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Conflict, Conquest, and ConversionTwo Thousand Years of Christian Missions in the Middle East$
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Reeva Spector Simon and Eleanor Tejirian

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231138659

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231138659.001.0001

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Setting the Agenda

Setting the Agenda

From Conversion to Witness—and Back

(p.187) Nine Setting the Agenda
Conflict, Conquest, and Conversion

Eleanor H. Tejirian

Reeva Spector Simon

Columbia University Press

This chapter considers missionary movement after World War I. Missionary activity during the interwar period and beyond was notable for the founding of institutions of higher education and medical facilities, which were more acceptable to the new nationalist governments than were primary and secondary schools. By 1939, the mainline churches that formed the backbone of the Protestant foreign missionary enterprise since the early nineteenth century were retreating from the field, concentrating instead on supporting indigenous Eastern churches and local Protestant churches that had been formed under their patronage. The withdrawal of the European powers and the protection they had afforded the missionaries also contributed to the eroding of the Western missions. By the 1950s, the Middle East was increasingly regarded as “the Muslim world,” and religious pluralism was less and less acceptable to the region's governments.

Keywords:   World War I, missionary movement, missionaries, Middle East, higher education, nationalist government, Muslim world, religious pluralism

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