The Religious State of the World

mission worldI am currently taking a class at Fuller Seminary entitled Church & Mission in a Global Context. I greatly appreciate church, church history and mission, and this class is scratching each of those itches.

Early on in the class, we viewed a short, 9-minute video from the Lausanne Global Leadership Forum in 2013. There is a large amount of statistics to process within this brief presentation. Nonetheless, it provides some interesting insights into the religious, and Christian, make-up of our world.

Check out the video below. Continue reading

The Anomaly of Evangelism (Part 8)

This is my next-to-last post in my series on the gospel and evangelism. Hallelujah! In the last post, I spent some time laying out foundational elements for evangelism and the evangelist. I specifically highlighted these few points:

  • The evangel is about the good news.
  • An evangelist is a bearer, or proclaimer, of the good news.
  • The whole body of Christ is an evangel-proclaiming community, and that works itself out in varying ways.
  • As we are all involved in evangelism, we take this message of good news wherever we go, living it out and telling it, even if we do not specifically quote a Bible verse in or conversation.
  • Yes, the evangelist will be an evangel-proclaimer. But she or he is also a gift to the church by Christ to help equip us to be more faithful and effective in our evangel-bearing (ala Eph 4:11-13).

That is a pretty sufficient summary of what I believe evangelism and the ministry of evangelist is all about.

Still, at the end of the article, I asked this particular question – How do people ‘get saved’ when they hear this simple message? Continue reading

The Anomaly of Evangelism (Part 7)

I realise that it’s now been a couple of months since my last post around the area of the gospel and evangelism. In order to jump in to my next segment, rather than do a summary of all my past 6 posts, I point you to this article that gives you the links to all 6 of my previous posts on the topic.

As a simple summary of the gospel, I would articulate that it, the evangel, the good news, is wrapped up firstly in the announcement that God has come to reign and to make his good reign known through his Messiah-King, Jesus. Looking at the Gospels, we see that Jesus came proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom. And this was before the cross and resurrection event.

In connection with the hope of Israel, in accordance with the promises of the Hebrew Scriptures, God’s Messiah had come to make God’s reign known and a reality. Not just in the future, but from the moment he stepped into human history. And it is in the great cross and resurrection event of Christ that God’s kingdom was established, God’s King was vindicated. And knowing this great enthroning event, we can now enter new birth, new creation, reconciliation, be delivered from bondage and receive forgiveness of sins. This reality becomes just as much a part of the gospel because God’s reign had come in Christ and was established in the work of Christ.

Moving on now, in this particular part of my series, I want to try and work out what I believe is the best description for the word evangelist. Continue reading

The Anomaly of Evangelism (Part 6)

It’s time for the first post of the new year regarding my series on the gospel and evangelism, though this is my sixth post overall. So far, as I have looked to address what the gospel is all about, I’ve posted these articles:

  • Set the scene here
  • Looked at Jesus and the Gospels here and here
  • Looked at the preaching in Acts here
  • Looked at Paul’s major statement in 1 Cor 15 here

With this new segment, I’m going to take a little unexpected turn. It’s part of my long-winded nature, which might carry on into a side excursus in the next article. But this is something about which I am very impassioned.

I am currently preparing to teach on the book of Genesis for a trip to a ministry training college we work with in Lusaka, Zambia. In doing so, I have been thinking about ‘first mentions’ of particular words in Scripture. You see, there exists a rule within biblical-theological studies that, if you plan to study a particular word or theme in Scripture, the best thing to do is start where it was first mentioned.

So, specifically with the gospel, theologians usually recognise that the first reference (though not first mention) is found in Gen 3:15: Continue reading

The Anomaly of Evangelism (Part 5)

Alas, with installment #5 now, though a bit delayed, I am finally beginning to make more head way around my discussion of what the gospel and evangelism are all about.

So far, I’ve honed in on Jesus in the Gospels (here, here) and the preaching in Acts (here).

My major premise has been that the gospel, the evangel, should be and is actually centred in the proclamation of the coming of God’s kingdom rule in Jesus, God’s Messiah-King. This is simply what Jesus proclaimed when he proclaimed the gospel, and I believe this is essential to the proclamations that we find in the book of Acts.

Questions arise as to the validity of this premise, though I always ask people to go back and read Jesus’ words in the Gospels, which becomes quite an eye-opening experience. And from that starting point, considering the gospel announcement of Jesus himself, we can consider how the messages of Acts, Paul and the rest of the New Testament fits in. At least I am convinced we should begin with Jesus if we are to claim we have a Christ-centred faith and gospel.

But queries definitely come forth when we consider what Paul wrote in his letters. And, at the top of the list, we find many people referring to the well-known Pauline gospel passage of 1 Cor 15:1-4: Continue reading