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From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions

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This is history at its best. From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya is readable, informative, gripping, and above all honest.From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya helps readers understand the life and role of a missionary through real life examples of missionaries throughout history. We see these men and women as fallible and human in their failures as well as their successes. These great le This is history at its best. From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya is readable, informative, gripping, and above all honest.From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya helps readers understand the life and role of a missionary through real life examples of missionaries throughout history. We see these men and women as fallible and human in their failures as well as their successes. These great leaders of missions are presented as real people, and not super-saints. This second edition covers all 2,000 years of mission history with a special emphasis on the modern era, including chapters focused on the Muslim world, Third World missions, and a comparison of missions in Korea and Japan. It also contains both a general and an “illustration” index where readers can easily locate particular missionaries, stories, or incidents. New design graphics, photographs, and maps help make this a compelling book.From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya is as informative and intriguing as it is inspiring—an invaluable resource for missionaries, mission agencies, students, and all who are concerned about the spreading of the gospel throughout the world.


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This is history at its best. From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya is readable, informative, gripping, and above all honest.From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya helps readers understand the life and role of a missionary through real life examples of missionaries throughout history. We see these men and women as fallible and human in their failures as well as their successes. These great le This is history at its best. From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya is readable, informative, gripping, and above all honest.From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya helps readers understand the life and role of a missionary through real life examples of missionaries throughout history. We see these men and women as fallible and human in their failures as well as their successes. These great leaders of missions are presented as real people, and not super-saints. This second edition covers all 2,000 years of mission history with a special emphasis on the modern era, including chapters focused on the Muslim world, Third World missions, and a comparison of missions in Korea and Japan. It also contains both a general and an “illustration” index where readers can easily locate particular missionaries, stories, or incidents. New design graphics, photographs, and maps help make this a compelling book.From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya is as informative and intriguing as it is inspiring—an invaluable resource for missionaries, mission agencies, students, and all who are concerned about the spreading of the gospel throughout the world.

30 review for From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions

  1. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Vellacott

    I'm not sure how many "biographical histories of Christian missions" are out there but I'm pretty sure there aren't many as comprehensive as this one. The author works exhaustively through the centuries concluding with the well known names of Brother Andrew and Don Richardson. She highlights people, and organisations, of note describing a little of their early life, ministry; successes and failures, and culminates with their various legacies. The common trait of most of these missionaries was th I'm not sure how many "biographical histories of Christian missions" are out there but I'm pretty sure there aren't many as comprehensive as this one. The author works exhaustively through the centuries concluding with the well known names of Brother Andrew and Don Richardson. She highlights people, and organisations, of note describing a little of their early life, ministry; successes and failures, and culminates with their various legacies. The common trait of most of these missionaries was their dedication and single-mindedness to the cause that they had set about, whether that be direct evangelism or health-care and education (with a view to sharing the Gospel.) These pioneers often were seen as lone rangers or as having an "independent spirit" resulting in rejection by both their organisations and often their peers, but they had the strategic vision and determination to "get things done." Most of them paid little attention to what others said or thought about them and continued labouring faithfully in the work they believed they had been called to. Many died on the field. They were often not easy people to get along with (or work with) and were often stubborn and sometimes dictatorial. Many of them abandoned families and children when these became an obstacle to the work which they saw as the greater priority. It is easy to judge such people from a distance and to highlight flaws and inadequacies but maybe we should ask where we would be without the groundwork these missionaries have laid and without the wealth of mistakes (providing learning experiences that we can utilise.) The author rightly makes the obvious point that; missionaries are not saints, they have the same imperfections as the rest of us. This book picks out those of particular interest to the author but I think she has done a good job at including a broad range of characters from a historical perspective. I would have liked to see a clearer distinction between Catholic and Evangelical missions/missionaries and the Gospel message being explained clearly in relation to this; that a person can only be saved through faith in Jesus and not by works. Although I realise it is difficult to do this in a historical account but I felt that there was an ecumenical feel about this book at times. I also sensed the author's leanings towards women's rights and equality in the church through her writing. This was a disappointing aspect for me as, regardless of my own views of male headship, I think that a biographical (and historical) account if it is to portray events in an accurate and unbiased manner shouldn't be used to promote something that isn't relevant to the topic. I see from further research that the author has recently gotten herself into hot water by publishing further books where she makes her views even more dominant. Having said that it was an enjoyable and interesting read and probably a fairly unique book as it no doubt involved a large amount of research and study. I was sad to note that the author herself believed she was called into foreign mission at a young age but became distracted by life and never went to the field. She ends on this note, comparing herself to a female relative who obeyed and went. She seems to be saying through this final chapter that a person can make as much difference at home as they can by actually going to the field. I agree with this but believe it is more about where God calls an individual to serve and obedience is vital if one is called. Recommended for all Christians and especially those interested in mission. I read it in a few sittings out of necessity as it is a library book in a foreign country i am visiting.... but I wouldn't recommend this as it can become overwhelming and a lot of the stories/factual information become irrelevant during a straight read-through. It is probably more useful as a text book/manual for research or to find recommendations of other biographies to read!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Marisa Banas

    This book changed my thinking about a Godly life. For so long I had assumed that I was to be a good christian--one that doesn't have run-ins with other people, personality flaws, and marital issues. As I turned each page and lived in another person's life for just a moment, I found that every biography included a messed up person that loved God with all their hearts. Flaws are part of our nature, and they have nothing to do with a calling to be an overseas missionary. I was amazed to see that a g This book changed my thinking about a Godly life. For so long I had assumed that I was to be a good christian--one that doesn't have run-ins with other people, personality flaws, and marital issues. As I turned each page and lived in another person's life for just a moment, I found that every biography included a messed up person that loved God with all their hearts. Flaws are part of our nature, and they have nothing to do with a calling to be an overseas missionary. I was amazed to see that a good portion of the missionaries died overseas for a mere 4 or 5 converts. I remember one man serving for 65 years only to lead 7 confirmed people to the Lord. Part way through the material, God spoke to me and said, "Success doesn't always look successful." As I continued to turn the pages I saw the building blocks of Christ. The man that lead 7 to the Lord was later followed by a young lad who was inspired by the previous missionary's "failures." That man went, and led a few more. Years after that, another came and led a massive amount of people to Christ. Does it matter that 7, 4, of 400,000 are lead? This book changed my life. I want to make sure the reader knows one more thing about the book. It is extremely important to not jump ahead, and to read to the last word in the Postscript. The last paragraph in the book left a lasting impression on me. At first I thought, why is the author changing topics in the last sentence---and then...the last 2 words that she used summed up the entire book with power, grace, and truth. This book is a must read for anyone thinking about any type of missions!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Shirkman

    I can’t imagine a more comprehensive book on missions, specifically highlighting individual missionaries, exists. This book traces the history of missions, highlighting missionaries, their callings, and even their flaws. It’s broken up in an easy-to-read format of 5 or so missionaries in each of the 18 chapters, and it is a fascinating journey if you’re up for 800+ pages.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Leandro Guimarães

    Quite engrossing. I almost gave it four stars for its theological latitudinarianism, but it really brings the History of Christian (in quite a wide sense of ‘Christian’) missions alive.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Anna Redsand

    Remember, it's a textbook. But I found it on the bookshelf in my brother's basement in Grand Rapids 3 years ago, and it helped me figure out the format I wanted to use for the book I'm writing now (working title: Missionaries). It also resulted in an online friendship with the author, whom I'm going to meet in person next month.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    This book was so great that it prompted several thoughts that had to be written. Be warned: this review is half-review, half- half-digested blog post. Looking back at all the books about missionaries that I read in high school, I feel slightly cheated. While the books were doubtless good in places and often accurately described a lot of suffering, the general impression I got from them all was boundless success and saintly perfection, or at the very least freedom from bigotry and imperialistic te This book was so great that it prompted several thoughts that had to be written. Be warned: this review is half-review, half- half-digested blog post. Looking back at all the books about missionaries that I read in high school, I feel slightly cheated. While the books were doubtless good in places and often accurately described a lot of suffering, the general impression I got from them all was boundless success and saintly perfection, or at the very least freedom from bigotry and imperialistic tensions. I'm sure they weren't but that's not the impression and maybe that's just what a high schooler notices. This book is not like that at all. The stories found here are about all the major figures, mainly in the eighteenth century but with a few others from the early and even from the medieval church, and a heaping bunch from the twentieth century. I read her edition from the eighties, but her most recent has even more. The author, Ruth Tucker, clearly wrestles with problems such as exclusivism, which though it might be problematic (and I'm open to C.S. Lewis-style inclusivism), here it provides a depth of struggle that is rarely found in other writers whose sole concern is the straightforward change from sinner to saved to saint. Thankfully she does not succumb to cynicism, since in this case our ancestors should be treated with charity, and she makes a lot of good points about how missionaries were often not the leading cause of racism and Imperalism, even if she makes the point that they often were its unwitting promulgators. She clearly believes in the Gospel and believes, ultimately in what many of them were trying to do, which gives her depth and insight into missionaries that make her understand many of them. One part in the book that is especially good is a bit where she describes Chinese workers "faking their conversion" in order to buy literature to sell to the printers so they can get more money from a gullible missionary and his many donors. It captures so perfectly the Christian Evangelical wishful thinking about how the Gospel is received in different countries. Whenever I hear about the Gospel going to a country for the first time, I imagine the people simply leaping for joy at the good news. Now, this kind of joyful reaction does happen, but it happens a lot less among natives than we think. It certainly took off in Jerusalem, but didn't they have, let's think for a moment, about a millennium and a half of preparation? Certainly there was great revival among the Gentiles as well, but what strikes me about the book of Acts are not the remarkable conversions, but the repeated and ineffective trips to the synagogues and Paul's mockers at the Areopagus. The Gospel is powerful, but we should remember that God often unleashes that power when we least expect it and withholds it when we most want it and that while telling stories about great excitement is wonderful, if we don't bring back all the failure stories too, then we aren't being honest or realistic with the kind of beings God is redeeming. Some people leap up on fire and burn out. Some burn forever, and others slowly but surely grow, and some even grow strong because of persecution. And the vast majority, I expect, go back and forth and up and down, three steps forward for every two steps backward. This also reinforces my opinion about the New Testament. The fact of the matter is Jesus talks an awful lot more about discipleship than about "getting saved." The word "believe" has come for us to mean something short, timeless, a mere snapshot, and not a posture in life involving time. While it is true that we either love or hate Jesus, that attitude manifest itself in time and many people who though their faith was really real will turn out to have been without roots on the last day. Often postmillennialism comes naturally to Evangelicals, because we believe that in non-Western countries, if people simply hear the Gospel, their society will be transformed overnight. We hear all about the first converts, but the next step of the story is never apathy or apostasy or lost ground. We prefer to hear about persecution of some sort, the inevitable clash between Caesar and Jesus, and the great patience displayed by the instantly transformed converts. We never tell the stories about the missionaries who bring it on themselves, whether for their personal arrogance, cultural insensitivity, imperialism, or political subversiveness. Examples of each can be found in this wonderful book. Our current pessimism about America, whatever eschatology you hold, is perhaps fueled in part by a romantic vision of what the Gospel does in other countries. What Americans need is not more pessimism about America, but a sober pessimism about other countries. Yes, exciting things are happening in China, India, South America, and Africa, but they have not had a Reformation and several waves of revival, which even now remain chiseled into our collective Western past. When Americans and Europeans come back to the Gospel, it's going to be much deeper for us and, since I am postmil, I think that we might be looking at several generations of apostasy in China, Africa, and India some day. Back to the book. Another striking feature about some of Tucker's stories is how key marriage was to so many of these men and yet how foolishly they handled their children at times. It is truly heart-breaking; along the line of golden crowns and trophies lies a trail of broken lives and faiths. What should these, often lonely men have done? It's difficult, but having children is obviously not a good idea in countries where persecution is likely to happen, but I think we need to go further. Certainly most men need marriage, and many of these missionaries really felt the need and I don't want to start advocating celibacy in all cases, but at the very least we should be suspicious when a missionary starts having a bunch of kids on the field. Evangelicals should have more kids, but there have been some remarkable medical improvements that allow for godly birth control and we should make sure missionaries think soberly about the options in front of them. Another key point of the book that Tucker draws out nicely is the way Imperialism and Western culture destroys the faith. It isn't just the liberals who hold to the white Messiah complex. History is replete with examples of Christians who have gone over with the help of the British Empire. While it's certainly encouraging that we now have Henry Hudson's example and we are now sensitive to the point of embarrassment about other people's cultures, there is still a great danger to confusing and mingling "modern civilization" and "Jesus." We already have cultural blinders that will make preaching the Gospel potentially loaded; we cannot afford to confuse the font of baptism with a need for indoor plumbing. And the idea that good fellow Christian missionaries, like Stanley and Livingstone could actually pave the way for western exploitation should cut us to the heart. There has been a lot of talk recently about how bad wars with fellow Christians are, but what is especially striking to me is the idea of fighting a people otherwise receptive to the Gospel and putting cultural obstacles between them and Jesus. How much more should we mourn it when such wars are unjust, or when we exploit or persecute them, which both Brits and Americans have done. However, there is one thing that Tucker's little book made me more positive about: the role of intellectuals in the kingdom of God. What I am about to say is actually a big problem for all those "practical Christianity" types who love to hate on intellectuals, but first a few quick qualifications. First, saving lives and evangelizing is far more important than theology or any area of study and in fact the theologian can be in especially great danger in thinking themselves godlier just because they study theology. Second, in America it is the working class that is in most need of help and it will probably not come from getting our theology better but from pastors working on shorter and simpler sermons. Third, we should have a great deal of respect for the people who provide us with all the modern amenities that we currently possess. To be honest, 80% of the Americans who go to universities should get a job or internship. Intellectuals have a great temptation towards haughtiness, and nothing said below should imply that I think intellectuals are better than the average blue-collar worker. One of the more interesting characters in the book is Donald McGavran, an intellectual who pointed out that individual conversions are really bad for cultures because it displaces people from their communities and makes them dependent on missions and makes them vulnerable to "westernizing." I think many replies are possible and important, since mass conversions are very vulnerable to a different sort of freeriders. What is really interesting, however, was that few Evangelicals had considered the philosophy and methodology of missions. If there had been more careful intellectual work expended on understanding and relating to the tribes first, there may have been less misunderstanding and some of the walls that are up now between Americans and other countries, such as Africa, would not exist. We need missionaries, yes and Amen, but we also need people who spend all their time just trying to figure out how cultures work. We need people who spend all their time just thinking and arguing and writing boring scholarly articles that get popularized and sent to the mission field. Loving people takes study and thought. There is no utopia, no undying revival, no spiritual transformation which can blot out the dark night of the soul or save a people from extinction (see Jenkins' Lost History of Christianity). It is only with the resurrection of the dead that we will find a perfect world, and it will happen because people preached the gospel, gave money to the poor, worked jobs, read their Bibles, made friendships, prayed, wrote books, and ate and drank to the glory of God, however imperfectly. I'm postmil, so I think that it's going to get better incredibly better, but I don't think this new world will be a smooth transfer from barbarity to modernity. Reality is hardly ever that neat, and to such a world the good news must also be rather messy too. Which is as good a reason as any to read this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brian Whited

    This book is a great resource to understand the lives and journeys of some of the most influential missionaries since Christ handed over the task of mission to the priesthood of believers. Thankfully, this book portrays both the inspiring godly traits and also the shortcomings of each missionary. This makes the stories raw and definitely real. It is like the Bible in this aspect. Some of the missionaries had character flaws that prevented them from finishing their task well. While others pushed This book is a great resource to understand the lives and journeys of some of the most influential missionaries since Christ handed over the task of mission to the priesthood of believers. Thankfully, this book portrays both the inspiring godly traits and also the shortcomings of each missionary. This makes the stories raw and definitely real. It is like the Bible in this aspect. Some of the missionaries had character flaws that prevented them from finishing their task well. While others pushed on to the end of their days wanting only to please their master and hear “well done good and faithful servant.” All the stories point to Christ and His supremacy. If there is one thing that is true it is that Christ is supreme. If Christ did not work through these missionaries than all would be lost.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    This book is short biographies of past mission workers. I only gave it 4 stars because I don't know of any other book like it--it's a really good idea and there's good bibliographies about each mission worker if you want to go deeper. It's also well written. However, I constantly found myself not being able to identify with these old school, intrepid, weird-at-times mission workers. The general storyline: dude sails from England, everyone dies, he goes a little nuts on his 3rd wife but has some This book is short biographies of past mission workers. I only gave it 4 stars because I don't know of any other book like it--it's a really good idea and there's good bibliographies about each mission worker if you want to go deeper. It's also well written. However, I constantly found myself not being able to identify with these old school, intrepid, weird-at-times mission workers. The general storyline: dude sails from England, everyone dies, he goes a little nuts on his 3rd wife but has some decent ministry results to show for it... I'm still usually thinking, "was it worth it?" The girls stories are usually more depressing, by the way.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gavin Breeden

    Great book. Some will read this and be shocked at the behavior of many Christian missionaries throughout history. Some of them were big jerks who mistreated the people they ministered to and some continually neglected or put their own families in danger for missions. The point of the book, however, is an encouraging one: missionaries are not super-Christians, they are broken people who need Jesus just like you and me. Fascinating and encouraging.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Peter Bringe

    This was a good attempt at giving an overview of the lives of representative foreign missionaries throughout the ages of the church (with heavy emphasis on those from 19th century onwards). Due to the broad nature of the subject, the book is unable to get into much depth on the individuals it covers, leaving more to be desired. I would also have appreciated it if more time had been spent on the conversion of Europe in the Middle Ages. Yet, the book serves its purpose and is a nice overview.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Josh Crews

    Loved it. You get about 3-5 pages per missionary biography from the 1st century through the 20th. When Hebrews 13 says "Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith", what a way to absorb the witness of the saints (missionary saints) over the centuries.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rich

    A great lesson in the history of missions, but even moreso that God will take those who say here am I send me, and cover them in His grace many times using us despite ourselves. Anyone who thinks they have a heart for missions should read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah Rooker

    This is one of the best biography/history books about missionaries I have ever read!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    If you like pithy and inspirational missionary biographies, which I do, you will enjoy this.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Noble

    Simply one of the best, most inspiring books available about Christ's global mission effort.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    A well-documented biographical approach to recounting the history of Christian missions.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    I read this in college andoccasionally pick it up. Some of the stories are still quite moving.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Corey

    This book by Ruth Tucker is a combination of missions history and biography. Taking you from Paul the Apostle to a new era of missions in the 21st century, with special focus on the greatest century of Christian missions (19th century), Tucker threads the story of missions together like a beautiful tapestry with great mastery and brutal honesty. Several themes emerged which broadened my understanding of the history of missions, and has changed some of my evaluations that history as well. Some of This book by Ruth Tucker is a combination of missions history and biography. Taking you from Paul the Apostle to a new era of missions in the 21st century, with special focus on the greatest century of Christian missions (19th century), Tucker threads the story of missions together like a beautiful tapestry with great mastery and brutal honesty. Several themes emerged which broadened my understanding of the history of missions, and has changed some of my evaluations that history as well. Some of these themes overlap, but are distinct enough to warrant their own treatment. Those themes are colonialism, ethnocentrism, sacrifice & hardship, family neglect, and the strategic importance of college students in foreign missions. For example, I was struck by the way missions history is replete with examples of missionaries seeking to dominate and transform foreign cultures into western ones. In some instances, the missionary task was intentionally designed to colonize and westernize the heathens as the very definition of missions. While some good might have been done in terms of teaching valuable western principles, this is a significant problem and has left behind a legacy of imperialism. More problematic is how the gospel itself was inextricably bound up with western culture, a problem which is prevalent today. I remember a few years ago hearing that many people in the world view missionaries as imperialistic and I didn’t understand why they would think this. I reasoned to myself, missionaries are not seeking to impose their western culture, but the gospel itself. And the gospel can be adapted to any culture. But after reading how so many missionaries were explicitly involved in the colonialism, not in some tertiary way, but as part and parcel of the mission itself, I can see how many would feel this way. And those they sought to colonize or westernize eventually had enough, as in the sorry case of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman who died in the massacre at Wailatpu. Colonialism or imperialism has now become a liability for the western church and an obstacle to the advance of the gospel. On a related note, I was struck by theme of ethnocentrism, not only in the mission American Indians but also Black Africa. The use of the word “savages” to describe the Natives, the perceived sense of cultural superiority in the way of life, and even the just the utter disdain missionaries had for those they sought to reach all reflect ethnocentric attitudes. In some cases, I was surprised to see these attitudes. I thought to myself, why would you sacrifice so much to travel to a people you seem have contempt for? It seemed to me that western missionaries could find no cultural value in other foreign nations or peoples. Again, this ethnocentrism in part can explain the imperialistic colonization of western missionaries as they joined forces with U.S. or British forces. I’m not sure how pervasive this ethnocentrism was, but it sadly shaped the approach many took to modern missions. This is forever a stain on missions history, but all is not lost. I was amazed as well by how much good was done in these pioneer efforts, and the sacrifices that were paid. A key theme of nearly all of missions history is the theme of sacrifice and the hardships that were faced by all who wanted to venture to foreign lands. Missionaries to Africa were met with disease and wild beasts (with Livingstone surviving an attack by a lion!), others faced persecution and imprisonment. Some faced hunger and harsh living conditions, while many others suffered arduous conditions while traveling across land and sea, while scouting optimal locations for missions outpost. Others were massacred, friendships were torn apart (I think of the Whitmans and their friendship with Henry Spalding. Men lost wives and parents lost children both literally and figuratively. Women who lost children often faced depression and had to deal with the loss without the comfort of their husband. Many lost the support of their missionary board while on the field, others faced conflict and rivalry with other missionaries, and oftentimes missionaries were unfruitful in winning converts. A great many missionary’s lives were cut short. The level of hardship and sacrifice was incredible. Yet, these missionaries counted the cost and were willing to pay the price for the evangelization of foreign nations. This is an incredible testimony to their faith and their commitment to the great commission. This brings me to another sad and shocking theme. And that is the theme of family neglect, in particular among the men. Perhaps I should instead focus on what seems to underly this family neglect, which is the prioritization of the mission over the family. I was struck by how prevalent this was. Men would literally abandon their children and sometimes there wives in order to carry out the mission. If they didn’t outright abandon them, sending them back to Britain, for example to be taken care of by someone else for many years, they would at least be functionally distant and emotionally unavailable. Sometimes, they would travel for years at a time, leaving behind family as they set up new mission posts or tried to learn the language of the natives. Of course, one could just as easily argue the opposite - these men were protecting their children by not bringing them into harsh or dangerous circumstances. After all is said in done, I am amazed by how much the modern missions era was built by sacrificing family for the mission. I suppose I could concede that this was just the price that needed to be paid in order to make headway in global missions. Even so, what a painful and sad sacrifice, especially for the children, who deserved to have their daddy raise them. I can’t imagine just leaving behind my own children for years at a time throughout the course of their lives. I also think of the poor wives who it seemed were often just tagalongs (though another theme could be the incredible contribution many of these wives made) who it seemed were only there to raise the absent father’s kids. I can’t help but wonder how different this history would have been if those men who felt the mission was more important than family simply refused to marry so as not to put women and children in such lonely and vulnerable positions. Finally, on a more positive note, I was encouraged by the Student Volunteer movement and the theme of the strategic importance of college students in foreign missions. Over 20,500 university students were sent as foreign missionaries. I am encouraged by the vision and passion of these men to mobilize students for global missions. If you look at the Cambridge seven, which I heard of but didn’t know a lot about before this, it’s amazing how they viewed their education as a way to serve the missionary enterprise, unlike many of their contemporaries who saw their education as an opportunity for personal gain. These men had bright futures in the world, but they chose to use their education and freedom to be missionaries instead of financial gain. What an encouraging tale. I’m encouraged by how the Cambridge seven can serve as a powerful illustration to use today in mobilizing college students for missions. All in all, this was very informative, and being able to read such a large swath of history helped me better make these connections from one era to another in missions, and one geographic region to another. It didn’t matter which country one served in, there was suffering, hardship, sacrifice, family neglect (mission over family), ethnocentric and imperialistic impulse, and college students being mobilized. After reading this book, more than anything, I am reminded that God uses broken and sinful people to accomplish his global purposes. None of these missionaries was without flaws. Some had serious character defects, while others had shaky theology. I now feel that we should be careful not to romanticize the history of missions, even if there are cool stories about surviving a lion attack or whatever. Nor should we expect the future of the missionary enterprise to be accomplished by anyone but broken, sinful human beings - people who are willing to sacrifice in order to see the glory of God’s name be made famous to every tribe, tongue and nation. That is just how God works, and ultimately it is his work that is being accomplished from ago to age.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nelson Banuchi

    From the the apostle Paul's missionary work in the Roman Empire to Don Richardson's missionary journey to Irian Jaya (now Western New Guinea), Tucker provides an all too honest and wide-ranging history of missions, including the failings as well as the successes of the missionaries. It's a challenging and encouraging read showing that the Gospel, as imperfectly as it may have been messaged and acted upon, is probably the most powerful spiritual force to change individuals and whole societies, ev From the the apostle Paul's missionary work in the Roman Empire to Don Richardson's missionary journey to Irian Jaya (now Western New Guinea), Tucker provides an all too honest and wide-ranging history of missions, including the failings as well as the successes of the missionaries. It's a challenging and encouraging read showing that the Gospel, as imperfectly as it may have been messaged and acted upon, is probably the most powerful spiritual force to change individuals and whole societies, even nations from a condition of darkness and unimagined evil, to the light of Christ that brings men righteousness to their lives and peace in their hearts. Tucker covers all aspect of missionary work from translation to organization of missionary societies, the use of airplanes, radio, and T.V. She covers virtually every country missionaries have set foot on and both well-known, like David Brainard, Willim Carey, Yonggi Cho, and Amy Carmichal (with a chapter on woman missionaries) and unknown missionaries. This should be required reading for all Christians who seek the mission field. My only suggestion is that another book should be written where this one ends as it was written in 1983.

  20. 5 out of 5

    John

    As suggested by the title (an allusion to Acts 1:8), Ruth A. Tucker tells the story of Christian missions from the Apostle Paul through the early 1980s ("From Jerusalem ..." was published in 1983). She does so primarily through biographies-in-miniature -- no more than four or five pages -- of a great number of missionaries. At first, I thought this book seemed daunting. The publisher chose to lay it out in two columns per page, which is intimidating to my eye. Even though I am fascinated by missi As suggested by the title (an allusion to Acts 1:8), Ruth A. Tucker tells the story of Christian missions from the Apostle Paul through the early 1980s ("From Jerusalem ..." was published in 1983). She does so primarily through biographies-in-miniature -- no more than four or five pages -- of a great number of missionaries. At first, I thought this book seemed daunting. The publisher chose to lay it out in two columns per page, which is intimidating to my eye. Even though I am fascinated by missionaries almost to the point of hero worship, I was afraid this book would be dull. But although the missionaries in places did start running together in my mind, "From Jerusalem ..." proved to be as interesting, lively and varied as the missionaries it profiled. Tucker offers her history in an evenhanded way, not glossing over the failures and foibles of the men and women she profiles. These are no plaster saints. God worked through them, or perhaps in spite of them, but not because of them. These were plain old humans, but God used them in remarkable ways as His church grew around the world (if in fits and starts). This sentence, offered in the Postscript, suggests the theme: "The history of both mankind and of missions is a saga checkered by human shortcomings, failures and setbacks." Tucker writes about those shortcomings with unblinking honesty. Her profile of World Vision founder Bob Pierce includes this assessment: "The love that he gave so freely to homeless orphans and ravished flood victims was given so sparingly to the ones who needed it most -- his wife and daughters. His public life and his private life were separated by a great chasm, and few people knew what a troubled and frail human being he actually was. Nevertheless, God used him in a mighty way, and his imprint on the world will not soon be forgotten." This is probably a book only for people who are interested in missions, and it certainly isn't a book to read for laughs. Yet Tucker occasionally displays a sly wit, as in this dig at the great David Livingstone: "Apparently ignoring his own culpability, Livingstone bemoaned his wife's 'frequent pregnancies.'" I'd love to read a sequel covering the next 30 years.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Zachary Guthrie

    I highly recommend this book to anybody wanting a broad-view of mission in interdenominational lines. The book is fair and has moderate opinions of denominations generally. In this light, Tucker brings a summary of Christian missions as the Gospel and discipleship seen through the lens of humanity and humanity’s constant failure. The mission failure is not some ubiquitous of getting sick in some African country and living in mud huts (Tucker does tell those experiences, though with great attenti I highly recommend this book to anybody wanting a broad-view of mission in interdenominational lines. The book is fair and has moderate opinions of denominations generally. In this light, Tucker brings a summary of Christian missions as the Gospel and discipleship seen through the lens of humanity and humanity’s constant failure. The mission failure is not some ubiquitous of getting sick in some African country and living in mud huts (Tucker does tell those experiences, though with great attention to detail as possible.) Throughout the book, additional reading are present to inform the reader for more details about each Christian represented and told in the book. However, I think church fundamentalism in general gets slapped around many times in the book through implication and its generally negative effects on missions. But, I think this implication is exaggerated. The stories that I have found particularly interesting are the horror stories in the early mission boards and their abysmal failure in providing adequate support for many of their missionaries. They wanted their European imperialism and culture to translate into effective Christian missions rather than adapting to the culture in which the missionaries were being sent. These problems hindered many missionaries from staying in the field, and some stayed out in the dark. The European Christian missionaries had the prejudice of a superior civilization in general, but some refuted this notion early on and left a bright example for future missionaries. From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya provides a great persuasion to the focus of Christ and the gospel through missions but makes the reader realize every need for the mission field and the ways that others that went before came and went in the promotion of the Word. These needs include but not limited to financial support from home, prayer, study, intellectuals (education), quality, excellence, and on and on and on…. I high recommend this book to anyone wanting a broad view of missions and possible issues relating to today’s mission context.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dennis Podryadchikov

    I am not sure whether I can recommend this book. If you are looking for stories of great people who went to all kinds of places to evangelize the unreached throughout the centuries, Tucker does an incredible job of providing numerous stories from all over the world. Do not be surprised, however, to discover that those people remained people with their principles, faults, and shortcomings. The missionaries often quarreled among themselves, westernized instead of evangelizing the natives, and some I am not sure whether I can recommend this book. If you are looking for stories of great people who went to all kinds of places to evangelize the unreached throughout the centuries, Tucker does an incredible job of providing numerous stories from all over the world. Do not be surprised, however, to discover that those people remained people with their principles, faults, and shortcomings. The missionaries often quarreled among themselves, westernized instead of evangelizing the natives, and some of the missionaries even took advantage of the naive natives. Nevertheless, many missionaries sacrificed their personal gains, family happiness, their personal safety, and even their own lives to make sure that every person and tribe on earth heard about Jesus and knew about salvation. If you are looking to read about real people on mission fields all over the earth, then this book will enrich your understanding and encourage your ministry and mission for God.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Despond

    Review of 2nd Edition I read this when I was a young lad and it made an impact on my view of missions. The book is engaging since it is biographical. Even though it is very ecumenical in its content, it offers great insight into the lives of those who serve as missionaries. This new version has deleted section IV: The Call For Specialization which deals with Medical Missions, Translation and Linguistics, Radio and Recordings and Missionary Aviation. It also adds a few new chapters to Part II, "Th Review of 2nd Edition I read this when I was a young lad and it made an impact on my view of missions. The book is engaging since it is biographical. Even though it is very ecumenical in its content, it offers great insight into the lives of those who serve as missionaries. This new version has deleted section IV: The Call For Specialization which deals with Medical Missions, Translation and Linguistics, Radio and Recordings and Missionary Aviation. It also adds a few new chapters to Part II, "The Muslim World" and "Korea and Japan." It also adds "Innovation and Ingenuity" to Part III which was the title for Part IV in the original version. This section contains some selections fro the original's section IV (around 7 individuals as opposed to 21). The last part (IV) has a new title and a new chapter titled "Saints and Celebrities."

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    A extensive overview of missions from it's very beginnings to the modern era highlighting key people and events. The brief stories behind each person made what could have been a dry read a little more colorful, but be warned, lots of sad stories (especially romantically) and persevere through the early missionaries who tend to be fairly disappointing, sometimes morally, but more often by the sad fact that they were more often a determent to missions than a help. Over all not bad, I had to read i A extensive overview of missions from it's very beginnings to the modern era highlighting key people and events. The brief stories behind each person made what could have been a dry read a little more colorful, but be warned, lots of sad stories (especially romantically) and persevere through the early missionaries who tend to be fairly disappointing, sometimes morally, but more often by the sad fact that they were more often a determent to missions than a help. Over all not bad, I had to read it for class, but I know some people who read it for pleasure. It is very educational and pulls a lot of widespread information together into one succinct and convenient location, an indispensable tool for anyone wanting a better understanding of missions as a whole.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kyrie

    As nearly as I can remember it teaches that if you marry and take your wife overseas to be missionaries, your wife will 1) go crazy, 2) die or 3) go crazy and then die. You will then 1) marry her sister or 2) leave the children with your fellow missionaries while you go upriver to another mission and troll the single women there until you find one willing to take on the seventeen children your first wife had before she went crazy. To be fair, I have never quite understood foreign missions - seems As nearly as I can remember it teaches that if you marry and take your wife overseas to be missionaries, your wife will 1) go crazy, 2) die or 3) go crazy and then die. You will then 1) marry her sister or 2) leave the children with your fellow missionaries while you go upriver to another mission and troll the single women there until you find one willing to take on the seventeen children your first wife had before she went crazy. To be fair, I have never quite understood foreign missions - seems like it's enough to try to convert one's neighbors without going overseas. I also dislike the way so many of these missionaries not only tried to convert people to their religious point of view, but also their political, cultural, and social ways.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    This was a fun and interesting read. Ruth focuses on the personal stories of individuals and families involved in missions, not leaving out the good, bad, or ugly, but pinpointing the intersection of sin and grace in the human heart. It's pretty cool to see that God uses morally imperfect humans to shine the light of His love and truth in this fallen world. It means that He can use me too, despite my gross failings. It's also neat to see how much God can and does make His children to become more This was a fun and interesting read. Ruth focuses on the personal stories of individuals and families involved in missions, not leaving out the good, bad, or ugly, but pinpointing the intersection of sin and grace in the human heart. It's pretty cool to see that God uses morally imperfect humans to shine the light of His love and truth in this fallen world. It means that He can use me too, despite my gross failings. It's also neat to see how much God can and does make His children to become more and more like Him as they follow His call to a life of joyful obedience.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This one is long, but I often consider reading it again because it was that good. It gives you a history of the world/Church/missions all in one very inspiring, very well-done package. Most of the long chapters are broken up into short biographies of individuals. You come away thinking that God must be behind missions otherwise how would such a bunch of misfits have reached the world? Other times you are inspired by what people are able to bear for Christ. Seriously, this book is a huge recommen This one is long, but I often consider reading it again because it was that good. It gives you a history of the world/Church/missions all in one very inspiring, very well-done package. Most of the long chapters are broken up into short biographies of individuals. You come away thinking that God must be behind missions otherwise how would such a bunch of misfits have reached the world? Other times you are inspired by what people are able to bear for Christ. Seriously, this book is a huge recommend, put it on your must read list.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Welton-Lair

    Although there was nothing wrong with this book per se, it didn't grab my attention at any point and wasn't very unique. It gives a brief biography of many missionaries from the days of the early church to the present. However it gets kind of repetitive as many people have similar stories. Furthermore, although the missionaries had extremely exciting lives, the book was not written in a particular exciting fashion. Instead it lists dry facts about each person and leaves it at that. So although a Although there was nothing wrong with this book per se, it didn't grab my attention at any point and wasn't very unique. It gives a brief biography of many missionaries from the days of the early church to the present. However it gets kind of repetitive as many people have similar stories. Furthermore, although the missionaries had extremely exciting lives, the book was not written in a particular exciting fashion. Instead it lists dry facts about each person and leaves it at that. So although a great informative book, it isn't something I need to read again.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Will Lohnes

    I read this book in 1989 and can still remember the author's intent and purpose. This is the book you should read if you are looking to have an intense overview and direct understanding of Christian missions from the perspective of evangelicals. Tucker is an expert in her field with both personal understanding and historical notations of missionaries, missions, nations, and continents of evangelistic endeavors. This creates a clear and indefatigable progression for the reader who just wants to k I read this book in 1989 and can still remember the author's intent and purpose. This is the book you should read if you are looking to have an intense overview and direct understanding of Christian missions from the perspective of evangelicals. Tucker is an expert in her field with both personal understanding and historical notations of missionaries, missions, nations, and continents of evangelistic endeavors. This creates a clear and indefatigable progression for the reader who just wants to know what happened in the world of missions. This is well worth your time and effort.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Stan

    From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya is a gem of a book. Ruth A. Tucker approaches the history of Christian Missions through short biographies of many missionaries within the history of missions. Her book is heavily focused on more modern times, but that is fine. She presents a wide variety of angles and includes missionaries from the 20th Century. I found this to be an edifying way of approaching her subject, as she includes missionaries' personal struggles and failures alongside their suffering and pe From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya is a gem of a book. Ruth A. Tucker approaches the history of Christian Missions through short biographies of many missionaries within the history of missions. Her book is heavily focused on more modern times, but that is fine. She presents a wide variety of angles and includes missionaries from the 20th Century. I found this to be an edifying way of approaching her subject, as she includes missionaries' personal struggles and failures alongside their suffering and persecution alongside their successes and influence. Excellent book! Enjoy!

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