oj the Empire
Christianity, Buddhism and Islam have in common the missionary
imperative, yet only Christianity has become a universal religion,
largely as a consequence
of a combination of nineteenth-century
circumstances. The nineteenth century was 'pre-eminently the
European century in world history, the period in which Europe
was able to impose its will and its ideas on the whole
"With the European conquerors
of Africa and
Asia went the religIon
Christianity. Earlier cOll<il.!est
had similarly carried it to the New World
century the universality
of Christianity was an accompl,ished
of the will of Europe on the rest of the world
was the consequence
)ndustrial. European explorers;triders, soldiers and missionarIes,
not always in that order or in those exclusive categories, trans-
ported and sustained by the power
of the industrial revolution, .
spread throughout the world. Even the penguins
were not immune.
It was not inevitable,
of course, that Christianity was the
of curiosity, commerce and aggrandisement.
Again the force
of circumstance played its part: 'the economic and
of Europe was accompanied by an unforeseen
religious awakening which affected almost every Christian denom-
ination in every country
of the west.
A revitalized Roman
Catholic Papacy, a newly confident Orthodox Church freed from
the Turkish yoke, and the reinvigorated Protestant Churches
CHRIST AND THE IMPERIAL GAMES FIELDS
stimulated by the Evangelical Revival, celebrated their respective
metamorphoses with a committed missionary zeal.
In Britain this zeal was in the hands
of voluntary societies: the
English Baptists (1792), the London Missionary Society (1795),
the Church Missionary Society (r799), 'the British and Foreign
Bible Society (r804), and ultimately many others. By the early
twentieth century, in an article entitle&'Imperial Christianity', Sir
could remark wearily
of a plethora of societies:
'Oxford Missions, Cambridge Missions, Dublin Missions, Uni-
versities Missions, even Archbishop
of Canterbury's Missions'.
In Europe and America the/same phenomenon was apparent:
of the century every nominally Christian country. a1?-d
had' begun' to take its
.. share in the
of the missionary cause,
'6 and only anandful
. and isolated regions were untouched by the missionary effort.
The Bible, in part or whole, had been translated into over 400
The Christian missionaries symbolized God in
skills were practical as well as spiritual: medicine, agriculture,
handicrafts and printing were typical accomplishments, but teach-
ing was a special commitment linked closely, as it is, to preaching.
This teaching often reflected a narrow ethnocentricity. Neill finds