This book investigates the Mission of the Reformed Church in America sent to Arabia in 1889 to preach the Gospel, and which operated in the Persian Gulf until 1973. It also explores the various cultural encounters between missionaries and Muslims, and discusses conversion and the place of Islam in the Protestant eschatology. It maintains that John G. Lansing from the New Brunswick Theological Seminary, New Jersey, who founded the Arabian Mission, deliberately dedicated the Mission to “direct Muslim evangelism”. In terms of premillennialism, Lansing “moved” Islam into the very centre of the theological discourse, and presented the evangelization of Muslims as critical for Christ’s Second Coming. This made the Arabian Mission unique among the American Protestant Missions, and placed the Church and missionaries between religious pluralism and the obligations of the Great Commission.
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Jerzy Zdanowski is a Professor at Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow University, Poland, and has been involved in Middle Eastern studies since 1978. He has conducted archival research at the Gardner A. Sage Library of New Brunswick Theological Seminary, New Jersey; the Joint Archives of Holland in the A.C. Van Raalte Institute at Theil Research Center in Michigan; the Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, New York; the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia; and the Houghton Library in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His publications include twenty books and around one hundred articles, such as “Imām Nūr al-Dīn al-Sālimī (1286–1332/1869–1914) – an Ūmānī Islamic Thinker and Reformer” in Hemispheres (2016); Middle Eastern Societies in the 20th Century (2014); and Slavery and Manumission: British Policy in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf in the First Half of the 20th Century (2013).