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History of Missions

By Dr. Samuel H. Larsen

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This course is a survey of the outreach of the Christian movement from apostolic times to the present. Dr. Larsen focuses on the Biblical basis for missions, the history of Christian missions, and the Pioneers of modern missions. While analyzing and evaluating the relationships between the Christian mission and secular and ecclesiastical cultures, you will be inspired to renew both your passion for the cause of the gospel and your purpose in proclaiming the gospel to a world in need of the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Customer Reviews


I did not register for the course or read the assigned material.

About two-thirds of this course is church history on a geographic region by geographic framework. The last one-third of the course is a series of biographies of famous missionaries of the modern era.

“History of Missions” has a lot of history and surprisingly little missions. There is only one lecture that addresses the problem of contextualization and syncretism, and then only indirectly in one of the biography lessons. The course mentions short term missions, an increasing trend in the American church, only once and then only tangentially. When discussing church history and biographies, the course only rarely grapples with the issue of how a missionary should analyze the culture and develop a framework of how to proclaim the Gospel within that culture. (Different cultures have different communication styles and different values; these must be considered when developing a communication strategy.) The course does not mention communicating the Gospel to Jewish people at all.

The course does have some important strengths. The course clearly communicates weaknesses of imposing religion by the sword, whether Christians do the imposing (e.g., Crusade) or whether Christians are being imposed upon (e.g., closed countries). The course highlighted the history of missions in Nubia and among aboriginal Australians, each of which is very interesting.

Unfortunately, this course did not meet the hopes that I had for it.


I greatly appreciate Dr. Larsen's depth of insight and grasp of the subject matter. Speaking as one who is not very familiar with the history of missions, I feel that after listening to this series I now have a good framework and basis for further study. Thank you so much for making this course available on iTunes.