Thirty Years of Mission in Taiwan : The Case of Presbyterian Missionary George Leslie Mackay



Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Religions
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

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Keywords mission; Taiwan; George Lesley Mackay; From Far Formosa; missionary strategies
Description The aims of this paper are to analyze the missionary endeavors of the first Canadian Presbyterian missionary in Taiwan, George Leslie Mackay (1844–1901), as described in From Far Formosa: The Islands, Its People and Missions, and to explore how Christian theology was established among and adapted to the Taiwanese people: the approaches that Mackay used and the missionary strategies that he implemented, as well as the difficulties that he faced. Given that Mackay’s missionary strategy was clearly highly successful—within 30 years, he had built 60 churches and made approximately 2000 converts—the question of how he achieved these results is certainly worth considering. Furthermore, from the outset, Mackay was perceived and received very positively in Taiwan and is considered something of a folk hero in the country even today. In the present-day narrative of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, Mackay is seen as someone whose efforts to establish an independent church with native local leadership helped to introduce democracy to Taiwan. However, in some of the scholarship, missionaries such as Mackay are portrayed as profit seekers. This paper seeks to give a voice to Mackay himself and thereby to provide a more symmetrical approach to mission history.
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