Missions and Missionaries

  • Norris Pope


‘A missionary spirit is essential to the prosperity of Christian Churches,’ one evangelical wrote: ‘Let missionary efforts decline,’ he added, ‘and the vitality of the churches will become weak and sickly.’ Dickens generally had a much lower opinion of missionary exertion. In a letter written at the end of 1865, he referred to missionaries as ‘perfect nuisances,’ who ‘leave every place worse than they found it.’ Only Livingstone was excepted (although on a previous occasion Dickens had warned Miss Coutts that even Livingstone’s views ‘must be received with great caution.’)1 Dickens’s remark was provoked by the Governor Eyre controversy, and by Exeter Hall’s outcry over the treatment of blacks involved in the Jamaican insurrection; but his attitude amounted more realistically to a summary judgment on more than seventy years of missionary toil. Thus, while missionary efforts were a vital part of the evangelical revival, they were likewise essential ingredients in Dickens’s disapproval of evangelicals and evangelical Christianity.


Slave Trade Temperance Movement Solitary Confinement Sunday School Missionary Effort 
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Copyright information

© Norris Francis Pope 1978

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  • Norris Pope

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