Christian Mission in the Carribean

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The Caribbean's Response to the Great Commission

History and Models of Response


The Caribbean has been greatly criticized for losing its vision for missions. Indeed, the Caribbean region has changed from being a mission field to being a mission force. With this change, the region has been challenged to become involved in cross – cultural missions and aid in fulfilling the Great commission. Author Las G. Newman examines this critical issue in his article – "The Caribbean's Response to the Great Commission - History and Models of Response, published in the Caribbean Journal of Evangelical Theology, Issue #1.

He concludes that the Caribbean church is in fact fulfilling the Great Commission, especially in terms of the "Jerusalem" model outlined in Acts 1: 8. This writer will seek to summarize and critically analyze Newman's article, presenting her ideas and findings on this very interesting topic.

Las G. Newman begins his article by quoting the words of Canon Max Warren - "the Great Commission is Jesus Christ himself". Jesus is the model missionary and embodiment of the Great commission. There is no other commission given to the church except the Great Commission. Mission as defined by Newman is "the notion of agents being sent out to cross frontiers, to bear a message and to engage in a particular activity with clearly defined objectives on behalf of someone else".

In his introduction, Newman states that the gospel message did not reach the Caribbean until a millennium

and a half after Christ's death and resurrection. Christian missionaries did not visit the Caribbean region until the wake of the discovery of the "New World" by Christopher Columbus, five hundred years ago.

Christian Mission in the Caribbean

The Caribbean has experienced five centuries of Christian Mission in the modern era. In the late 15th century the Europeans first discovered the Caribbean. During the first two centuries of European colonization, the early Spanish conquistadors sought to Christianize the Caribbean with their medieval notions of Christian civilization. In fact, the first Catholic missionaries, the Franciscan and Dominican friars from Spain also pursued this policy. Following this, the Moravians introduced Protestant Missions in the 1730s. Then the Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians arrived in the 18th century.

However, in the 19th century, evangelization was performed by the American and British Baptists among the African slaves in Jamaica and Trinidad. The Canadian Presbyterians who worked among the East Indians in Trinidad were also outstanding in their contribution.

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