Monday, January 21, 2008

The Great Awakening, Missions, Slavery, and Paternalism: Part 7

This is the conclusion to the series on the first American Foreign Mission Board (ABCFM). I will plan on posting a link to the entire article along with the footnotes and bibliography later this week for those that are interested.

The founding of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions was a tremendous development in regards to American Christianity’s international influence. Its founding was a significant marker for the nation as a whole which helped further solidify the country’s political independence. The creation of the ABCFM helped funnel American Patriotism toward a common goal of reaching the unreached peoples and ushering in the millennium. There are many positive encouragements to be gained from the study of the history of the ABCFM. However, the purpose of this paper has been to establish the historical context for the founding of the ABCFM and then offer a brief critique. The main weakness of the ABCFM was the ethnocentrism that permeated the organization and the individual members. This ethnocentrism had far reaching affects and led to the perpetuation of American Slavery; as well as the denigration of the Hawaiian people by not transferring to them ecclesiastical leadership in a timely manner.

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