"Missiology's Place in the Academy"



Fr. Edward Rommen





For decades the parochial skepticism of the traditional theological disciplines kept missiology at a distance.  Theology has never been characterized by open opposition to missions. But by turning a polite but deaf ear, it left both missiology and theology without the advantages of cross-fertilization. 

All of that has now changed.  Or so it seems.  Today there are few, if any,  evangelical seminaries in which the systematic, scientific study of the Church's missionary responsibility has not been accepted as part of the regular curriculum.  Most academic institutions recognize,  


that Missiology belongs in the curriculum, not as a guest afforded only occasional and fragmentary treatment under historical, practical or other disciplines, but rather as an independent field of study.[1]

In spite of these positive developments, missiology still  faces a persistent challenge to its professional identity.  The crisis issues from a bipolar constellation of questions.  On the one hand, the academy's attitude toward missiology is still characterized by skepticism, which hinders integration.  This stance is expressed in the academic community's insistence upon locating missiology in the domain of the practical sciences.  Surely, the discipline does involve issues of praxis.  However, the assignment tends to disqualify academically those aspects of missiology which, because of their theoretical nature, must be conducted in the same manner as the traditional theological disciplines.  So we need to ask: What is missiology?  Where does it fit into the framework of the academy? Is it an academic discipline?

On the other hand, the academy has moved strongly toward specialization and this has has occasioned considerable confusion.  Although specialization is in keeping with recent trends in education, research, and even management, it does create difficulties for an academic activity which is inter-disciplinary by definition.  For example, the degree of expertise required by specialization within missiology can become counterproductive.  Specialists tend to overassert their own autonomy loosing sight of interdisciplinary concerns.  Some are simply repossessed by a parent discipline.[2]  In any case, specialization can lead to a loss of missiology's distinctive character.

In order to address these issues and propose a corrective, it will be necessary to review the history of the discipline's entry into the academy, evaluate the inadequacies of our conceptualization of the discipline, and formulate suggestions for restoring and maintaining missiology's proper place.



Academic interest in the systematic study of missions developed as the result of a logical progression of thought. The bridge to the academy was initially established as a response to the dramatic rise in missionary activity which grew out of early German pietistism.  Once the Reformation's initial reluctance[3] had been overcome and the first Protestant missionaries had been commissioned, the need for additional training became apparant.  One of the earliest protestant attempts to integrate missions and academy came in the Netherlands. In 1622, the University of Leiden allowed the establishment of the seminarium indicum, which, as the name indicates, was designed to provide training for the missionaries working in the Dutch East Indies. Prospective missionaries were required to complete all the regular courses in theology as well as courses in non-Christian religions and in the Mayla language.  Unfortunately the seminary was forced to close after only ten years of service.

A similar idea was realized in 1702 when August Herman Franke established the collegium orientale theologicum at the University of Halle.  Once again the object of the new seminary was the training of missionaries, in this case for service in India.[4]


Interestingly, the personal involvement of theologians in missions does not appear to have impacted their work as theologians. Commenting on Franke's work, Myklebust writes:As far as we know . . . Franke's missionary nterests and activities did not directly affect his work as a professor of theology in the University of Halle. His introduction to the study of theology contains no reference to the task of foreign missions.[5]

Nevertheless, the continued missionary activity of the Church did capture the attention of the theological community; and during the latter half of the 18th century, an increasing number of professors began to weave missions-related topics into the fabric of their regular lectures.[6]

By the beginning of the 19th century the formalization of missiology's position in the academy was well under way.  A few professors began to offer lectures devoted soley to missions.  In 1800, J.F. Flatt gave a lecture on the history of the Danish Halle Mission at the university of Tübingen.  A few years latter, in 1825, F.C. Kraft offered a series of lectures on the history of missions at the University in Erlangen.

Of even greater significance was the fact that the works on theological encyclopedia which appeared at this time provided a theoretical framework which afforded missions a legitimate place among theological disciplines.  In his Kurze Darstellung des theologischen Studiums published in 1811, F.D. Schleiermacher  developed the science[7] of theology as an integrated whole, the primary value of which is to be seen in its relationship to the practical needs of the Church.  He refers to theology as the


collective embodiment of those branches of scientific knowledge and those rules of art without the possesions and application of which a harmonious guidance of the Church is not possible.[8]

As he conceived of it, theology could be divided into three major areas: philosophical, historical and practical.  In the second edition of this work, he included the study of mission with catechetic under practical theology.


Conditionally the theory of Missions might also find a point of connexion here; a theory which, up to the present time, is as good as altogether wanting.[9]

Similarly Ehrenfeuchter, Professor of Theology at the University in Göttingen, made missions a part of his lectiones publicae and included missions as a fundemental part of his Praktische Theologie.  In that work, published in 1859, he develops a theological system based upon three functions of the Church: expansion, presentation, and preservation.  Expansion is defined in terms of conversion of the heathen, sending, preaching and church planting.  Thus, missions is viewed as a basic, essential function of the Church.[10]  On the integration of mission and Church he writes:


The greater the degree to which a conscious awareness of the Church characterizes missionary work, the more likely it (mission) is it to view itself as an activity which flows from and benefits the Church; on the other hand, the greater the degree to which the work of mission remains part of the Churches awareness, the more likely it (the Church) is going to recognize the fact that it owes its existence to the preaching of the Gospel from which it has grown.[11]

There was a definite movement in the direction of instituting a formal chair of missiology at the academy.  First steps in this direction were taken at Princeton Seminary.  In 1830, a special committee, which had been appointed to study the possibility of establishing a missions department at the seminary, recommended to the General Assembly that a Professor of Pastoral Theology and Missionary Instruction be appointed.  It was resolved


That the said Professor have committed to him the instruction in every thing which relates to the Pastoral office, and that he be especially charged with collecting and imparting instruction on the subject of Missions; and with using all proper means, by public lectures, and private interviews, to promote among all the students an enlarged spirit of pastoral fidelity, of Missionary zeal, and of liberal preparation and active effort for the advancement of the Redeemer's Kingdom.[12]

With the implementation of this plan in 1836 Princeton became the first institution of higher education to support, at least in part, a chair of missions study.  In a way analogous to Schleiermacher's scheme, the Princeton professorship of mission was included under and combined with practical theology.  As such, it cannot be considered fully autonomous, i.e., the study of mission had not yet attained the status of an independent field of study.[13]  That step was taken by the Free Church of Scotland.

The idea of an academic study of mission had been promoted by Free Church misionaries for some time.  During his studies at St. Andrews (1821-1829), Alexander Duff was struck by the absence of courses on missions and evangelism.  He wrote:


When passing through the theological curriculum of St. Andrews, I was struck markedly with this circumstance, that throughout the whole course of the curriculum of four years  not one single allusion was ever made to the subject of the world's evangelization--the subject which constitutes the chief end of the Christian Church on earth.[14]

This concern was later translated into agitation for the idea of a missionary professorship.  Duff, by this time a missionary in India, first aired the idea in a letter dated January 20, 1844.  In it he hints "at a new professorship in the Free Church College."  Not long thereafter Duff had an opportunity to fill the Chair of Theology vacated by the death of Chalmers in 1847.  Duff refused the offer, not wanting to abandon his calling to missionary service.  That sentiment was echoed by a number of his colleagues, who at the same time provided additional impetus for the idea of a professor of missions.  For example, fellow missionary A. F. Lacroix, wrote


I will not say either that I would not rejoice to see you some time hence appointed even Professor at the new Edingurgh University; but let me be well understood--not to one of the ordinary Chairs of Theology. 


Why, for instance should not a Chair be erected at its new University to be called the "Missionary" or "Evangelistic" chair, having for its object to impart information and instruction regarding that most interesting and important portion of the Christian system--the universal spread of our Lord's kingdom over the earth?[15]

After a long period of germination, the vision of a full professor of mission became a reality. In 1867, the General Assembly adopted a committee report advocating the institution of a professorship for missions.  Duff was appointed to that position and inducted into the office of Professor of Evangelistic Theology.  In his inaugural address, Duff dealt with the question of the scope and subdivisions of evangelistic theology.  Issues he proposed to incorporate in the curriculum included:


(1) The supreme importance of missions as variously shown from the revealed word of God.

(2) The obligations which arise out of the preceding. . .

(3) The obstacles and hindrances to the faithful discharge of these obligations within the Church.

(4) The work to be done among the heathen, and the various ways and modes of doing it. . . .

(5) Missionaries--their call; qualifications, natural and acquired; their training and employment; . . .

(6) The special duties which the Church at home owes to the missionaries . . .

(7) Sketches of the history of missions . . .

(8) The present aspects and prospects of the missionary enterprise throughout the world, . . .

(9) Misrepresentations and objections considered and removed.[16]

The installation of Duff was a historic occasion.  For the first time, a full-time chair solely devoted to the subject of missions had been inaugurated.[17]  In spite of whatever weaknesses Duff's teaching may have shown and irrespective of history's evaluation of his efforts,[18] the fact remains that a major academic institution had accepted in principle and practice the idea of the science of mission.  Unfortunately, that success was not long lived.

Duff passed away in 1878 and his successor was not appointed until 1880.  At that time the discusion which had preceded Duff's appointment resurfaced, and there was no concensus as to what the Chair was established to do.  As a result, there was a feeling that the second occupant of the Chair was likely to be the last.

Indeed, that was to be the case.  A commission was appointed in 1891 to review the whole system of chairs at the three colleges.  As a result the concept of the chair of missions was weakened.  The occupant was to be appointed for a limited period of time (three years) and more of an emphasis was to be placed on the subject of home missions.  Funding was gradually redirected to home missions projects.  The chair was reduced to a lectureship and was finally abandoned by decision of the General assemmbly in 1909.

The final stage in the formalization of missiology's position at the academy was achieved by Gustav Warneck at the University of Halle.  In 1897 he was appointed professor for Missionswissenschaft and became the first fully accredited  professor to hold a chair devoted solely to the study of mission. He is said  to have once and for all established the academic legitimacy of the discipline.[19] Part of his contribution is to be seen in his efforts to establish a base of missiological literature.  His own multi-volumed Evangelische Missionslerhe became a standard reference tool.  Warneck also inaugurated Die Allgemeine Missionszeitschrift in 1887, a journal of missiology, which established a public, literary forum for the developing discipline.[20]

Missiology's development as a discipline is rather typical of the way in which new fields of study are introduced to the academy.  We have observed that increased missionary activity led to the need for formal training specifically designed to equip individuals for the missionary task.  That, in turn, led  a number of professors already personally involved in missions to incorporate missions-related topics into their regular lectures.  This was followed by the introduction of formal lectures and finally professorships of mission. Thus, missiology found its way into the academy.




Unfortunately, neither Duff or Graul had much success in promoting the general academic acceptance of missiology in their day.  Even Warneck complained that the theological community was reluctant to accept the new discipline.  In spite of the progress which has been made to date, a satisfactory level of academic acceptance and integration has not yet been achieved.  As history shows, many of missiology's academic advances have been short lived resulting in a cyclical pattern of success and failure.  It seems as though the process of formalization is caught in a endless loop which has fixed its evolution at a particular stage.  This failure can be traced to an inadequate conceptualization of missiology as a discipline.

According to the Oxford Dictionary of English a discipline is "a branch of instruction of education; a department of learning or knowledge; a science or art in its educational aspect."[21]  This usage is based on the term's development as an antithesis to the idea of "doctrine."[22]  A doctrine or an abstract theory is the possession of a teacher.  The activity of imparting that material to students is what characterizes a discipline.  This implies that a discipline should have a special "doctrine" or set of theories, including a base of supporting literature; a cadré of experts, trained in and able to impart those theories; a limited or clearly defined scope, i.e., field of study; and a clear definition of its relationship to the area of knowledge of which it is a branch.  It is in these very areas that missiology has experienced difficulty.

In the case of a discipline's need to possess a set of abstract theories, it should be pointed out that missiology developed as a response to a more or less spontaneous but officially eschewed activity.  As a result, it can hardly have been expected to enter the academy with a set of theories.  What it brought was a mandate to action, and theoretical constructs have generally been afterthoughts in missiology.

As for a pool of experts many of missiology's achievements have been the result of inter-disciplinary efforts.  Even individual contributions have been made by scholars who, although members of the missiological community, were trained in other disciplines and who made extensive if not exclusive, use[23] of other fields of study.  In what sense, then, do missiologists represent anything other than the discipline in which they had been trained.

With regard to the need for a clearly limited field of study let it be noted that missiology's interests include such apparently diverse areas of study as cultural anthropology,  non-Christian religions, exegesis, statistics, systematic theology, and audience analysis.  The result is a rather confusing plethora of sub-disciplines, an unmanageable proliferation of domains.[24]  This leads to superficial treatment of the subject matter as well as unnecessary duplication of efforts.  A number of the activities claimed by missiology are already being covered by traditional theological disciplines.  We at least need to ask: How does the theology of mission differ from systematic theology?  How does the theory of mission differ from evangelism and church planting as covered by practical theology?



Several things are going to have to be done in order to establish missiology's rightful place in the academy.   

First, we will need to reassert the primacy of the Church's missionary responsibility.  The necessity of missions can be established with reference to our doctrine of scripture and salvation.

The relationship between one's understanding of Scripture and the motivation for mission is best described in terms of the absolute authority of the Bible. As Hanry puts it,


The first claim to be made for Scripture is not its inerrancy or even its inspiration, but its authority. Standing in the forefront of prophetic, apostolic proclamation is the divine authority of scripture as the one/fully authoritative Word of God.[25]

It is this belief in the binding authority of the Bible which has provided one of the most powerful motivational factors in the history of missions.  As early as the end of the 16th century the call for a return to active fulfillment of the "Great Commission" could be heard. In 1592, e.g., Adrian Savaria wrote: "The command to preach the Gospel to the heathen was not only valid for the apostolic age, it applies to all ages until the the end of time."[26] With those words he openly rejected the parochial understanding of the reformation Churches. Another pioneer, Justianius von Welz, accused the theologians of deliberately misinterpreting the clear command of our Lord.[27]  But these appeals were largely ignored, and the breakthrough did not come until the end of the 18th century. In 1792, William Carey published his Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathen.[28] In it he argues that, since Christ's command was never rescinded, we are under just as much of an obligation to obey it as were the early Christians. His book sparked a renewed interest in missions, and "obedience" became the primary motivational factor in the modern missions movement.

Present day evangelical efforts to recruit new workers are characterized by the same emphasis.  For example, at the Urbana Conference in 1979 four major papers were addressed to the theme "The obedience of the Messenger." During the keynote message Billy Graham ended with the words, "It is my prayer that you will believe and obey."[29]

According to evangelical soteriology the necessity of missions develops out of man's spiritual need and God's offer of salvation.  These two propositions lead to the conviction that a) individual conversion is the most pressing need of mankind and, for that reason, the obvious goal of mission, and b) it is a most urgent task of the Church.[30]

If it can be established that missionary responsibility  belongs to the very essence of the Church: and, if the seminary exists to serve and equip the Church, then missions should be no less of a concern at the seminary than it should be in the Church.  Missions should be an active concern of every discipline, every professor, and every student.

Second, we will have to redefine the disciplinary base of missiology.  As has already been pointed out, there are a number of difficulties associated with trying to force missiology into the traditional disciplinary mold.  Perhaps this has something to do with the very definition of missions and the nature of missiology. For the purposes of this paper, missions could be defined as a function of the Church which involves 1) the sending of delegates in order to proclaim the gospel to the non-Christian world, 2)  making disciples, which includes bringing men to the point of conversion, teaching them all that Christ had commanded and establishing the Church, and 3) focusing these efforts on all nations, i.e., ethnic groupings, of the world. 

Missiology could then be simply defined as the study of all aspects of missions. Given our definition of missions, this study would naturally fall into four areas: 1) The survey of missions, which is a description of the current state of the Church's mission on the basis of reliable verifiable information;  2) The history of missions, which analyses missionary activity in the past by asking how  and under what conditions Christianity was spread;  3) Theology of Mission which is to provide a delineation of the basis, the  nature, the motive, and the resources of mission based on biblical as well as anthropological material; 4) Theory of mission  strategy involves an examination of the practical steps required for the fulfillment of the Great Commission, such as evangelism and church planting.  This has to do with the application of the theology of mission.

Each one of these four subdivisions is a  legitimate discipline in its own right.  This can be seen from the fact a) that they are rational (scientific) activities, b) that they deal with phenomena which are demonstrably discipline specific, and c) that they have established their own "internal" set of ground rules for dealing with said phenomena.[31]   

As for the claim to scientific status,  let it be noted  that all of missiology's subdivisions are executed using a specific methodology and are formulated in terms of axiomatic summary statements which are evaluated in terms of generally accepted criteria.[32]  In other words, they are carried out in a logically consistent and systematic way. 

With regard to the specificity of the phenomena dealt with, we must admit to a great deal of overlap with other theological disciplines.  However,  missiological disciplines, although they presuppose and depend upon traditional theological disciplines,  are in a position to make unique contributions.  In that sense missiological disciplines should be viewed as being derived from what we could call parent disciplines.[33]  In the area of Church history,  missiology is particularly suited for the task of documenting  the development of mission societies, providing biographies of missionaries, and analysing the circumstances under which Christianity was introduced to various countries. In the realm of theology, missiology seeks to contribute on the basis of its special access to non-Christian religions and cross-cultural data. In each case the work done by the missiologist will have to be executed in a manner acceptable to the parent discipline.  The missiological disciplines function to facilitate the flow of data at the confluence of traditional theological activity and the "real time" execution of the Church's missionary mandate. 

From what has been said thus far, it should be obvoius that, whereas the four subdivisions of missiology may rightly be considered academic disciplines, this cannot be said of missiology in general.  The traditional idea of a discipline is, in part, based on a form of reductionism.  That is, on the assumption that complex systems have to be broken down into their smallest component parts in order to make complex systems and subjects more manageable.  In his book The Fifth Discipline, Peter M. Senge suggests that this approach exacts an enormous price. He says:


We can no longer see the consequences of our actions; we lose our intrinsic sense of connection to a larger whole.  When we then try to 'see the big picture,' we try to reassemble the fragments in our minds, to list and organize all the pieces.  But, as physicist David Bohm says, the task is futile--similar to trying to reassemble the fragments of a broken mirror to see a true reflection.  Thus, after a while we give up trying to see the whole altogether.[34]

This tendency is quite obvious in the case of missiology.  Given the sheer vastness of human experiences it must deal with, it seems quite natural to subdivide it, i.e., to break it down into manageable packets.  One of the greatest weaknesses of this approach is that the resulting disciplines tend to become isolated.  Thus, theology of mission as taught by a missiologist could develop in such a was as to have only limited impact on the development of mission strategies.  That will be true, that is, unless we find some way of coordinating or synthesizing the work being done by all sub-divisions.  This appears to be the task of missology.  It is a meta-disciplinary activity designed to integrate, synthesize, and define the work of and the relationships between the four missiological disciplines.

This will have to be taken a step further in order to include the traditional, parent disciplines.  If, as we have observed, missiological disciplines assume the work done by the traditional disciplines, then they too will have to be included in the feedback loop.  Missiology provides an interface between the world and the theological community by providing data gathered within its own unique domains in an attempt to keep the academy in touch with the world it is supposed to be serving.

  This is somewhat analogous to what industry refers to as a "quality circle,"[35]  a special working group which brings together experts from various departments in order to focus on joint or corporate concerns.  These groups tend to sidestep the hierarchical structure and provide paths of communication and cross-fertilization which are generally not available to its members. 

If the seminary is serving the Church as a whole and if the Church's basic function is world mission, then it seems appropriate to have our own kind of "quality circle." Missiology could assume quality circle function in the academy by focusing attention on the corporate commission and synthesizing the work being done by the traditional disciplines and the missiological disciplines in order to provide proper interface with the world.

Third, we will need to establish a structural framework within which integration, acceptance, and the full potential of interdisciplinary activity will be encouraged.  There are at least three possible models.

One approach would be to disband the present department of mission and reassign its present members.  Each of the traditional disciplines would be required to hire one professor, qualified according to departmental standards, who would concentrate on the missionary aspects of that particular domain.  The advantages of this approach are numerous.  For one thing, it would be difficult for the traditional departments to withhold acceptance, and integration would be virtually assured.  The disadvantages lie in the fact that the proximity to and priorities of the parent discipline would force mission into retreat and isolate this part of missiology from its other domains.  Missiological disciplines could disappear.

Another model would involve retaining the present arrangement of departments.  The advantages of this arrangement lie in the independence and freedom of academic movement it affords.  Missiology is, at present, free to pursue any field of study it deems useful and is free to do so according to its own methodology.  The primary disadvantage lies in the relatively high degree of isolation the department experiences.  This is not meant to suggest that no other departments experience isolation but merely the fact that an interdisciplinary activity cannot survive in isolation from the disciplines to which it is related.  Independence at the price of isolation is unacceptable and counterproductive.

 The best approach might be to redefine the present department of mission in terms of its interdisciplinary nature. Academy-wide acceptance could be secured by having the members of the missions department examined by the department which is most closely related to the professor's area of expertise.  For example, professors with a primary responsibility for the theology of mission could be examined by both the missions department and the systematic theology department, those in history of missions by the Church History Department, etc.

Integration could be facilitated in a number of ways.  Team teaching and joint research projects, for example, afford missiologists the opportunity of working directly with colleagues of the parent disciplines.  Other possibilities include inter-disciplinary colloquia, a resource center, specialized forums for professional development, and inner-departmental forums designed to allow professors to share and discuss research projects, concerns, and new ideas.  These activities are all relatively costly.  That is, they require additional time commitment.  The academy, however,  rarely provides these kinds of luxuries.  Its members are kept so busy with teaching, writing, and committees, that there is very little time or motivation for extracurricula activity.  It seems that only an institutional commitment[36] in the form of structural reorganization will create the kind of framework needed.





Missiology deserves a place of full acceptance and integration in the academy.  Missions is a fundamental function of the Church and should for that reason find a prominent place in the seminary.  Missiology integrates four academically legitimate disciplines and this integration can serve as an invaluable interface.  Missiology is the academy's door to the world.





Bavinck, J. H. An Introduction to the Science of Missions. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1960.


Briggs, John and F. David Peat. Turbulent Mirror. An Illustrated Guide to Chaos Theory and the Science of Wholness. New York: Harper and Row, 1989.


Bürkle, Horst. Missionstheologie. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1979.


Carey William.  An Enquiry. Leicester: 1792; reprint, Dallas: Criswell Publications, 1988.


Glazik, J. "Was ist Missionswissenschaft?" In Was ist Theologie? edited by E. Neuhäusler and E. Gössmann, 369-384.  Munich: Kaiser, 1967.


Henry, Carl H., God, Revelation and Authority. Vol IV. Waco: Word Books, 1980.


Joest, Wilfried. Dogmatik Bd: 1 Die Wirklichkeit Gottes. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1987.


Katzan, H. Quality Circle Management: The Human Side of Quality.  Blueridge Summit: TAB Books, 1989.


Kähler, Martin. Schriften zu Christologie und Mission, München: Kaiser Verlag, 1971.


Myklebust, Olav Guttorm. Misjonskunnskap. Oslo: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 1976.


  1. The Study of Missions in Theological Education. Oslo: Egede Institut, 1955.


Ohm, Thomas. Machet zu Jüngern alle Völker. Theorie der Mission. Freiburg im Breisgau: Erich Wewel Verlag, 1962.


Oepke, P. "K. Grauls Bedeutung für die deutsche Missionswissenschaft und das deutsche Missionsleben."  Allgemeine Missions-Zeitschrift  (1917): 314-323.


Pannenberg, Wolfhardt. Systematische Theologie Band 1. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1988.


________. Wissenschaftstheorie und Theologie. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1973.


Rosenkranz, G. "Missionswissenschaft als Wissenschaft." Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche. 53(1956): 103-127.


Scherer, James "Missiology as a Discipline." Missiology. 15 (Oct. 1987): 507-522.


Scholz, Heinrich (ed.). Schleiermachers kurze Darstellung des Theologischen Studiums. Leipzig: A. Deichert'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1935.


________. "Wie ist eine evangelische Theologie als Wissenschaft möglich?' Zwischen den Zeiten  9(1931): 8-53.


Schomerus, H. W. Missionswissenscaft. Leipzig: Verlag Quelle und Meyer, 1935.


Senge. Peter.  The Fifth Discipline. New York: Doubleday, 1990.


Simpson, A. B. "A Missionary Cry."  In Hymns of the Christian Life, edited by  R. K. Carter  and A. B. Simpson.  New York: Christian Alliance Publishig Co., 1891.


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Stampe, L. "Collegium de cursu Evangelii promovendo." In Dansk Teologisk Tidskrift (1946): 65-88.


Tippett, Alan. Introduction to Missiology. Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1987.


Thomas, Norman E. "From Missions to Globalization: Teaching Missions in North American Seminaries." International Bulletin. 13(July 1989): 103-107


Wagner, Falk. "Über die Legetimität der Mission." In  Theologische Existenz Heute.154, (1968).

Warneck, Gustav. "Das Studium der Mission. Wie ist es am praktischsten einzurichten?" Allgemeine Missions-Zeitschrift. (1907): 493-509



Warneck, Gustav. "Eine Bitte der Mission and die Vertreter der wissenschaftlichen Theologie." Allgemeine Missions-Zeitschrift. (1890): 80-82.


  1. Evangelische Missionslehre. Gotha: Friedrich A. Berthes, 1897.


________. "Zur apologetischen Bedeutung der Heidenmission." Allgemeine Missions-Zeitschrift. (1883): 96-105, 145-169, 305-321.


Weber, Otto. Grundlagen der Dogmatik. Neukirchen: Neukierchener Verlag, 1987.


Zöckler, D. "Mission und Wissenschaft."  Allgemeine Missions-Zeitschrift. (1877): 3-16,49-61.

[1] Beschluß des deutschen Theologentages, Marburg 1950.

[2] Increased specialization has certainly begun to undermine missiology in Europe.  At almost every major university professors of mission have been forced to concentrate their efforts on some aspect of missiology such as ecumenism or comparative religions.  A number of chairs have been lost to other disciplines and not replaced.  A case in point, when the professor of missiology at the university of Würzburg, Germany retired in 1983 the chair was redefined to emphasize the study of non-Christian religions in order to accommodate the expertise of its next occupant.  Within a short time the new professor switched to another department (philosophy) taking the chair with him.


[3] This reluctance was based in part on dogmatic consideration as reflected, for example in Johan Gerhard's statement that "mandatum praedicandi evangelium in toto terrarum orbe cum apostolis desiit" Loci Theologici Vol VI (1868), 145 quoted in Olav Guttorum Myklebust The Study of Missions in Theological Education Vol. 1. (Oslo: Eggede Institue,  1955), 42.


[4]Collegium de cursu evangelii promovendo represents yet another effort to provide systematic training for missionaries in an academic setting. L. Stampe. "Collegium de cursu Evangelii promovendo," Dansk Teologisk Tidskrift (1946): 65-88.


[5] Myklebust, 52.


[6] Ibid., 53-55.


[7] According to Schleiermacher's scheme theology is to be viewed as a positive science. Scholz, Heinrich (ed.). Schleiermachers kurze Darstellung des Theologischen Studiums. (Leipzig: A. Deichert'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1935), 1. Compare Wolfhart Pannenberg. Theology and the Philosophy of Science. (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1976), 248-250.


[8] Scholz, Schleiermacher, 2.


[9] Ibid., 114.

[10] Compare Falk Wagner. "Über die Legetimität der Mission." Theologische Existenz Heute 154, 1968.


[11] F. A. E. Ehrenfeuchter. Die Praktische Theologie Vol. I. (1859), 210 quoted in Myklebyst, 90-91.

[12] Ibid, 147.  This should not be taken to mean that interest  in mission died out. Quite to the contrary many of the Princeton Professors including Archibald Alexander and Charles Hodge were enthusiastic supporters of foreign missions.


[13] By 1855, the subject of mission was no longer listed in the Seminary's annual catalogue.  Myklebyst, 149.

[14] Proceedings and Debates of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland, (1867), 51 quoted in Myklebyst, 168.


[15] Letter from Alexander Duff, being a Statement of Reasons for declining the Proposed Permanent Recall from India to Scotland (1849), 27 quoted in Mykklebyst, 175.


[16] Ibid., 198-199.


[17] At about the same time Karl Graul was appointed to be professor of missions history at the university of Erlangen.  See  Oepke. "K. Grauls Bedeutung für die deutsche Missionswissenschaft und das deutsche Missionsleben."  Allgemeine Missions-Zeitschrift (1917): 314-323.


[18] Based on student reaction some historians suggest that Duff's work as a professor was a failure. Myklebust, 213-226.


[19] According to Warneck missiology is related to the other disciplines in such a way "daß ihr nicht bloß ein Gast- sondern ein Hausrecht in der theologischen Wissenschaft gebührt und sie es also nicht als eine Gunst zu erbetteln, vielmehr als ein Recht zu fordern ist, in den Organismus derselben eingereiht zu werden." Gustav Warneck, "Das Studium der Mission auf der Universität." Allgemeine Missions-Zeitschrift, (1877): 209.


[20] Since Warneck, a number of theologians have continued the development of the discipline, e.g., Martin Kaehler, J. H. Bavinck, H. Kraemer, Horst Bürkle, and Peter Beyerhaus.


[21] Oxford Dictionary of English Vol III. (Oxford:Clarendon Press, 1978), 416.


[22] "Discipline, as pertaining to the disciple or scholar is antithetical to doctrine, the property of the doctor or teacher; hence, in the history of the words, doctrine is more concerned with abstract theory and discipline with practice or exercise." Oxford Dictionary of English  Vol. III, 415.


[23] This is not to say that one discipline may not make use of another.  Consider the example given in the Suplement to the Oxford Dictionary of English Vol I, p. 814 Taken from Lancet 13 Jan 113/1 1962. "Sir Lenard Parsons... had been the first to draw into the paediatrics of his time other disciplines such as biochemistry and immunology."


[24] See, for example, Alan Tippett. Introduction to Missiology. (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1987),  xxv.


[25]C. Henry: God, Revelation and Authority. Vol IV (Waco: Word Books, 1980), 27.


[26] Adrian Savaria. De Diversis Ministrorum Evangelii Gradibus, sicut a Domino fuerunt instituti, et traditi ab Apostolis ac perpetuo omnium Ecclesiarum usu confirmati. (London, 1590), 37-39.


[27] W. Grössel. Justianius von Welz, der Vorkämpfer der lutherischen Mission. (Leipzig, 1891),  78.


[28] W. Carey. Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathen.  (Leichester, 1792).


[29] Billy Graham. "That I Might Believe and Obey," in Believing and Obeying Christ. ed. J. W. Alexander. (Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press, 1980), 143-153.


[30] The prospect of a world dying without Christ is and should be unsettling to every Christian. This was expressed by A. B. Simpson in the text of one of his hymns." A hundred thousand souls a day, are passing one by one away, in Christless quilt and gloom. Without one ray or hope or light, with future dark as endless night, they're passing to their doom."  "A Missionary Cry", in Hymns of the Christian Life, ed. R. K. Carter  and A. B. Simpson, (New York: Christian Alliance Publishig Co., 1891),  233.


[31] For example, the history of missions has had to develop its own means of verifying missionary prayer letters, a source of data that it is uniquely suited and required to deal with.


[32] H. Scholtz. "Wie ist eine evangelische Theologie als Wissenschaft möglich?' Zwischen den Zeiten 9(1931): 8-53.


[33] Pannenberg, 228-231.


[34] Peter Senge. The Fifth Discipline. (New York: Doubleday, 1990), 3.


[35] Harry Katzan. Quality Circle Management: The Human Side of Quality. (Blueridge Summit: TAB Books, 1989).


[36] Obviously these suggestions have financial implications.  However, structural and attitudinal changes may well be of more value than budgetary adjustments.  For, example, if professors were willing to share equally the teaching credit for team taugh courses, the financial impact would be negligible.  If the administration were willing to restructure committee assignments, rethink its class scheduling policies, and actively encourage cooperative efforts, much could be gained with minimal expenditure. For a discussion on this nonmonitary understanding of institutional committment see Robert F. Smith, "The Variations of Martix Organization," Special Study Nr. 73. (American Management Association: New York, 1980).