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EVANGELISM AND EXPULSION: Missionary Work Among the Cherokees Until Removal

Coming August 2022

Even before it really was safe for white men to travel in Cherokee territory, Christian missionaries were trying to reach those people for Christ. EVANGELISM AND EXPULSION traces the early unsuccessful missionary attempts to reach the Cherokees with the gospel and the later, more successful, efforts of the various major denominations—Moravians, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists—to evangelize the Cherokee Indians. Peterson describes the work of some of the more prominent, though today little known, missionaries involved and the struggles they faced because of the Cherokees’ native culture, resistance from traditionalists within the tribe, and the U.S. government’s determination to drive the Indians from their lands. Although some results of the missionaries’ efforts—both political and spiritual—are obvious, others are subtler. Only God knows for sure whether the missionaries’ efforts were successful and to what degree. EVANGELISM AND EXPULSION also recounts how Sequoyah’s development of the Cherokee syllabary contributed to the spread of the gospel message, increased literacy among the Cherokees (making them one of the most civilized of the Five Civilized Tribes), and enabled the Nation to write its own constitution.

The missionaries’ faithful commitment to obeying the Great Commission among the Cherokees despite numerous hardships continues to bear fruit in the Cherokee Nation today.

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