7.2.FirstGlobalization - The First Globalization: The...

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50 I NTERNATIONAL B ULLETIN OF M ISSIONARY R ESEARCH T he global vision intrinsic to Christianity—one world, one kingdom of God under Jesus Christ—has been the motive and purpose behind much missionary fervor. Driven by this idealistic vision, the mission of the church nevertheless has been conducted within human history. Modern missions emerged in the context of the Enlightenment, the industrial revolution, and the subsequent expansion of capitalism and modernization. With its internal logic of universalism, or catholicity, 1 Christian mission of necessity finds itself in dialogue with the secular globalizing tendency of the historical moment—whether Euro- pean expansionism, Western capitalism, or the World Wide Web. 2 The Anglo-American Protestant missionary movement of the 1920s and 1930s functioned within the globalizing discourse of “internationalism”—a moral vision of one world that emerged after the horrors of World War I and stemmed from the idealism of Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points. Internationalism launched a massive pacifist movement, brought into being the League of Nations and the World Court, and established the idea of the right of self-determination for all peoples. 3 Important sectors of the Protestant missionary movement embraced international- ism—they helped shape it, participated in it, and defended and critiqued it at a grassroots level. In their most optimistic phase during the 1920s, mission advocates were accused of confusing Dana L. Robert, a contributing editor, is the Truman Collins Professor of World Mission, Boston University School of Theology, Boston, Massachusetts. This essay was prepared with the support of the Currents in World Christianity Project. It was presented in July 2001 at the conference “Interpreting Contem- porary Christianity: Global Processes and Local Identities,” held in Hammanskraal, South Africa. The First Globalization: The Internationalization of the Protestant Missionary Movement Between the World Wars Dana L. Robert internationalism with the kingdom of God. Particularly in North American mainline Protestant churches it became difficult to distinguish internationalism from the mission impulse itself. Although internationalism was central to mainline Protes- tant missions in the 1920s and 1930s, scholars have not used it as an interpretive framework for the missionary issues of the era. Many have preferred to interpret the interwar period in light of the Kraemer/Hocking debate or in relation to the tension be- tween evangelistic and social gospel approaches to missions. This essay explores the relationship between internationalism and indigenization in the mission movement between the world wars, with primary reference to a North American conversation. I hope to demonstrate that internationalism and indigenization
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7.2.FirstGlobalization - The First Globalization: The...

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