Chapter

The Liberation of Missionary Evangelicalism

Amanda Porterfield

in The Transformation of American Religion

Published in print April 2001 | ISBN: 9780195131376
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834570 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195131371.003.0002
The Liberation of Missionary Evangelicalism

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American enthusiasm for individual religious experience has often resulted in missionary outreach and social reform. Focusing on the Reformed Protestant tradition that helped shape American culture, this chapter shows how American Protestants in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries came to see benevolence as the chief manifestation of Christian virtue. The chapter also describes the criticism of missionary arrogance that developed within missionary circles in the early twentieth century, and the emergence belief that while education, economic assistance, healthcare, and other forms of philanthropy were appropriate Christian endeavors, attempts to destroy other religions were not. The chapter points to this development in missionary thinking, and to social gospel tradition in liberal American Protestantism more generally, as a precursor of the liberation theology promoted by Catholic activists in the late twentieth century.

Keywords: American Protestants; benevolence; evangelicalism; liberation theology; missionary; philanthropy; Reformed Protestant; social gospel

Chapter.  13063 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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