But thanks to a quiet, persistent sociologist named Robert Woodberry
, we now know for certain that they include many more John Mackenzies.
In fact, the work of missionaries like Mackenzie turns out to be the single largest factor in ensuring the health of nations.
'This Is Why God Made Me'
Fourteen years ago, Woodberry was a graduate student in sociology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC).
Then I read Bob's
In 2010, when Woodberry
article to the American Political Science Review, the editors asked him to add case studies, run more regressions, and make all data and models public.
For the article, he
produced 192 pages of supporting material.
would temper our triumphalism, to be sure, reminding us that all these positive outcomes were somewhat unintended, a sign of God's greater purposes being worked out through the lives of devoted but imperfect people.
Still, a little affirmation seems appropriate.
As Dana Robert notes, "Bob's research
shows that the total is more than the sum of its parts.