A Worldly Christian: The Life and Times of Stephen Neill

By Dyron B. Daughrity

A life of the missionary, bishop and ecumenist, Stephen Neill, amid the changes in global Christianity during the twentieth century.

ISBN: 9780718895846


Bishop Stephen Neill was one of the most prolific, accomplished, and fascinating Christian leaders of the global church in the twentieth century. Privileged to live in radically different cultural contexts over the course of his life, Neill was also a supremely gifted individual. He excelled by turns as a missionary, a bishop, an ecumenist, a professor, and a prolific author, all the while travelling around the world to share his tremendous knowledge of the world Christian movement with scholars, clergy and laypersons alike.

This is the first complete biography of this influential figure, and builds on Daughrity’s previous work Bishop Stephen Neill: From Edinburgh to South India (Peter Lang Publications, 2008). It stands to become the authoritative word on a man who understood Christianity’s changing contours better than most during the dramatic diversification that it underwent during his lifetime.

Additional information

Dimensions 234 × 156 mm
Pages 411
Illustrations 19 b&w

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Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

Dyron B. Daughrity is the author of ten books and numerous articles in the field of Religious Studies. As Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, he travels to India regularly to research Christianity’s interaction with other faiths. His writing focuses on issues related to world Christianity, church history, and the sociological study of religion.


List of Illustrations

1. Introduction
2. Childhood, Youth and Education: 1900-24
3. Amy Carmichael and Neill’s Early Years in South India: 1924-28
4. An Educator in South India: 1928-39
5. Neill’s Years as Bishop of Tinnevelly: 1939-45
6. Loss of a Bishopric: 1944-45
7. Return to Europe and Ecumenical Labour: 1944-62
8. A Professorship in Hamburg: 1962-68
9. The Nairobi Years: 1969-73
10. Final Years in Oxford: 1973-84



Endorsements and Reviews

Professor Dyron Daughrity portrays Stephen Neill, the well-known historian of World Christianity, within the fast-changing colonial, intellectual and religious contexts of his time, especially in Ireland, Britain, India, Germany, Switzerland and Kenya. By resurrecting Neill anew, Daughrity presents him so vividly that readers meet him as a multi-faceted human being with all dignities and frailties; now Neill’s thoughts and accomplishments emerge more alive and meaningful than ever before.
The Reverend Canon Daniel Jeyaraj, Professor of World Christianity, Liverpool Hope University

Bishop Stephen Neill was at once a devoted pastor, an ecumenical pioneer, a missionary statesman, a brilliant professor, a prolific author and a compelling evangelist. As this book makes clear, however, Neill was also a tormented soul and a tormenter of others. The author does not flinch at revealing the destructive side of Stephen Neill, even while recounting his many achievements. Yet he leaves it to the reader to reconcile these contradictions. At a time when abuse in the church has come to light as seldom before, this book is destined to become a major case study.
Joel A. Carpenter, Senior Research Fellow, Nagel Institute, Calvin University

This life of Bishop Stephen Neill offers valuable and surprising insights on so many topics – on the Anglican church and its missions, on the growth of Christianity in India, and on the origins of the ecumenical movement. However, its greatest appeal lies in Neill himself, a brilliant and many-sided figure. Dyron Daughrity has created an excellent piece of scholarship that is fascinating on many levels.
Philip Jenkins, Baylor University

A Worldly Christian is a meticulously researched and referenced book…Previous biographies have either chosen not to know about, ignored, or glossed over Neill’s destructive side, and it is to Daughrity’s credit that this is openly acknowledged and discussed.
Fiona Gardner, Surviving Church, July 2021

Daughrity has written a warts-and-all biography, drawing on a very wide range of sources. He has left no potential source unexamined, it seems. A professor of religion at Pepperdine University, he has been researching Neill’s career for many years, and has produced what will surely be the definitive life for many years to come. An expert in world Christianity, Daughrity is well placed to appreciate the polyvalent character of Neill’s literary output…All the same, this is an authoritative treatment of a very complicated human being.
Revd Dr Jeremy Morris, Church Times, 8 April 2022