Evangelical Missions in Modern America
Fred Beuttler seeks to connect the story of twentieth-century missions history to American and world history more broadly in order to provide lessons for missions training. He contends the modern world, as far as missions is concerned, began in 1892-3 Chicago as a result of three major events: (1) the World’s Columbian Exposition (World’s Fair), (2) the opening of the University of Chicago, and (3) the opening of the first World’s Parliament of Religions. Issues in missions that these events touch upon include but are not limited to the disestablishment of religion, the blending of gospel and humanitarian efforts, and global decolonization. Christians worldwide have had to deal with these and more over the past century. Today, missionaries are left to overcome at least three obstacles stemming from and represented by the three events in 1892-3 Chicago: unreached peoples, the secular research university, and the challenges associated with urban life.
Fred Beuttler is the Director of Carroll University’s General Education Development program as well as Assistant Professor in both General Education and History at Carroll. He was educated at the University of Illinois (B.A., Political Science), Trinity International University (M.A., History of Christianity), and the University of Chicago (Ph.D., American History). His areas of specialization include American political history, 20th century religious history, History of Congress, and the History of American Christianity. He served as the Deputy Historian of the U.S. House of Representatives (2005-2010) and the Associate University Historian at the University of Illinois at Chicago (1998-2005). He is well published with his “Modern American Missions, 1865-2000” being especially pertinent to his present lecture.