Protestant Missionary Biography as Written Icon

Gerald L. Sittser


Gerald L. Sittser argues that Protestant missionary biographies should be read as if they were written icons, with the one exception that, while icons show the results of the saints’ transformation, biographies tell the story of the process of transformation. The essay first explores iconography and then uses the stories of two Protestant pioneer missionaries, C. T. Studd and Mary Slessor, as case studies to demonstrate how these saints became living icons. The purpose of these biographies is not simply to “tell the facts,” however accurate they might be, but “to awaken, illumine, inspire, and challenge believers to follow God with the same passion, especially in obeying the Great Commission.” Mr. Sittser is Professor of Theology and Philosophy at Whitworth College.


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Last Updated: March 30, 2007
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