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Boundless Salvation

The Shorter Writings of William Booth

Edited By Andrew M Eason and Roger J. Green

William Booth (1829–1912) is remembered for the major role he played in founding the Salvation Army, an evangelical organization now operating in more than 120 countries. Few people, however, are aware of the fact that Booth was also a prolific author. During his long lifetime he wrote countless articles and speeches on a variety of topics, ranging from Christian doctrine to female ministry and missionary work. The most important of these shorter writings are presented in one volume for the first time here, along with perceptive commentary by two leading scholars of the Salvation Army. Boundless Salvation: The Shorter Writings of William Booth convincingly demonstrates that Booth’s enormous accomplishments arose from deeply held religious convictions. It argues persuasively that his life and ministry must be understood in relation to the Methodist theology and transatlantic revivalism that inspired and guided him. By showcasing and analyzing these religious contexts, this edited collection sheds considerable light on a towering figure of the Victorian period. In the process, it offers valuable insight into the origins and development of the Salvation Army, one of the most remarkable organizations to arise during the nineteenth century. Boundless Salvation: The Shorter Writings of William Booth will appeal to a broad readership, especially to those with an interest in religion and history.
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Chapter 5. Missions and Missionaries


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Missions and Missionaries

Expansion overseas became a leading objective of the western church from the late 18th century to the early 20th century. In addition to promoting the cause of foreign missionary work on the home-front, most denominations planted roots in various regions of the non-Christian world. At the forefront of these efforts were British churches, which supplied more Protestant missionaries to the field than either continental Europe or the United States. Anglican, Baptist, Congregationalist and Methodist missionary societies—along with many newer evangelical organizations like the China Inland Mission and the Salvation Army—were collectively sponsoring over 4,000 British missionaries in foreign lands by the late 1880s.1 These impressive numbers continued to climb in the 1890s, aided by record levels of missionary fundraising and recruitment. Such support, especially among women, remained strong through 1914, reflecting the prominence of overseas missions in Victorian and Edwardian religious culture. Promoted widely in exhibitions, lantern shows, periodicals, textbooks and biographies, missionary work held out the hope that the entire world could be won for Jesus Christ.2

Despite this profound optimism, some began to wonder if the churches were up to the challenge that lay before them. In certain Christian circles there was a mounting conviction that missionaries were not taking full advantage of the unprecedented evangelistic opportunities in the global south and east. It was pointed out, for instance, that conversions were not keeping pace with the increasing population...

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