We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Four axes of mission: Conversion and the purposes of mission in Protestant history

Ryrie, Alec and Trim, David (2022) 'Four axes of mission: Conversion and the purposes of mission in Protestant history.', Transactions of the Royal Historical Society .


This article offers a framework for historical analysis of the goals of Protestant missionary projects. ‘Conversion’ in Protestantism is not clearly defined, is liable to be falsified and may (in some missionary views) require preparatory work of various kinds before it can be attempted. For these reasons, Protestant missionaries have adopted a variety of intermediate and proxy goals for their work, goals which it is argued can be organised onto four axes: orthodoxy, zeal, civilisation and morality. Together these form a matrix which missionaries, their wouldbe converts and their sponsors have tried to negotiate. In different historical contexts, missionaries have chosen different combinations of priorities, and have adapted these in the face of experience. The article suggests how various historical missionary projects can be analysed using this matrix and concludes by suggesting some problems and issues in the history of Protestant missions which such analysis can illuminate.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives 4.0.
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:This article has been published in a revised form in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society This version is published under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND. No commercial re-distribution or re-use allowed. Derivative works cannot be distributed. © The Author(s), 2022.
Date accepted:07 December 2021
Date deposited:25 January 2022
Date of first online publication:22 March 2022
Date first made open access:25 January 2022

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar