Contrary to popular impressions, the days of the missionary are far from over. North American churches send more missionaries than ever before, and 90 percent of them are evangelicals who are not affiliated with the "mainline" Protestant mission boards.
The first major historical treatment of the distinctly evangelical wing of twentieth-century American missions, Earthen Vessels truly breaks new ground. Covering territory that missions histories have scarcely explored yet, the distinguished historians contributing to this volume portray the North American (including Canadian) evangelical missionary enterprise from the Student Volunteer Movement to the very recent past.
The book traces the influences of pre-millennial eschatology, the fundamentalist-modernist controversies, the rise of independent missions and conservative denominational boards, the role of World War II and America's rise to world power, the recent development of a distinctly evangelical theology of missions, and the growing influence of the Two-Thirds World's evangelical leaders. While this volume certainly does not contain the last word on these subjects, in a number of areas it does offer very nearly the first look.
With its fresh subject matter and new historical interpretations, Earthen Vessels will interest church history scholars and students, missionaries and ministers, and any others who wish to know more about American missions.
Joel Carpenter Wilbert R. Shenk
Joel A. Carpenter is professor of history and director of the Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity at Calvin College. Among his publications are Revive Us Again: The Reawakening of American Fundamentalism (Oxford, 1997); The Changing Face of Christianity: Africa, the West and the World, coedited with Lamin Sanneh (Oxford, 2005); and Walking Together: Christian Thinking and Pubic Affairs in South Africa (Abilene, 2012).
Wilbert R. Shenk is Senior Professor of Mission History and Contemporary Culture, School of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Among Shenk's recent publications are: North American Foreign Missions, 1810-1914: Theology, Theory, and Policy (2004), By Faith They Went Out: Mennonite Missions, 1850-1999 (2000), and Changing Frontiers of Mission (1999). He was a consulting editor of the Dictionary of Mission Theology: Evangelical Foundations (2007).