Campus Location

Abilene Campus

Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2018

ORCID

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6964-3704

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Modern and American Christianity

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Committee Chair

Douglas A. Foster

Second Committee Member

Carisse Mickey Berryhill

Third Committee Member

Yukikazu Obata

Abstract

There was a large increase in the number of Churches of Christ missionaries and missionary efforts following World War II (WWII). There were also significant changes and developments in American religious culture following WWII—Churches of Christ were not exempt from these changes. This study examines the question of how postwar developments in American religion influenced missionary efforts of American Churches of Christ by looking at examples of American missionaries in the Philippines.

The study relies heavily on primary sources, including letters and news reports from archival collections, Churches of Christ periodicals, and email correspondence with people familiar with the main church leaders during this time. Secondary sources set the larger context of postwar American religious culture, especially using the historiographical model of “big religion,” to explain the postwar American religious context. Additionally, secondary sources describe the history of the debate over the use of institutions among Churches of Christ.

American Churches of Christ missionaries brought postwar developments in American religious culture (e.g., institutionalization and professionalization) with them to the mission field. Mainline Churches of Christ trained native preachers and built churches in the Philippines. Their “American” institutions and expectations created problems of reliance on American financial support, which negatively affected their work. Churches of Christ missionaries also brought American theological debates and disagreements with them to the mission field. The noninstitutional debate among American and Filipino members of the Churches of Christ in the Philippines provides a key interpretive lens for understanding the progress of the churches.

Postwar American Churches of Christ missionaries who went to the Philippines were influenced by developments and changes in postwar American religious life. These changes and developments directly influenced their missionary methods in the Philippines, created problems of reliance on U.S. financial support, and led to the introduction of American theological debates.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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