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The Making of a Mission Field: Paradigms of Evangelistic Mission in Europe

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AbstractSince the Second World War Europe has increasingly been considered as a ‘mission field’. Sometimes it is suggested that this belief could only emerge after the collapse of the colonial empires, effectively abolishing the difference between the ‘Christian’ and the ‘pagan’ world. However, this is only partially true. There has always been a strong undercurrent within European churches, especially among missionary practitioners, that Europe was not all that ‘Christian’, even when its institutions and laws were influenced by Christianity. In this article I argue that this consciousness even increased in the post-Reformation centuries. In fact, ‘home missions’ were in every bit a part of the great Protestant missionary movement, just as ‘foreign missions’. Before the 20th century the awareness of Europe as a mission field was embodied in two missionary paradigms that I have termed ‘confessional’ and ‘revivalist’. In the 20th century a new paradigm emerged that I have called ‘ideological’.

Affiliations: 1: VU University Amsterdam the Netherlands Theological University Kampen the Netherlands, Email: s.paas@vu.nl, URL: http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink

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