Home > Christianity, History, History of Religion and Culture > Christian Mission: How Christianity Became a World Religion

Christian Mission: How Christianity Became a World Religion

  • Author: Dana L. Robert
  • Series: Blackwell Brief Histories of Religion
  • Publisher:  Wiley-Blackwell
  • Published: March, 2009
  • Pages: 232
  • Language: English
  • Format:  PDF
  • Price: $20.21



Exploring how Christianity became a world religion, this brief history examines Christian missions and their relationship to the current globalization of Christianity.

  • A short and enlightening history of Christian missions: a phenomenon that many say reflects the single most important intercultural movement over a sustained period of human history
  • Offers a thematic overview that takes into account the political, cultural, social, and theological issues
  • Discusses the significance of missions to the globalization of Christianity, and broadens our understanding of Christianity as a multicultural world religion
  • Helps Western audiences understand the meaning of mission as a historical process
  • Contains several new maps that illustrate demographic shifts in world Christianity

Editorial Reviews

“Despite these concerns, Christian Mission is a valuable addition to the growing literature on world Christianity . . . our overall understanding of Christianity as a world religion is significantly increased by Robert’s work.” (Christian Century, 8 March 2011)

This work is a valuable contribution to the subject.” (CHOICE, December 2009)”. Roberts helpfully reminds the readers that this…must be understood by accounting for the various players and settings in which it unfolds: “It is important to study the spiders, but it is equally important to notice the web” (177).Christian Mission, appropriate as a college or graduate level text, is a commendable introduction to those seeking to make sense of this tangled web.” (Missology, 2010)”[This book] does a lot of things (including a chronological and thematic study of 2000 years of Christian mission!). Along the way, Robert points out that Christian missionaries have done much good for the societies they have entered.” (The Gospel Coalition, January 2010)

“A masterful survey of mission in Christian history from the very origins of the religion to the present. … It should be required reading for any undergraduate course on Christianity or world religions.” (International Bulletin of Missionary Research, October 2009)

“Robert unerringly focuses on the most important issues. She is especially good on the persistence of gender issues in mission history.” (Christian Century, October 2009)

” Dana Robert distils a quarter of a century of her research into an erudite and accessible single-volume account of how Christianity became the largest religious tradition in the world. There is no better place for any reader to start becoming informed about this important subject.” –David Hempton, Harvard University

“Remarkable for the range and depth of the material Robert is able to pack into so short a book. Reliable and readable, it is especially valuable for its treatment of the relation between western and non-western missionary activity.” –David A. Hollinger, University of California, Berkeley

“Dana Robert’s richly textured book shows us that the history of Christian missions is far from being merely a European colonial story, and will be immensely valuable to students and general readers who are concerned to uncover the historical roots of Christianity’s current status as a truly global faith.” –Brian Stanley, University of Edinburgh

From the Back Cover

The Gospels record that Christ commanded his disciples to “go forth and teach all nations.” Thus began the history of Christian mission, a phenomenon which brought about massive shifts in the nature and practice of Christianity, and one that many say reflects the single most important movement of intercultural encounter over a sustained period of human history.

To understand Christianity as a global movement, therefore, it is essential to study the role of mission – defined as the transmission of the Gospel across cultures. Erudite and enlightening, this brief book explores the 2,000 years of mission history, covering topics such as the meaning of the missionary through history, gender and missions, and missions in culture and politics. Given that in the twenty-first century, Christianity is now largely practiced outside the West, Christian Mission is an inspirational and invaluable resource to broaden our understanding of the nature of Christianity as a truly multicultural world religion.

Most helpful reviews

Fresh perspective

By Joshua D. Jones

Christian Mission by Dana L. Robert was an insightful book and one that was enjoyable and interesting to read. She places a special emphasis in her study upon how the gospel incarnated itself in different ways as it passed from one culture to another. She begins by using a modern illustration of how youth in the Cold War era Soviet Union got a hold of a Jesus Christ Superstar sound tract and how that sound tract opened them up to the gospel. She then goes back to the first century church and traces how the gospel became the world religion.

She begins be describing how Christianity is really the only universal world religion with it existing in every nation. She then explains why she believes this is: the adaptability of the faith. She traces how the message has been able to be faithfully presented but still “incarnated” in different cultures. This is the lens she uses to study the history of mission.

As a youth minister, I appreciated the time she took out to study the connection between youth discipleship movements and the student missionary movement of the late 19th century. I also found interesting her comparison of St. Patrick here in Ireland (where I live) and the African apostle Bernard Mizeki. She also highlights the unique contributions women have made in the cause of world mission. In fact, she devotes a whole chapter to the subject and introduced me to Annalena Tonelli, an apparently well known and important woman missionary in Africa that I was previously unaware of.

It was a good book. I learned a good deal and recommend it.

The World of World Christianity

By Charles E. Farhadian

Christianity is the religion of the colonizers bent on destroying cultures and dominating people. Or so we learn from popular depictions of the history of Christianity. By analyzing the impact of such crucial forces as globalization, history, gender, conversion, and Bible translation on the worldwide expansion of Christianity, Dana Robert has provided a superb rejoinder to this stereotype. Robert’s book should be compulsory reading for all who are interested in understanding the expansion of the world’s largest religion.

mission book review

By delhaven

A good mission overview for laity and clergy alike. I am a pastor and have passed the book on to my new Mission committee chairperson. Well written and weel done.

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