Article Title

Telling Fisk’s Story

Document Type

Book Excerpt


Pliny Fisk (1792-1825) was one of two missionaries sent in 1819 by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) to the Ottoman Empire. This made them not only the first American missionaries in the Muslim majority world, but two of the first Americans to make a permanent move to the Middle East. Hubers’ book explores what it meant for Pliny and his companion Levi Parsons to make that trip, exploring in particular the impact this had on their perceptions of the religious other.

What makes this an interesting study is noting that Fisk never met a Middle Easterner in person--Christian, Muslim or Jew--before he went, developing his perceptions of the people among whom he would be working on a purely theoretical basis. The assumption in this case is that these initial perceptions would be significantly altered by an existential encounter. The reality turned out to be something different.

The following excerpt sets the stage for Hubers’ exploration into the mind and ministry of this pioneering missionary.

About the Author

John Hubers earned a doctorate in world Christianity and global mission from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He has 13 years of experience living in the Middle East, where he initially taught English and then served as a pastor of congregations in Oman and Bahrain. Upon returning to the United States, he pastored a congregation composed primarily of students from the University of Michigan before joining the Reformed Church in America's headquarters as the denomination's supervisor of mission programs in the Middle East and South Asia. Most recently he was senior pastor of the Reformed Church in Plano (Texas). Hubers' areas of expertise include Christian Zionism, ecumenical and interfaith relations, and the history and current practice of Christian mission among Muslims.



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