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The British Zion
Congregationalism, Politics, and Empire, 1790-1850

By Michael A. Rutz

The British Zion
Hardback, 200 pages $39.95
Published: 1st March 2011
ISBN: 9781602582057
Format: 9in x 6in

Subjects: All History, All Religious Studies

Drawing upon extensive archival research and a wide range of secondary sources, The British Zion traces congregationalist missionaries’ involvement in domestic and colonial politics in early nineteenth-century Britain. As Michael A. Rutz ably demonstrates, evangelical nonconformists actively campaigned from both the Empire’s metropolitan centers and its periphery to extend religious liberty and civil equality in Britain, open colonial territories to evangelization, abolish slavery, and secure civil rights for indigenous peoples. Moving beyond the dichotomizing pictures of evangelical missionaries as either the advance forces of colonial domination or innocuous humanitarians and educators, Rutz carefully examines the humanitarian and theological impulses of the missionary movement while critically examining its political, social, and cultural impact within the larger development of the British Empire.


List of Abbreviations


1 The Evangelical Revival and the Origins of the Missionary Movement

2 Itinerancy, Religious Liberty, and the Rise of Evangelical Politics

3 The Missionary Movement and the Politics of Abolition

4 Missionary Politics in Britain and the Cape Colony

5 Church, State, and Dissenting Politics in the Age of Reform

6 Church, Race, and Conflict in the Cape Missions





"The British Zion exhibits Rutz's thorough work in the primary sources and his skill in drawing connections between issues common to both the metropole and colonies, and it provides a solid contribution to the literature of mission studies and colonial history."

—Kyle Welty, Journal of Church and State (2012, 54:4)

"This book is critical for students and general readers interested in the work and development of world missions and Protestantism in British history. It is also important for anyone wishing to study the relationship between missionaries and colonial imperialism in the 18th and 19th centuries. I commend it to each and every potential reader."

—Mike Jones, United Church of Canada, Theological Book Review

"The British Congregationalists in South Africa in the first half of the nineteenth century provide a shining example of missionary beneficence. They not only preached brotherhood, they practiced it: that they fought and won the franchise for black Africans is proof enough."

—Richard Davis, Professor of History, Washington University in St. Louis

"While it has long been a commonplace to emphasize how missionaries were agents of imperial exploitation, The British Zion compellingly reveals the remarkable extent to which Congregationalists championed the rights of Africans and Jamaicans in direct defiance of the interests of British colonists. Michael A. Rutz has brilliantly teased out the connections between the theological and political concerns of evangelical Dissenters in Britain and their missionary efforts abroad."

—Timothy Larsen, McManis Professor of Christian Thought, Wheaton College

"This splendid work, linking together religious, political, and imperial topics, shows how evangelical Dissenters, and especially the London Missionary Society, influenced not only Great Britain but also the wider British Empire." 

—James J. Sack, University of Illinois at Chicago

Michael A. Rutz is Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh. He lives in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 200 pages
 9in x 6in

 Baylor University Press

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