Emergent Church Difficulties and Differences
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'Missional' : First occurrence of the word

Sorry about all the edits below - we had a false call on the earliest date. Details below.

The Skinny: The earliest known usage of the word "missional" occurs in 1883 on page 191 of the book published in the UK called 'The Heros of African Discovery and Adventure, from the death of Livingstone to the year 1882', by C.E. Bourne, in which this sentence occurs;

"Bishop Tozer is called the "Missional Bishop of Central Africa and by some the " fighting parson,"

I have left the blog post intact below but have struck through the sentences that are no longer relevant or accurate.

Related: What I mean by Emerging-Missional Church

ORIGINAL: While we are talking about origins of words in the emerging church vocabulary like "emergent church' (see last post), I found a reference to the word 'missional' back in 1814. I had given a later date in earlier blogs and talks but this discovery sheds new light and an older date. The Americans were the first to use the word. Brits didn't use "missional" until later in the century.

"From a member of the Salem, a friendly letter has been received recently, in which the writer declares himself 'willing to anything he can to advance the Redeemer's kingdom in this world', and he feels a 'very warm side towards missional purposes'."
Proceedings of the Baptist Convention for Missionary Purposes, Held in Philadelphia in May, 1814, page 26. Published by American Baptist Foreign Mission Society.

A quote from another book:
"Bishop Tozer is called the "Missional Bishop of Central Africa and by some the " fighting parson,"
from The Heros of African Discovery and Adventure, from the death of Livingstone to the year 1882, by C.E. Bourne, 1883, page 191.

UPDATE: the 1814 date is contested by Robinson Mitchell of Naked Church. He suggests an incomplete scan and a misleading quote. A third opinion might help if someone could check the primary source (I only have access to Google PDF) and report back here in the comments. Hello theological students? But I do have the paper version of the 1883 book The Heros of African Discovery and Adventure open in front of me and can confirm the word "missional".

UPDATE: Email from Robinson Mitchell:
"Andrew:
Just to make doubly sure, I sent the below appended request to the Harvard-Andover Divinity School library, and have also forwarded the reply I received.

The Reference Librarian was kind enough to get the hard copy and look up the reference, and verified that the word in question is indeed "missionary". Also it is not in the 1814 document, but in an 1815 document entitled "First Annual Report of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions for the United States", Philadelphia, May 1815, which was the second document in the bound volume, which has several early docs.

Thanks very much for the grace and equanimity with which you received my messages.
And your hard copy of the 1883 document looks rock solid. Should I come upon any other uses of the word "missional" in English that predate the 1883 reference to missional bishop Tozer, I'll let you know, but right now I think you've nailed it.
Kindest regards,
Rob Mitchell
Memphis TN USA"

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