Rhodes, Alexandre de, Jesuit missionary to Vietnam, born Avignon, France, 15 March 1593,
died Isfahan, Persia, 5 November 1660. He entered the Jesuit novitiate in Rome
in 1612 and was ordained in 1618. That year he traveled to Lisbon, Goa
(1619-1622), and Melaka reaching Macao in May 1623. He did language study in
Thanh Chiem (Quang Nam) from 1624 and laboured in Tonkin (1627-1630) until
expelled. He was professor of theology at the Jesuit College in Macao
(1630-1640) before his second mission to Vietnam (1640-1645). He was in Rome
(1649-1652) and France (1652-1654) and became Jesuit Superior in Persia in
November 1655. He devised the Vietnamese script and wrote the first books in
that alphabet. He was imprisoned several times, established a Vietnamese
catechumenate, worked for a Vietnamese clergy and the inculturation of Asian
Christianity, and by 1640 had seen the baptism of some 100,000 Vietnamese.
SVD Missionary ethnologist, born Hörde, Germany, 16 February 1868, died
Fribourg, Switzerland, 10 February 1954. At 15 he attended St Michael’s Mission
House, Steyl, the Netherlands, and was ordained priest of the Society of the
Divine Word (SVD) in 1892. He studied Middle Eastern languages in Berlin
(1893-1895), and taught in Mödling, Vienna (1896-1938), at the University of
Vienna (1921-1938) and at Fribourg (1942-1951) where he moved in 1938 to escape
the Nazis. Largely self-educated, he gained international recognition for
disentangling the relationships between Southeast Asian and Oceanic languages.
A gifted and enthusiastic teacher, he wrote in longhand some 650 publications
including Der Ursprung der Gottesidee (12 vol. 1912-1955) and Sprachfamilien
und Sprachkreisen der Erde (1926). He founded the Anthropos
International Review of Ethnology and Linguistics (1906), the Anthropos
Institute (Mödling, 1932, Fribourg, 1938) and the papal ethnological museum in
Shellabear, William, Girdlestone Methodist missionary in Singapore and Malaya, born
in Holkham Hall, Norfolk, England, 27 August 1862, died Hartford, Connecticut,
16 January 1947. As a soldier in Singapore in 1887, he learnt Malay and began a
life's work of sharing his faith while striving to preserve Malay culture. He
joined the American Methodist mission in 1891 and founded the Methodist
Publishing House. He was presiding elder of the Methodist Malaysia Annual
Conference (1896-1902), and was editor of the Malaysia Message.
His Malay publications included an edition of the Malay Annals (Sejarah
Melayu, 1896), two epic poems,. a grammar, dictionary and bible
translation. In 1916 he left Malaya and studied Islam at Hartford, Cairo and
Leiden. He was an editor of The Muslim
World (1922-1947) and in 1925 became Professor of Islamics at Hartford.
(Gustav Malcolm), Lutheran
missionary, historian and missiologist, born Degefors, Sweden, 7 May 1909, died Uppsala, Sweden, 1995. He
studied at the University of Uppsala, was ordained in 1936 and completed his
doctorate in 1937. He was a missionary in South Africa (1937-1942) and
Tanganyika (1942-1945). After returning to Sweden he became research secretary
of the International Missionary Council in London (1948-1949), then professor
of church history and the history of mission (1949-1974) at Uppsala. He was
Lutheran Bishop in Bukoba, Tanzania (1961-1964) and a member of the Theological
Education Fund Committee (1958-1963) and of Central Committee of the WCC
(1961-1965). His publications include Bantu Prophets in South Africa
(1948, 1961), The Church of South India: the movement towards union,
1900-1947 (1954), The Christian Ministry in Africa (1960), and (with
Christopher Steed) A History of Christianity in Africa (2000)..
Taylor, John Vernon, CMS general secretary, Bishop
of Winchester, born Cambridge, England, 11 September 1914. He studied at
Trinity College, Cambridge (BA, 1936) and Oxford (MA, 1941) and was ordained
priest in 1939. He served as curate in London (1938-1940) and St Helens
(1940-1943) and as a CMS missionary became warden of Bishop Tucker Memorial
College, Uganda, (1944-1954). He encouraged creative arts including African
passion plays. He did research for the International Missionary Council (1955-1959),
then became Africa secretary of CMS and in 1963 CMS general secretary. He was
also vice-chair of the WCC Theological Education Fund. He became Bishop of
Winchester (1975-1985) and retired to Oxford. His publications include Christianity
and Politics in Africa (1957), The Growth of the Church in Buganda
(1958), The Primal Vision (1963), Enough is Enough (1975), and The
Go-Between God (1982).
Tippett, Alan R Australian missionary anthropologist,
born Australia, 1911, died Australia, 16 September 1988. He was ordained as a
Methodist minister in 1938 and served in two rural pastorates in Victoria
before going as a missionary to Fiji in 1941. He itinerated bare-foot round
Fijian villages, applied himself to language study and writing and developed an
unrivalled understanding of the history of the Fiji mission. He edited the
monthly Ai Tukutuku Vakalotu and for four years until he left Fiji in
1961 was principal of the Methodist seminary. Invited by Donald McGavran to
Eugene, Oregon, he did his doctorate in anthropology at the University of
Oregon, and then followed McGavran to Fuller Theological Seminary’s School of
World Mission (1965-1977). He was the first editor of the American Society of
Missiology journal, Missiology, and his publications include Solomon
Islands Christianity (1967), Church Growth and the Word of God
(1970), and Introduction to Missiology (1987).
BDCM, ML, Missiology 17.3 July 1989.
Sung, John Shang-chieh, Chinese evangelist, born Hong Chek, Hinghwa, Fujian, China, 27
September 1901, died near Beijing, China, 18 August 1944. He was converted in
1909 in Hinghwa where his father pastored a Methodist church. He left for study
in the United States in 1920 and graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University (BSc,
1923) and Ohio State University (MSc, 1924; PhD, 1926). He experienced a
spiritual crisis while at Union Seminary, New York, spent six months in mental
hospital, and returned to Hinghwa in 1927. In 1928 he married Yu Chin Hua, taught
at Hinghwa Memorial School and became involved with the revival ministry of the
Bethel Band. He was appointed Hinghwa Methodist Conference evangelist in 1930
and began conducting missions in many parts of China. The impact of his
ministry in Southeast Asia (1935-1939) remains widely felt, and some of the
evangelistic groups he started were in operation 50 years later.
Venn, Henry CMS secretary, champion of indigenous church
principles, born Clapham, London 10 February 1796, died London 13 January 1873.
His grandfather and father were leading Anglican Evangelicals associated with
the “Clapham Sect”. He was educated at Queen’s College, Cambridge (BA, 1818;
MA, 1821; BD, 1828), ordained deacon (1819) and priest (1821). He served
parishes in Hull and London and in 1841 became CMS clerical secretary. Over 32
years he developed mission theories which looked to local leadership to take
over from expatriate missionaries. His concepts of the “euthanasia of the
mission”, “native pastorate” and “self-propagating, self-financing and
self-governing” churches (the later also formulated by Rufus Anderson in North
America) proved significant and enduring, though they were out of fashion for a
period in the face of late Victorian visions of imperial duty.
Warren, Max (Alexander Cunningham), Historian, strategist, and theologian of mission,
born Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, 13 August 1904, died East Dean, Sussex, 22 August
1977. He spent his childhood in India, studied history at Jesus College,
Cambridge and theology at Ridley Hall. He went to Nigeria with the CMS in 1927,
was invalided home and took three years to recover. After ordination and youth
ministry he was vicar of Holy Trinity Cambridge (1936-1942) and then CMS
general secretary (1942-1963). His theology of religions was influenced by
Kenneth Cragg and his sense of history helped his awareness of the implications
of decolonisation. His Missionary Movement from Britain in Modern History
(1965) and Social History of Christian Mission (1967) were timely and
his CMS Newsletter helped prepare groups wider than the CMS for a
different world. His autobiography Crowded Canvas, appeared in 1974.
Wilson, John Leonard, Anglican
Bishop of Singapore, born Witton Gilbert, Durham, 23 November 1897, died
Wensleydale, Yorkshire, 18 August, 1970. He was educated at Knutsford and
Queen’s College Oxford and trained for the priesthood at Wycliffe Hall. He was
at Coventry Cathedral (1924-1926) where he was ordained and in Cairo
(1927-1929) with the CMS, though his modernist theology proved controversial.
He was in parish work in the north of England and in 1938 was invited by R. O.
Hall to be Dean of St John’s Cathedral Hong Kong where he was consecrated
Bishop of Singapore 22 July 1941. Despite the surrender of Singapore (15
February 1942) he was allowed to visit prisoners and take confirmations until
interned in March 1943. He barely survived interrogation 17-19 October 1943 and
in 1947 confirmed one of his torturers. He was Dean of Manchester (1949-1953)
and Bishop of Birmingham (1953-1969). He was awarded a CMG (1946) and a KCMG
Roy McKay, John Leonard Wilson, Confessor for the Faith, 1973.
BDCM: Gerald H. Anderson, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions. New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan, 1998.
DAC: John Chew, David Wu and Scott Sunquist, eds., Dictionary of Asian Christianity, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans (forthcoming).
DCA, Dictionary of Christianity in America.
DEB: Donald M. Lewis, ed. The Blackwell Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1730-1860. Oxford: Blackwell, 1995.
DEM: Nicholas Lossky, et al, eds. Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans / Geneva: WCC, 1991.
DSCHT: Nigel M. de S. Cameron, ed. Dictionary of Scottish Church History and Theology. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1993.
EB: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1999.
IBMR: International Bulletin of Missionary Research
ML: Gerald H. Anderson, et al, eds. Mission Legacies. Biographical Studies of Leaders of the Modern Missionary Movement, Maryknoll: Orbis, 1994.
ODCC: F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford, 1997.