Kane was born in Montreal, Quebec, graduated from Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, in 1935, and under the China Inland Mission with his wife, Winnifried Mary (Shepherd), went to China, where they worked in Anhwei Province (except for a furlough during World War II) until 1950, when they returned to Canada. Coming from the very conservative background of the Plymouth Brethren, Kane discovered the writings of E. Stanley Jones soon after his arrival in China, and said they “opened up a whole new world of ideas and convinced [him] for the first time of the social and political implications of the Gospel.” When he heard Jones speak in 1937, he said “[his] ‘conversion’ was complete.”
He taught missions at Providence (Rhode Island) Bible Institute (later named Barrington College) (1951-1963), Lancaster (Pennsylvania) Bible College (1963-1967), and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, Illinois) (1967-1980). During his tenure at Trinity he served as president of the Association of Evangelical Professors of Mission, and he was the first evangelical to be elected president of the American Society of Missiology (1976-1977). Kane was one of the most productive and influential American evangelical missiologists of his time. After revising and enlarging Robert Hall Glover’s Progress of Worldwide Missions in 1960, Kane published A Global View of Christian Missions (1971), Understanding Christian Missions (1974), Christian Missions in Biblical Perspective (1976), A concise History of the Christian World Mission (1978), Life and Work on the Mission Field (1980), and other books that were used extensively as texts in evangelical schools.
This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright (c) 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of The Gale Group; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.
Kane’s autobiographical reflections are in “My Pilgrimage in Mission.” IBMR 11(1987): 129-132. His letters and papers are in the archives of the Billy Graham Center, Wheaton, Ill.