Evangelicals and mission in the Global South

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The story of evangelicals and mission in the Global South is one of extraordinary expansion and transformation: from a movement with origins in eighteenth-century Europe and North America to a movement of immense dynamism and global reach that, since the eighteenth century, has played a key role in establishing Christianity as the most ubiquitous and culturally diverse religion on the planet. The Christian population of the world was estimated in 2010 at around 2.2 billion people. Of these an estimated 820 million could be described as evangelicals (defined here as including Pentecostals/Neo-Pentecostals, but excluding denominational charismatics). Of those 820 million, evangelicals in Asia, Africa and Latin America alone comprise around 690 million (nearly 85 per cent). Since the eighteenth century, evangelicals have also demonstrated a profound ability to indigenize and adapt evangelical belief and practice to the diverse historical and geographical circumstances of the Global South.

The purpose of this chapter is to survey both the history and historiography of evangelicals and mission in the Global South. It is naturally impossible in a chapter of this size to assess adequately the historical development and influence of hundreds of diverse evangelical missions on a truly global stage over a span of nearly three hundred years. This chapter will therefore approach the topic in two complementary ways: first, through a historical survey that follows the broader contours of the course and impact of evangelical missions in the Global South, from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries; and second, through a discussion of key themes and issues in the historiography of evangelicals and mission in the Global South. Attention will be given in both cases to the broader cultural, social, intellectual and political contexts that have shaped – and been shaped by – the evangelical mission project.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge research companion to the history of Evangelicalism
EditorsAndrew Atherstone, David Ceri Jones
Place of PublicationOxon, UK
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781315613604
ISBN (Print)9781472438928
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Evangelicalism


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