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Encountering the History of Missions

From the Early Church to Today

series: Encountering Mission

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This new addition to a highly acclaimed series portrays the sweep of missions history, revealing how God has fulfilled his promise to bless all the nations. Two leading missionary scholars and experienced professors help readers understand how missions began, how missions developed, and where missions is going. The authors cover all of missions history and provide practical application of history's lessons. Maps, tables, box inserts, sidebars, and discussion questions add to the book's usefulness in the classroom.

1. Missions in the Early Church
2. Encountering Church of the East Missions
3. Encountering Celtic Missions
4. Encountering Orthodox Missions
5. Encountering Dominican and Franciscan Missions
6. Encountering Medieval Renewal Missions
7. Encountering Reformation Missions
8. Encountering Jesuit Missions
9. Encountering Pietist Missions
10. Encountering Moravian Missions
11. Encountering Methodist Missions
12. The Great Century of Protestant Missions, Part I
13. The Great Century, Part II
14. The Twentieth Century
15. Missionary Councils and Congresses
16. Specialized Missions
17. The Church Growth Movement
18. In Retrospect and Prospect
Reference List


"If a friend calls to ask directions to your home, you reply, Where are you? You must know your friend's location in order to provide clear directions. The same holds true for missions. To understand where to go from here, one must understand where we are and how we got here. This new book on the history of missions provides its readers with this essential information. Mark Terry and Rob Gallagher, two veteran missionaries and professors of missions, provide their readers with an edifying survey of the history of missions. I can enthusiastically recommend this book to professors, students, pastors, missionaries, and missions administrators. All will benefit from its scope and insights."

Ed Stetzer, Billy Graham Distinguished Chair, Wheaton College

"What is my story? Between the beginning in Eden and the great party around the throne stretches a long, tumultuous story line. This book takes up where the Bible leaves off. The focus is mission, loving our neighbors in word and deed. Whether Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox, whether Gothic or Chinese or European, the narratives are straightforward and easy to understand. Dates and documents are sufficient for credibility. Anecdotes and original poems and hymns spice the accounts. While some names will sound familiar, this book connects them in context, providing a momentum so that one story flows into the next until it is hard to put the book down. Not many general history books can claim that distinction."

Miriam Adeney, associate professor of world Christian studies, Seattle Pacific University; author of Kingdom without Borders: The Untold Story of Global Christianity

"Church history is the history of Christian missions. Yet that history remains buried treasure for far too many Christians. This carefully crafted book excavates the rich legacy of those who have contributed to the expansion of a local renewal movement within Israel into a global worshiping community. Far from a dry recitation of dates and places, Terry and Gallagher have given us compelling narratives of the lives of missionaries from every generation and continent. Their lives tell the stories of faith, suffering, redemption, and sacrifice that the church today so desperately needs to hear."

Mark Young, president, Denver Seminary

"In the tradition of J. Herbert Kane's mission textbooks, John Mark Terry and Robert Gallagher have brought their broad experience and scholarship to provide the next generation of mission students a text on mission history. Of special interest for those who are both practitioners and scholars is how the authors point the way forward based on the history they describe."

Scott W. Sunquist, dean, School of Intercultural Studies, professor of world Christianity, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Missions history is much more than the story of crossing boundaries and developing strategies; it's the story of people. This book is thus about encountering people--men and women who devoted their lives to the spread of the good news to the nations. The authors have done what might seem to be impossible: telling the story of centuries of missions history while holding the reader's attention through biographical portraits, relevant sidebars, and challenging case studies. I finished this book asking God to allow me to play a role, even a minor one, in the continuing story of missions history. Somehow, I think the authors would be pleased."

Chuck Lawless, professor of evangelism and missions, dean of graduate studies, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

The Authors

  1. John Mark Terry

    John Mark Terry

    John Mark Terry (PhD, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is department chair and professor of missions at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tennessee. He has taught at Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary, Southern Baptist...

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  2. Robert L. Gallagher

    Robert L. Gallagher

    Robert L. Gallagher (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is department chair and professor of intercultural studies at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, where he also directs the MA in intercultural studies program. He is the coeditor of several books,...

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"Encountering the History of Missions is an all-encompassing book which does the job it sets out to accomplish. In just over 400 pages, Terry and Gallagher give a phenomenal account of missions through the ages past. . . . It is best used as either a reference work or as a textbook for a college-level class. To use this book in the academic study of the history of missions there are sections of the work, case studies, which can be found at the end of most chapters, followed by a section of reflection and discussion. This will aid professors in the process of assigning this text for reading. . . . The detail found in this work is outstanding, jam-packed with information, without becoming unreadable to anyone but a scholar. . . . As a minister who is intimately familiar with the history of missions, I see this book as a great introduction to this most important Heavenly obligation. I therefore recommend this work to all pastors, students of missions, and prospective missionaries who desire to know of Saints who came before them, in the field of overseas missions."

Dan Doll,

The Geeky Calvinist blog