A Critique of Christian Development as Resolution to the Crisis in U.S. Protestant Foreign Missions
York-Simmons, Kevin Norman
This dissertation argues that development has failed in fulfilling one of the primary tasks that it set for itself as an expression of Christian mission. Christian development failed to resolve the crisis in Christian foreign mission that emerged in the first half of the twentieth century as Christians became increasingly concerned with the colonial legacy of Christianity. By the end of World War II, the age of Christian foreign missions seemed to be ending for many Christians. In response to this crisis, Christian development gave new life and new theological justification for Christian foreign missions. By offering a critical history of the emergence and maturation of Christian development, this dissertation traces the attempts to resolve this crisis in Christian mission and shows how these attempts went astray as development increasingly involved Christians in precisely those sorts of missionary activities that constituted the original crisis. Yet, Christians were right to identify a crisis in Christian mission that stems from the colonial legacy of Christian mission, and this insight should retain its critical function in the current expression of Christian mission as development.