The End of a Crusade: The Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions and the Great War

Citation: 
Showalter, Nathan D. The End of a Crusade: The Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions and the Great War. Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press, 1998.
Abstract: 

Nathan Showalter’s book, The End of a Crusade, records the slow decline of the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions (SVM) following the tragedy of World War I. The author finds that the SVM, bold since 1886 in its proclamation to win the world “in this generation,” witnessed a struggle following the “Great War” between older volunteer leaders who saw the war as a crusade for democracy and younger volunteers who came to doubt the supremacy of both Western civilization as well as the Christian message itself. He also shows that eventually the SVM’s conservative and evangelical convictions shifted to include a more liberal gospel of peace and social justice, embracing church and world unity over missions “conquest” and ultimately leading to the demise of the movement’s original purpose. The book concludes by tracing the end of the SVM as an autonomous organization in the early 1960s, summarizing reasons for the movement’s decline and noting briefly its continuing legacy represented in 20th century ecumenical achievements and in later evangelical efforts to win the world by AD 2000.

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