Pasadena, Calif., January 2013—Legendary American missionary strategist Ralph D. Winter always provoked strong reactions, one way or another. The U.S. Center for World Mission and William Carey Library are bringing us an important biography, The Ralph D. Winter Story: How One Man Dared to Shake Up World Missions (William Carey Library, 2013), by renowned author Harold Fickett. This long overdue book captures both the genius and the controversy of a self-described “social engineer,” named by TIME magazine as one of the 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America.
Winter (1924-2009), who revolutionized our understanding of the missionary task and championed a truly innovative approach to training global church leaders, had plenty of influential fans.
• Billy Graham wrote, “Ralph Winter has not only helped promote evangelism among many mission boards around the world, but by his research, training and publishing he has accelerated world evangelization.”
• Missionary statesman Ray Tallman described him as "perhaps the most influential person in missions of the last 50 years."
However, some who worked most closely with Winter didn’t always see him that way.
• A mission administrator said: “A great deal could be written about his transient ideas and schemes, many of them impracticable and not founded upon careful planning.”
• Said another missionary colleague, frustrated by the constant questions and tinkering of Ralph Winter and his wife, Roberta: “One of the two of us will have to leave.”
Both views of Winter, who founded both the U.S. Center for World Mission and William Carey Library, were true at different points in his long and productive life … and The Ralph D. Winter Story reveals how both worked together to shape the man who came up with innovative solutions to problems missionaries face in expanding the kingdom of God.