From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions

From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions

by Ruth A. Tucker

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From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions by Ruth A. Tucker

This is history at its best. From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya is readable, informative, gripping, and above all honest. From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya helps readers understand the life and role of a missionary through real life examples of missionaries throughout history. We see these men and women as fallible and human in their failures as well as their successes. These great leaders of missions are presented as real people, and not super-saints. This second edition covers all 2,000 years of mission history with a special emphasis on the modern era, including chapters focused on the Muslim world, Third World missions, and a comparison of missions in Korea and Japan. It also contains both a general and an “illustration” index where readers can easily locate particular missionaries, stories, or incidents. New design graphics, photographs, and maps help make this a compelling book. From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya is as informative and intriguing as it is inspiring—an invaluable resource for missionaries, mission agencies, students, and all who are concerned about the spreading of the gospel throughout the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310830627
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication date: 01/04/2011
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 528
File size: 10 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Ruth A. Tucker (PhD, Northern Illinois University) has taught mission studies and church history at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Calvin Theological Seminary. She is the author of dozens of articles and eighteen books, including the award-winning From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya. Visit her website at

Read an Excerpt

From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya

A Biographical History of Christian Mission
By Ruth A. Tucker


Copyright © 2004 Ruth A. Tucker
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-310-23937-0

Chapter One

The urgency of the Great Commission that Jesus gave to his disciples was probably not well understood by many New Testament believers, nor was it even the primary impetus for the rapid church growth during the early centuries. Persecution scattered believers throughout the Mediterranean world and Christianity quickly took root, at first mainly where Gentile seekers had gotten a head start in synagogues. By the end of the first century the church was beginning to move into Europe, Africa, and Asia. "Had the church been wiped off the face of the earth at the end of the first century," writes Ramsay MacMullen, "its disappearance would have caused no dislocation in the empire, just as its presence was hardly noticed at the time.... Three centuries later it had successfully displaced or suppressed the other religions of the empire's population."

While evangelism and church planting took priority in the New Testament church, theological issues soon came to the fore in the era of Emperor Constantine, and Christian leaders found themselves consumed not only with heretical influences from without, but also with doctrinal controversies from within. Theologians hammered out creeds, and church councils argued about everything from the deity of Christ to the date of Easter. In the process, the New Testament missionary fervor declined. Missionary outreach would continue in the centuries following Constantine largely through monastic ministries-some more polite and proper than others. For example, one of the most celebrated evangelists of the fifth century was the peculiar saint known as Symeon Stylites. He made his home high on a pillar near Antioch, where he stood "day after broiling day ... drawing to him by his great repute the most various visitors from the most distant places." Bishop Theodoret, who spent time in a small enclosure at the base of Symeon's pillar, wrote about the evangelistic appeal that radiated from this remote outpost: [Even the bedouins] in many thousands, enslaved to the darkness of impiety, were enlightened by the station upon the pillar.... They arrived in companies, 200 in one, 300 in another, occasionally a thousand. They renounced with their shouts their traditional errors; they broke up their venerated idols in the presence of that great light; and they forswore the ecstatic rites of Aphrodite, the demon whose service they had long accepted. They enjoyed divine religious initiation and received their law instead spoken by that holy tongue [of Symeon].... And I myself was witness to these things and heard them, as they renounced ancestral impiety and submitted to evangelic instruction.

With the invasion of the barbarians and the subsequent fall of the Roman Empire, Western Europe was in chaos, and it required the talent and ability of a man like Gregory the Great, bishop of Rome (590-604), to stabilize the church and revitalize its missionary activity. He saw the necessity of political alliances, and he established a pattern of church-state cooperation that continued for centuries-convinced that the church could not maintain its presence among hostile peoples without the military support of temporal rulers.

Charlemagne (742-814), the great king of the Franks, ranks above all other kings as a military supporter of Christianity. No other ruler before or after gave as much attention to the copying and transmission of the Bible. Charlemagne brought nominal Christianity to vast portions of Europe and was the prime mover in the Carolingian Renaissance that fostered learning and a wide variety of Christian activity.

But while the Christian movement seemed to be making headway with the barbarians in middle Europe, it was rapidly losing ground to the mighty force of Islam as that religion spread out from east to west through Palestine, across Africa, and on into Spain. The Muslims were stopped by military might at the Battle of Tours in 732, and during this period force was seen by most leaders as the only viable response to this all-encompassing threat. The Crusades (1095-1291), described by Ralph Winter as "the most massive, tragic misconstrual of Christian mission in all history," were launched to reclaim lost territories. They eventually failed in that effort, while at the same time diverting vast resources of Christendom from any true missionary endeavor.

This is not to suggest that there were no sincere missionary enterprises during the Middle Ages. Celtic and Arian missionaries conducted noteworthy evangelistic ventures, bringing vast numbers of barbarians into the church. In many cases, the Roman Catholic monks actively evangelized the barbarians. The Benedictines were particularly influential through their founding of mission compounds in remote areas; but gradual accumulation of wealth eventually brought about their decline, diverting the monks' attention from spiritual matters and making their monasteries prime targets for Viking raids.

The attacks of the Goths, the Visigoths, and the Vandals that brought down the Roman Empire were almost mild in comparison to the later raids by the Vikings. These seafaring warriors "were the scourge of England and the continent," according to Herbert Kane. "So devastating were their raids on the monasteries and churches that for a time they threatened to terminate the missionary outreach of the English Church." The "Irish volcano which had poured forth a passionate fire of evangelism for three centuries," writes Winter, "cooled almost to extinction." The destruction of the monasteries, though, did not erase the gospel witness. "The phenomenal power of Christianity," as Winter points out, could not be destroyed: "The conquerors became conquered by the faith of the captives. Usually it was the monks sold as slaves or the Christian girls forced to be their wives and mistresses which eventually won these savages of the north." Nevertheless, the Viking attacks were a devastating blow to the stability of both the Celtic and Roman traditions in the British Isles and in central Europe.

The destruction of biblical manuscripts along with monasteries and churches had a negative effect on missions, but there were other factors that were no doubt an even greater deterrent to evangelism during the Middle Ages. Church leadership during much of the medieval period was in a sad state of affairs. The power of the papacy had long invited abuses, and in the tenth century the decadence representing that office had reached an all-time low. Some of the popes were among the worst scoundrels in society. Pope Stephen IV (d. 772) brought his deceased predecessor to trial (propping his corpse up in a chair to face the synod), and he himself was thrown in prison, where, after serving less than a year, he was murdered at the orders of an opponent. Other popes openly committed immoral and criminal acts while in office. The Great Schism of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries that resulted in two popes, and for a time three, did nothing to improve the image of the office or spirituality of the church leadership.

But if this politicized form of Christianity was too preoccupied with other matters to be concerned about missions, so was the academic tradition. The speculative and philosophically-oriented theology of the Middle Ages known as Scholasticism occupied the best minds of the church. Education turned away from practical pursuits and instead was concentrated on reconciling dogma with reason. "With intrepid confidence," writes Philip Schaff, "these busy thinkers ventured upon the loftiest speculations, raised and answered all sorts of doubts and ran every accepted dogma through a fiery ordeal to show its invulnerable nature. They were knights of theology.... Philosophy ... was their handmaid" and "dialectics their sword and lance."

On the positive side, there were many movements that sought to purify the church. A number of efforts were aimed at reforming the papacy, some more successful than others, and there were significant monastic reforms-ones that usually resulted in a greater evangelistic outreach. The Cluniac reform that began in 910 at the monastery of Cluny in central France was the beginning of a spiritual renewal in monasticism. It was followed by the inspirational ministry of Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) and the founding of the Cistercians that brought an even greater resurgence of evangelistic activity in Europe. The greatest mission development in Roman Catholic religious orders, however, came with the rise of the friars-the preaching monks who in the late medieval period stimulated mission outreach. The Franciscans (founded 1209) and Dominicans (founded 1216) and later the Jesuits (founded 1534) planted churches and monasteries in Europe and all over the world.

For many Christians these reform efforts were not carried far enough, and throughout the Middle Ages there were movements to purify the body of Christ that were in direct opposition to the Roman Catholic Church. The Waldensians are a prime example. Though they were branded as heretics, they sought to reflect New Testament Christianity more closely than did most Roman Catholics. They emphasized evangelism, Bible study, and personal commitment to Christ, and from the twelfth through the fifteenth centuries they made their presence known in central and eastern Europe. Beginning in the fourteenth century, the followers of Wycliffe and Hus instituted similar reforms, paving the way for the Protestant Reformation.

The sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation stirred hearts and shook the very foundations of Christendom but contributed little to evangelism outside areas that were already deemed Christian. This spiritual renewal in Europe brought a meaningful faith to large segments of the population, but the urgency to reach out to others was not seen as a top priority. Protestants were consumed in fighting for their own survival (and among themselves), and in some cases the Great Commission was all but forgotten.

The Protestant Reformation, as with all other reform movements through-out church history, had difficulty maintaining its spiritual vitality. The enthusiasm generated by Luther, Calvin, Melanchthon, and Zwingli soon began to wane and many Protestant churches became appendages of the state. But as had been the case in centuries past, no matter how low the established church sank there were always those who sought a deeper spiritual meaning in life. The Anabaptist movement that spawned the Brethren and Mennonite churches reached out in evangelistic zeal, and during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries evangelical revivals furthered the mission advance. Pietism on the continent and the evangelical movements in Britain and America led to a revitalization of Christianity from which a passion for missions arose. Pietists and their Moravian successors fanned out all over the world, and Christians in Britain and America were moved to action by a spiritual concern for the native American Indians. The dawning of the modern missionary movement had begun, but only after generations of uncertainty.


Excerpted from From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya by Ruth A. Tucker Copyright © 2004 by Ruth A. Tucker . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents

Contents List of Graphics 9 Preface to the Second Edition 11 Preface 13 Part 1: The Irresistible Advance 1 The Early Centuries: Evangelizing the Roman Empire 21 Paul the Apostle 26 Polycarp 30 Perpetua 32 Ulfilas 34 Patrick 37 Columba 40 2 Roman Catholic Missions: Baptizing the Masses 44 Boniface (Winfried) 47 Anskar 51 Cyril and Methodius 53 Raymond Lull 56 Bartholomew de Las Casas 60 Francis Xavier 62 Matthew Ricci 67 3 American Indian Missions: Seeking the “Noble Savage” 71 Paul Le Jeune 72 John Eliot 74 The Mayhews 79 David Brainerd 80 Eleazer Wheelock 84 David Zeisberger 85 Isaac McCoy 86 Marcus and Narcissa Whitman 88 4 The Moravian Advance: Dawn of Protestant Missions 97 Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf 100 Christian David and Hans Egede 104 George Schmidt 110 Part 2: The “Great Century” 5 South Central Asia: Confronting Ancient Creeds 121 William Carey 122 Adoniram and Ann Judson 130 George and Sarah Boardman 139 Alexander Duff 141 James and Isabella Thoburn 144 6 Black Africa: “The White Man’s Graveyard” 147 Robert and Mary Moffat 149 David Livingstone 155 George Grenfell 163 William Sheppard 165 Alexander Mackay 167 Mary Slessor 170 7 China: “Barbarians Not Welcome” 176 Robert Morrison 178 Liang Afa 182 Karl F. A. Gutzlaff 184 J. Hudson Taylor 186 Jonathan and Rosalind Goforth 201 Mildred Cable 205 8 The Pacific Islands: Preaching in “Paradise” 208 Henry Nott and the Duff Missionaries 211 Hiram Bingham and Hawaiian Missions 214 John Williams 219 John G. Paton 224 John Coleridge Patteson 228 Florence Young 230 9 The Muslim World: Mission Field in the Desert 233 Henry Martyn 236 Samuel Zwemer 238 Temple Gairdner 242 Constance Padwick 245 Maude Cary 248 10 Korea and Japan: A Contrast in Receptivity 254 Horace Allen 256 Henry Appenzeller 258 Horace and Lillias Horton Underwood 262 John L. Nevius 264 Protestant Mission Initiatives in Japan 268 William Smith Clark and Kanzo Uchimura 269 Charles and Lettie Cowman 272 Mabel Francis 275 Part 3: The Expanding Involvement 11 Single Women Missionaries: “Second-Class Citizens” 287 Adele Marion Fielde 290 Charlotte (Lottie) Diggs Moon 294 Amy Carmichael 298 Johanna Veenstra 303 Gladys Aylward 306 12 Student Volunteers: Forsaking Wealth and Prestige 312 C. T. Studd 314 John R. Mott 319 Robert E. Speer 325 Fletcher Brockman 327 E. Stanley Jones 330 13 “Faith” Missionaries: Depending on God Alone 335 A. B. Simpson and the Christian and Missionary Alliance 336 Fredrik Franson and TEAM 340 Rowland Bingham and the Sudan Interior Mission 341 Peter Cameron Scott and the Africa Inland Mission 346 C. I. Scofield and the Central American Mission 349 Jim Elliot and Operation Auca 352 Eliza Davis George and the Elizabeth Native Interior Mission 360 14 Innovation and Ingenuity: The Call for Specialization 364 Medical Missions: “Angels of Mercy” 366 Ida Scudder 368 Carl Becker 372 William Cameron Townsend and Bible Translation 375 Clarence W. Jones and HCJB 381 Elizabeth “Betty” Greene and Mission Aviation 386 Part 4: The Era of the New Millennium 15 Twentieth-Century Martyrs: “Yankee, Go Home” 399 Betty and John Stam and China Martyrs 402 Paul Carlson and the Congo Martyrs 406 Betty Olsen and the Vietnam Martyrs 410 Chet Bitterman and Latin America Martyrs 414 William Donald McClure 417 16 Third World Missions: Younger Churches Reach Out 420 Pandita Ramabai 423 William Wade Harris 428 Semisi Nau 430 John Sung 432 Elka of the Wai Wai 435 17 New Methods and Strategy: Reaching Tomorrow’s World 439 R. Kenneth Strachan 443 Orlando Costas 447 Donald McGavran 449 Ralph and Roberta Winter 452 Lesslie Newbigin 454 18 Saints and Celebrities: Appealing to the Masses 458 Bob Pierce 460 Bruce Olson 461 Mother Teresa 461 Brother Andrew and Open Doors 464 Helen Roseveare 468 Jackie Pullinger 472 Don Richardson 475 Postscript 479 Notes 483 General Bibliography 513 Illustration Index 515 General Index 519 List of Graphics Pictures and Credits Polycarp (The Bettmann Archive) 31 Bo

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'This book, now better than ever, has no competition. No one has ever so ably, efficiently, and delightfully linked together the key personalities that portray so dynamically the story of the expansion of our faith from a handful of people in Jerusalem to the very ends of the earth. It is a must-read for all serious believers.' -- Ralph D. Winter, President

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From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
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