THERE ARE MANY BOOKS about missions. Some are the popular kind, such as tales of missionary adventure and the lives of famous missionaries. Others are more scholarly, like missionary histories, surveys, and the studies of missionary principles. But there are not many that give a simple introduction to the whole subject of missions.
I was made keenly aware of this several years ago in helping plan a revised course of studies at Moody Bible Institute. In the subject of missions we wanted an introductory course that would be useful to missionary candidates, and yet would be of practical value to Christian workers at home. This second group especially concerned us. So many Christian workers in the homeland seemed to have so little understanding of missions. A number of our own graduates had told us of their need for such instruction.
Our own experience showed us some things that ought to go into the course. The suggestions of others added even more. I experimented with individual lectures on some of the subjects, with good results. But before the regular classes began, in the fall of 1951, we found that we would have to do without a textbook. None had been written. None, at least, that covered more than a small part of what we had in mind.
Out of that need, and out of three years' teaching the subject to more than a thousand students, has come this book. Some of the material I have used in other missionary classes. Some sections have also appeared in slightly different form in Moody Monthly. But a large part is new.
While the book can be used as a text, I have wanted it to be more than a textbook. I have hoped that it would be useful to a large number of pastors and Christian workers, as well as to missionary-minded Christians in other walks of life. So I have deliberately tried to make it simple and readable. It is an introduction, not a profound study. I have also tried to make it practical by giving specific suggestions for action.
The book makes no pretensions to fine literary style. It is the book of a teacher and a missionary. It aims above all to give instruction. If it shall please our Lord and Saviour to use it in some measure to instruct His Church in its missionary task, its purpose will be fulfilled.
Harold R. Cook
Moody Bible Institute May, 1954