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CMIN 201 (Sp '17) T11 - The Expansion of Christianity (Part 2)

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Hartmut Scherer

on 16 February 2017

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Transcript of CMIN 201 (Sp '17) T11 - The Expansion of Christianity (Part 2)

The Protestant Missionary Movement Prior to
the Great Century

Lesson adopted from Timothy C. Tennent,
Invitation to World Missions - A Trinitarian Missiology for the Twenty-first Century
(Kregel, 2010), 248-252.
Lamin Sanneh,
Translating the Message: The Missionary Impact on Culture
(Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1989),88-90.
Building at Herrnhut, the property of count Zinzendorf
Lessons we can learn from the first Protestant missionary movement
This prayer vigil was maintained twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for over one hundred years. We must remember that many decades later when famous pioneer missionaries such as William Carey and Adoniram and Ann Judson arrived in India and Burma respectively, this prayer meeting was still going on.
Prayer; retrieved Feb 24, 2013 from
First, the Moravians were deeply committed to pray for the evangelization of the world
The entire "great century" of Protestant missions was birthed out of the fervent prayers of the Moravians at Herrnhut. There is no better way to situate all missionary endeavors and mobilizations in the mission of God than through a commitment to prayer.
Because of their history of persecution and displacement as refugees, the Moravians were accustomed to adversity and travel. Therefore, they made excellent missionaries. Theologically, this commitment to full mobilization was possible only because of the
Moravian ecclesiology, which emphasized the central role of the laity
, downplayed denominational affiliation, and refused to associate the church with the state.
Zinzendorf's commitment to mobilize the entire movement also made him a forerunner in encouraging female preachers,
evangelists, church planters, catechists, and pastors. The
Moravian mission was like a traveling monastic
, but rather than a celibate clergy, they were
sending out entire families as models of
Christian community.
Long before the twentieth-century notion of professional "tentmakers" came into vogue, the Moravians understood that a professionalized missionary force would require extensive financial and logistical support to maintain. To support full-time professional missionaries would require up to 90 percent of the church to remain home in order to generate sufficient disposable income to support the missionaries.
Third, the Moravians were self-supporting missionaries
Instead, the Moravians opted for a lay mission force that would be completely self-supporting through the practice of their own
trades. Leonhard Dober (1706-1766), the first Moravian
missionary sent out from Herrnhut is representative of
many who followed. (see DVD)
The work among slaves on St. Thomas is representative of the Moravian commitment to the margins of society. Because the Moravians were themselves a marginalized and persecuted community, they had a special burden for other displaced and suffering peoples.
Finally, the Moravians were known to send missionaries to difficult places to work among marginalized peoples
This commitment often came at great sacrifice. For example, of the eighteen missionaries who were eventually sent from Herrnhut to work with the slaves on St. Thomas, half died within the first six months.
While the Moravian Church has never been large, it has exerted an influence well beyond its size.
Influential Christian leaders such as John Wesley and William Carey have all paid tribute to the formative role the Moravians played in their spiritual formation.
As the first Protestant missionary movement, the Moravians continue to inspire and inform all later endeavors that seek to follow in their footsteps.
Second, the Moravians were the
first modern group of Christians to fully
recognize that the missionary enterprise was the primary work of ALL Christians, not just a
few selected specialists
Two impulses operating throughout history
Today, churches often carry a strong sense of guilt about the whole missionary enterprise
suspected of hidden collaboration with colonial powers
associated with imperialism and forced conversions
missions has been
Two distinct impulses have operated throughout the history of Christian missions (Lamin Sanneh)
Missions as translation
Missions as cultural diffusion
Missionary learns local languages and seeks the successful indigenization of the gospel
Missionary imposes a foreign language and merely replicates Western cultural religious forms
dominant mode of operation
The Moravian Missionary Movement
- the Moravian missionary movement occurred prior
to William Carey during the 17th and 18th century
- this renewal movement, also
known as Pietism, emphasized
personal devotion, Bible study,
sermons, and the role of the laity
First Fruits - A Moravian Story
Full transcript