd's journal, which inspired generations of missionaries. One of those inspired was William Carey, a British Baptist who in 1793 successfully urged the establishment of the first Protestant mission society. Mission societies became the Protestant equivalent of the mission orders of the Catholic Church, such as the Franciscans, Dominicans and Jesuits. Scores of new societies were established in Europe and America during the early decades of the 19th century. e first mission society in the U.S. was the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, an interdenominational organization that was largely the creation of the Congregationalists. Under the American Board, Presbyterian missionaries were sent to India, Siam and Africa. Many Presbyterians, however, were not comfortable with this arrangement. ey believed that mission should be at the heart of the church's activities, not something outsourced to parachurch organizations. For Presbyterians, the issue was caught up in the New School- Old School controversy of the 1830s. Consequently, when the church split in 1837, the Old School faction established the Board of Foreign Missions, with headquarters in New York. is is the Mission 180 Michael Parker The first Presbyterian seminary in Egypt opened on a sailboat, the Ibis, because missionaries were not allowed to establish teaching institutions on Egyptian soil. In the morning students studied Scripture, and in the afternoon they demonstrated their learning through service. The boat made stops along the Nile River to distribute Bibles, songbooks and teaching materials. Presbyterian Historical Society

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