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Reviewed by:
  • American Evangelical Enterprise in Africa, the Case of the United Presbyterian Mission in Cameroun, 1879–1957
  • Thomas W. Higgins
Henry Efesoa Mokosso . 2007. American Evangelical Enterprise in Africa, the Case of the United Presbyterian Mission in Cameroun, 1879–1957. New York: Peter Lang, pp. 196, Hb, £39.52. DOI: 10.3366/E1354990108050077

This volume is a brief survey of the missionary activity of the United Presbyterian Church in Cameroun. Henry Mokosso assumes no specialist knowledge of mission history and writes in a clear and accessible style. In the introduction the author states that he intends to explore three key themes in the book: the relationships between missionaries and their home base, missionaries and Camerounians, and missionaries and the colonial authorities. He does this in nine chapters, most of which have a topical focus. Besides those chapters that overlap directly with the stated themes of the book, two important chapters are dedicated to women and [End Page 97] African-American missionaries. Chapters seven and eight describe the emergence of the independent Presbyterian Church of Cameroun and are welcome additions. However, the final chapter entitled 'The Future of the Church' fits uncomfortably with the rest and ends the book on a poor note.

Mokosso's interpretation of mission history frequently places missionaries and Camerounians into two clearly definable and separate camps. Among other things, this framework inadvertently places too much emphasis upon the evangelical work of foreign missionaries and gives scant attention to the role played by Camerounian Christians. The use of terms such as 'worker' or 'labour' for Camerounian missionaries (p. 43) distorts the Church's history and is a notable omission because it disregards the contribution of many African missionaries over several decades.

This volume also goes to disproportionate lengths to elaborate upon missionary 'confrontation' with other groups. However, the relationship between missionaries and African Christians must be seen as far more complex, involving collaboration and compromise in addition to disagreement. A greater reflection upon other aspects of the missionary 'encounter' would enrich this study and give it greater depth.

This survey incorporates many relevant topics and is a valuable resource on the growth of Presbyterianism in Cameroun, however it does not attempt any sort of larger analysis of 'American Evangelical Enterprise in Africa'. Therefore, it will be more valuable to those with narrow aims than to those interested in a broader understanding of American Evangelical missions in Africa. [End Page 98]

Thomas W. Higgins
University of Edinburgh


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pp. 97-98
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Archived 2009
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