Forman, Charles W[illiam] (1916-2014)

American Missiologist

FormanForman was born in Gwalior, India, the son, grandson, and great-grandson of American Presbyterian missionaries to India (Forman Christian College, in Lahore, is named for his grandfather). After receiving a Ph.D. in history from the University of Wisconsin and a B.D. from Union Theological Seminary, New York City, he married Helen Janice Mitchell and they went as Presbyterian missionaries to India, where he taught at North India United Theological College in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, 1945-1950. In 1953 he became successor to Kenneth Scott Latourette as professor of missions at the Divinity School of Yale University until he retired in 1987. He was also chairman of the Theological Education Fund of the World Council of Churches from 1965 to 1971, chairman of the commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations of the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. from 1965-1971, chairman of the Foundation for Theological Education in Southeast Asia from 1970 to 1989, and president of the American Society of Missiology from 1980 to 1981. An authority on Christianity in the South Pacific, he authored the Island Churches of the South Pacific (1982) and the Voice of Many Waters: The Story of the Life and Ministry of the Pacific Conference of Churches (1986). In retirement he served as visiting professor at seminaries in Egypt and on Fiji, American Samoa, and Western Samoa.

Gerald H. Anderson, “Forman, Chalres W(illiam),” in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. Gerald H. Anderson (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 1998), 218-219.

This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright © 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of Macmillan Reference USA, New York, NY. All rights reserved.


Digital Texts

Forman, Charles W. “Twelve Theses on Contemporary Mission.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 4, no. 1 (1980): 31.

_____. “Religious Pluralism and the Mission of the Church.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 6, no. 1 (1982): 5-9.

_____. “Evangelization and Civilization: Protestant Missionary Motivation in the Imperialist Era–The Americans.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 6, no. 2 (1982): 54-56.

_____. “My Pilgrimage in Mission.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 18, no. 1 (1994): 26-28.

_____. “The Study of Pacific Island Christianity: Achievements, Resources, Needs.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 18, no. 3 (1994): 103-112.

_____. “Response to Norman Thomas.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 20, no. 4 (1996): 155-156.

_____. “The Legacy of George Brown.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 22, no. 1 (1998): 28-33.

_____. “Finding Our Own Voice: The Reinterpreting of Christianity by Oceanian Theologians.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 29, no 3. (2005): 115-122.

_____. “The Legacy of Charles W. Forman.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 38, no. 4 (2014): 202-206.


Forman, Charles W. A Faith for the Nations. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1957.

_____. The Nation and the Kingdom: Christian Mission in the New Nations. New York: Friendship Press, 1964.

_____. Christianity in the Non-Western World. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1967.

_____. “A History of Foreign Mission Theory in America,” in American Missions in Bicentennial Perspective. Edited by R. P. Beaver. Pasadena, CA.: William Carey Library, 1977.

_____. The Island Churches of the South Pacific : Emergence in the Twentieth Century. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1982.


Charles Forman Obituary,” New Haven Register, November 30, 2014.

Charles W. Forman,” The Foundation for Theological Education in Southeast Asia.


The Foundation for Theological Education in Southeast Asia.