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Henry Venn (February 10, 1796 - January 13, 1873), was an Anglican clergyman who is recognised as one of the foremost Protestant missions strategists of the nineteenth century. He was an outstanding administrator who served as honorary secretary of the Church Missionary Society from 1841 to 1873. He was also a campaigner, in the tradition of the Clapham Sect, who frequently lobbied the British Parliament on social issues of his day, notably on ensuring the total eradication of the Atlantic slave trade by retaining the West African Squadron of the Royal Navy. He expounded the basic principles of indigenous Christian missions later addressed and made widespread by the Lausanne Congress of 1974.

Venn and Rufus Anderson of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions were the first to use the term "indigenous church" in the mid-nineteenth century. They wrote about the necessity for creating churches in the missions field that were self-supporting, self-governing, and self-propagating (Venn used the term "self-extending"). Venn is often quoted as encouraging the "euthanasia of missions," which meant that missionaries were to be considered temporary workers and not permanent.

He was the father of John Venn the logician and philosopher.

See also[]

  • Henry Venn (Clapham Sect)
  • Rufus Anderson
  • John Livingstone Nevius
  • Three-Self Patriotic Movement
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