Missionaries have often been portrayed in secular circles in a negative light. John Stonestreet points to the results of a recent scholarly publication that tells a different story:
For the last several generations, missionaries have gotten a lot of bad press. They’re called cultural imperialists or tools of colonial oppression, and in the pages of books such as “The Poisonwood Bible,” or, for an earlier generation, James Michener’s “Hawaii,” they’re presented as paternalistic, ignorant enemies of glorious indigenous cultures.
Even many supporters of so-called “native missionaries” in Asia, Africa, and Latin America suggest that Western missionaries should just “stay home” and “let the nationals do it.” But a funny thing happened on the way to missionary irrelevance: Ground-breaking, peer-reviewed research reveals that the presence of Protestant missionaries is the greatest predictor of whether a nation develops into a stable representative democracy with robust levels of literacy, political freedom, and women’s rights.
You can read his whole article here.