Johannes Du Plessis was a South African missiologist. Du Plessis graduated from the theological seminary at the University of Stellenbosch and from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, with a doctorate in theology (having studied briefly also in Halle, Germany). He was ordained a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) in 1894, and became general secretary for mission of that church in 1903. In this capacity he traveled on foot across sub-Saharan Africa. From 1913 to 1930 he was professor of Christian mission and later also of New Testament at Stellenbosch. In this capacity he had a strong influence on missiological thinking within the DRC.
The most important works by du Plessis are A History of Christian Missions in South Africa (1911), Een toer door Afrika (1917), The Life of Andrew Murray (1919), The Evangelisation of Pagan Africa (1929), and Wie sal gaan? (1932). G.B.A. Gerdener, Die boodskap van ‘n man: Lewenskets van prof. J. du Plessis (1943; a biography). The March 1986 issue of Theological Evangelica 19, no. 2, contains articles about du Plessis by South African theologians.
This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.