Latourette, Kenneth Scott, Orientalist, missiologist, and historian of mission, born Oregon City, Oregon, 8 August 1884, died (hit by an automobile) Origen City, 26 December, 1968. He was educated at McMinnville College (BS, 1904) and at Yale (BA, 1906, MA, 1907, PhD, 1909) and spent a year traveling for the Student Volunteer Movement before teaching at Yale-in-China, Chungsha, Hunan, for two years. He taught at Denison University, Granville, Ohio from 1916, was ordained to the Baptist ministry in 1918, and became professor of missions at Yale (1921-1953). A disciplined, clear writer more than an inspiring lecturer, Latourette was devoted to his students, and steadily produced what became the backbone of modern mission historiography. His History of the Expansion of Christianity (7 vols., 1937-1945) can appear optimistic, but it set high standards by its fairness, and by it’s placing of mission history in the context of church and world history.


Lull, Raymond, early missionary to Muslims, born Majorca 1235, stoned to death, Bugie, Algiers, 1315. He spent his youth in the Court of Aragon, and was converted in 1257. His goal became to preach, write books to convince unbelievers, and set up colleges to train missionaries to Islam. He studied Arabic, engaged Jewish and Muslim scholars in debate and established a seminary at Miramar in Majorca in 1276. He traveled widely including missionary journeys to Tunis and to Bugie in North Africa where he was imprisoned for preaching, and in a later visit in old age met martyrdom.


MacKay, John Alexander 1889 -1983, Presbyterian missionary, educator, and ecumenist, born Inverness, Scotland, 7 May 1889, died Princeton, NJ, USA, 9 June 1983. He studied at Aberdeen (MA, 1912), Princeton (BD, 1915) and Madrid under the existentialist Miguel de Unamuno, the subject of his LittD (University of San Marcos, Lima, 1925). He married Jane Wells in 1916 and was sent by the Free Church of Scotland to Lima, Peru (1916-1925) as a missionary educator. He was an evangelist with the Latin American YMCA (1926-1932) and attended the Jerusalem meeting of the IMC in 1928. His classic The Other Spanish Christ appeared in 1932. That year he became a secretary for Africa and Latin America for the Board of Foreign Missions of the PCUSA. He was professor and then president of Princeton Theological Seminary (1936-1959) and founded Theology Today in 1944. He was chair of the IMC (1947-1957) and from 1948 a member of the Central Committee of the WCC. In 1953 his moderatorship of the PCUSA provided significant leadership against McCarthyite anti-communist hysteria.


Marco Polo, merchant, adventurer, traveler, born Venice (or Korcula, Croatia) c.1254, died Venice, 8 January 1324. His father Niccolò and uncle Maffeo traded with the Middle East and Marco first met his father in 1269 when he returned with letters from Kublai Khan. Marco then accompanied his father and uncle in 1271 travelling through Palestine, Turkey and Afghanistan to join the Silk Road reaching the Mongol capital Shang-tu probably in 1274. After many adventures Marco returned by sea touching at Champa (Vietnam), Sumatra, Sri Lanka, India enroute to Hormuz and then Venice which he reached in 1295. Marco was captured by Genoese and while in prison dictated his memoirs. Il milione was widely copied, amended, and translated. Although it appeared then (and in different ways since) to be fantastic, in medieval Europe it opened a rare window of awareness of the lands, peoples, and Christians, in Asia.


Margaret of Scotland, Saint, Queen of Scotland, born in Hungary c.1045, died Edinburgh Castle, 16 November 1093. She grew up in the fervently Christian Hungarian court until summoned to England in 1057 by Edward the Confessor. After his death and the Norman Conquest the family took refuge in Dunfermline, Scotland with King Malcolm III whom she married about 1069. She corresponded with Archbishop Lanfranc of Canterbury, and is said to have summoned a council for the reform of the practices of the Church in Scotland, the decisions being known as the Five Articles of Margaret. Her support of the Church included the provision of the Queen’s Ferry for pilgrims to St Andrews, and monastic endowments. Her children maintained her strong Christian commitment. She was canonized in 1249.


Marsden, Samuel, Anglican chaplain in New South Wales, and missionary to New Zealand, born Bagley, Yorkshire, England, 25 June 1764, died, Windsor, New South Wales, 12 May 1838. He studied at Cambridge and was influenced by Charles Simeon. Appointed assistant chaplain to the colony of New South Wales, he arrived in Australia in March 1794. In 1804 he became LMS agent for the South Sea Islands. In 1807 he successfully appealed to the CMS to send a civilizing mission to New Zealand where on Christmas day 1814 he preached the first Christian sermon. He made seven voyages to New Zealand, but in the first decade supervision from Australia could not compensate for fragile security and weak local leadership. His reputation as a convict settlement “flogging parson” has balanced more romantic views of his stature, but his key role is indisputable.

Melanchthon, Philipp, Humanist, educator and reformer, born 1497, died Wittenberg, 19 April 1560. He studied at Heidelberg (1509-1511, BA) and Tübingen (1512-1514, MA) and in 1518 became professor of Greek at Wittenberg. He developed a close friendship with Martin Luther, took part in the Leipzig Disputation in 1519, married Katherine Krapp in 1520, and published the first edition of his influential lectures on Romans, Loci Communes, in 1521. His Unterricht der Visitatoren (1528) and other writings laid the basis for public education in Germany. He took part in the Diet of Speyer (1529), the Colloquy of Marburg (1529), and the Diet of Augsburg (1530). He was chief architect of the Augsburg Confession. A conciliatory figure, he objected to the overt condemnation of the Papacy in the Schmalkadic articles of 1537 and was present at Catholic-Protestant colloquies at Worms (1540-1541) and Ratisbon (1541).

Philip, John, Missionary for racial equality in South Africa, born Kirkcaldy, Scotland, 14 April 1775, died Hankey, eastern Cape, South Africa, 27 August, 1851. He studied for the Congregational ministry at Hoxton and was called to Belmont, Aberdeen in 1804. Asked by the LMS to go on a commission of enquiry to South Africa and stay as resident director, he and his wife Jane arrived in Cape Town in February, 1819. Despairing at injustice towards indigenous peoples, he returned to Britain (1827-1828) and published his radically egalitarian Researches in South Africa (1828). He persuaded the Paris Evangelical Mission Society, the Rhenish Missionary Society and the American Board of Commissions for Foreign Missions to begin work in South Africa, but also believed that only Africans could convert Africa. His stands on social issues made him unpopular with the colonial authorities, as with Afrikaans and English settlers, but appreciated by Coloureds.

Visser ’t Hooft, Willem Adolf, First general secretary of the WCC, born Harlem, Netherlands, 20 September 1900, died Geneva, 4 July 1985. He studied at Leiden where he joined the SCM. John R. Mott stimulated his vision for world mission, and from 1922 Karl Barth undergirded his theology. In 1924 he moved to Geneva to work with the YMCA. He was the youngest delegate to the 1925 Life and Work Conference in Stockholm and in 1932 was appointed general secretary of the WSCF. In 1938 he became general secretary of the WCC provisional committee. During the war he used his base in Geneva to assist refugees and maintain links between churches in occupied territories. He remained in the secretarial role after the WCC was formed in 1948, and retired in 1966.

Warneck, Gustav Adolf, Founder of modern missiology, born Naumburg near Halle 6 March 1834, died Halle, 25 December 1910. He entered Halle University in 1855. In 1862 he became assistant pastor in Roitzsch, Saxony and the following year pastor in Dommitzsch, Leipzig. He obtained a doctorate (Jena, 1871) and spent three years working with the Rheinish Mission Society in Barmen (1871-1874) realising that his health did not permit him to serve overseas. In 1873 he founded Allgemeine Missions-Zeitschrift which he edited till his death. In 1874 he moved to Rothenschirmbach near Eisleben, and pastored there for 22 years before accepting the first chair of mission studies in Germany, at Halle (1897-1908). His publications include Missionsstunden (3 vols., 1883-1899) and Evangelische Missionslehre (5 vols., 1887-1905).


BDCM:  Gerald H. Anderson, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions. New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan, 1998.

DAC: John Chew, David Wu and Scott Sunquist, eds., Dictionary of Asian Christianity, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans (forthcoming).

DCA, Dictionary of Christianity in America.

DEB: Donald M. Lewis, ed. The Blackwell Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1730-1860. Oxford: Blackwell, 1995.

DEM:  Nicholas Lossky, et al, eds. Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans / Geneva: WCC, 1991.

DSCHT: Nigel M. de S. Cameron, ed. Dictionary of Scottish Church History and Theology. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1993.

EB: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1999.

IBMR: International Bulletin of Missionary Research

ML: Gerald H. Anderson, et al, eds. Mission Legacies.  Biographical Studies of Leaders of the Modern Missionary Movement, Maryknoll: Orbis, 1994.

ODCC: F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford, 1997.


[home] [up]