The Reformed Church Center Looks at Early Choices in Middle-Eastern Missions
When we think of missionaries, we think of people going out to proclaim the Gospel to all the world. So, why are so many Christian missions doing medical work? How did that begin?
William Ruggles Church, the 2020-2021 Albert A Smith Fellow in Reformed Church History, will present the results of his own exploration of that question in “Samuel Zwemer’s Mission Motivations: The Relationship of Medical Care And Evangelism” on Wednesday, December 8, from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm on Zoom. Church is a physician specializing in radiology who spent much of his career doing medical mission work, bringing diagnostic ultrasound machines to mission hospitals. In 2018, he received an MA degree from Western Theological Seminary, and he continues to study the work of RCA missionaries and especially medical missions as part of his Ph.D. candidacy at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. His fellowship project—postponed from last academic year by the pandemic—is looking at the question of why medical missions are so often chosen as an evangelism tool, and why, in particular, Samuel Zwemer and James Cantine chose this emphasis for the Middle Eastern missions begun in 1889.
Church’s presentation will be followed by a response from James Jinhong Kim, the Horace G. Underwood Chair in Global Christianity and Associate Professor of Missiology and Global Christianity at NBTS. Kim holds degrees from William Jessup University, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Columbia University, and directs the Doctor of Ministry cohort in Missiology and Global Christianity. His book, Global Christianity and the Early Letters of Horace G. Underwood, is due to be published soon by Pickwick Publications/Wipf & Stock.
The response will be followed by a time of open questions and discussion by all participants.