New book discusses mission work to the Cherokee

Jay FitzHalls, Our Town Stories

Knoxville native Dennis L. Peterson has released his second faith-based history with TouchPoint Faith, Evangelism and Expulsion: Missionary Work Among the Cherokees Until Removal. This book continues Peterson’s research into the history of faith in the Southern United States and will appeal to readers of both American history and evangelical history.

Evangelism and Expulsion: Missionary Work Among the Cherokees Until Removal explores the history of Christian missions to convert the Cherokee. Following a number of oft forgotten Christian evangelists, Evangelism and Expulsion explores the resistance missionaries faced from Cherokee traditionalists as well as the US government seeking to drive the Cherokee from their land.

Taking care to the Cherokee culture and tradition into which the missionaries went, Peterson recounts their efforts to educate and evangelize the Cherokees, using resources old and new to lay out the historical background and context of their work. Evangelism and Expulsion identifies the similarities and differences among the various denominations’ works and focuses attention chronologically on each of those missions. Additionally, it explores the influence Sequoyah’s Cherokee Syllabary had on Cherokee literacy, the spread of the gospel, and the development of a constitution for the Cherokee Nation in the face of increasingly aggressive white landgrabbers.

Evangelism and Expulsion examines the role the Cherokee newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix, played in the culture and tradition of the Cherokee Nation before the infamous Trail of Tears, when the Cherokee (along with the other Southern Indian tribes) were forcibly removed from their homelands by federal forces under the orders of President Andrew Jackson.

Peterson said much missionary work today lacks the willingness of some to wait patiently for the Lord to bring about the results they desire, that is, converts among and changed lives within the people to whom they are ministering. “We seem to want instant success, instant results, but in ministry that doesn’t always happen. Failing to see such results, many modern ministers give up and turn to something else rather than persevering.”

During his research, Peterson learned that some missionaries to the tribe had actually gone to jail rather than forsake their Cherokee converts and give up their missionary activities.

“That piqued my interest about why they would sacrifice so much for the Cherokees and to do still more research. This book is the result.”

Peterson is an independent author/historian based in Taylors, South Carolina. A former history teacher, he specializes in Southern history, particularly the American Civil War, the Great Depression, World War II and biblical studies. He is the author of Confederate Cabinet Departments and Secretaries, Combat! Spiritual Lessons from Military History and Christ in Camp and Combat: Religious Work in the Confederate Armies. He and his wife, Connie, a former elementary school teacher, have four daughters and eight grandchildren.

 

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