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Juan A. Mackay: Un Escoces con Alma Latina.

We welcome this first biography of John A. Mackay, the brilliant Scottish missionary-theologian. It is well documented and written with affection, clarity, and elegance. John H. Sinclair has touched key aspects of the life of his subject, trying to set each moment of his story within the context of its time and place. In this way he has been faithful to the spirit that was characteristic of Mackay himself, in his teaching and writing.

Sinclair has not kept this quality, however, in the chapters entitled "Peru from 1910 to 1920" and "The Southern Cone, 1926-1932." As they stand, for the average Latin American reader they are little more than a list of persons and events, which does not convey the unique historical circumstances to which they refer.

Unfortunately the editors have been careless in the proofreading and layout of the book. Several Spanish words are incorrectly spelled, and there are too many inaccurate trasliterations of English words and idioms to Spanish. This is to be regretted, especially because Mackay had such a unique command of the Castilian language.

Sinclair states that the name "wee frees" was used to refer to congregations of the Free Presbyterian Church (p. 44). As a graduate from the theological college of the Free Church of Scotland, this reviewer must clarify that actually the name "wee free" was used to distinguish the members of the Free Church of Scotland from those of the established Church of Scotland. Also in our view the success of John A. Mackay as headmaster of the Anglo-Peruvian College (later on known as Colegio San Andres) in Lima cannot be justly understood apart from the invaluable contribution and the friendly loyalty of W. Stanley Rycroft. Sinclair mentions him four times on pages 88 and 89, but these references do not express adequately Rycroft's work and influence, which have lasted until today in that school.

Sinclair reminds us that "Mackay considered himself a child of three continents and three cultures: the European, the Hispanic American and the North American" (p. 71). It is to be expected that children from these three continents should contribute to the study of this outstanding Christian, whose life and thought have had a global impact. Sinclair has done his part on behalf of North America.
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Author:Arana, Pedro Q.
Publication:International Bulletin of Missionary Research
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Oct 1, 1993
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