Monday, September 6, 2010

Evangelism 1 (Evangelogy): A Definition of Evangelism

At present I am working with a small group of Laidlaw students with an interest in evangelism. The purpose of these Evangelism blogs which will follow on and off into the  future, is to develop some thoughts of evangelism. I call the group evangelogy, the study of sharing the gospel. I have coined this term in direct contrast to evangelism which I find a term that is now so loaded in different directions, that I want something else. I think using the combination of the roote evangel (good news) with logos may give this sense.

The first thing is to define evangelism. This is what we came up with:

Motivated by love, evangelism is the communication of the good news of the salvation and lordship of Jesus Christ with an invitation to every person to submit to God for the ultimate restoration of human society and God’s world.

Some Notes:
1. Motivated by love (2 Cor 5:14; Phil 1:5; Rom 5:6, 8; Jn 3:16; 1 Jn 4).

2. Evangelism: Based on the euangel – group of words which focus on the announcement of the good news of victory and salvation (euangelion = 'the good news', 76x NT; euangelizomai = 'preach the good news' 54x in the NT; euangelistes = 'evangelist' or 'one who preaches the good news' 3x NT). Roots are found in the Greco-Roman world especially the news related to the Imperial Cult, and in the Greek OT where it speaks of the good news of deliverance from exile and God's restoration (esp. Is 40:9; 52:7; 61:1).
3. Communication: Inclusive of the range of verbal modes of communication from 1-1 personal sharing to public proclamation. Inclusive of other forms of communication which articulate the gospel including song, enactment, written media, electronic media etc (cf. Phil 1:18: 'that Christ is preached in every way').
4. Salvation: Saved out of sin, wrath, death and eternal destruction which are consequences of the Fall. Saved into eternal relationship with God, freedom, grace and life. A present spiritual reality and statusn and a future physical hope. It is assued by the presence of the Spirit (see esp. Luke 19:10; John 3:17; Acts 16:31; Rom 1:16; 10:9-10; 1 Cor 1:18; Eph 2:8; 1 Tim 2:4).
5. Lordship: Jesus is supreme over all spiritual and political powers in all of time. All will ultimately submit to him whether voluntarily or involuntarily (Phil 2:9-11 cf. Rom 10:9; 1 Cor 12:3).
7. Jesus Christ: Jesus of Nazareth, incarnate God, in time and space in first century Palestine. He is Messiah (anointed on, Christ) who is Israel’s king who is lord of all the world (cf. Mark 8:29; 14:61-62).
8. Invitation: This tries to grasp the call to submit, an appeal, a plea, a persuasion, an invitation, a call. Note that that Greek for ‘call’ kaleĊ originally had the sense of ‘invite.’ Here the Banquet Parable reflects his idea (Lk 14).
9. Every person: The gospel is for all individually and nationally. This retains the necessary individual dynamic in the appeal of the gospel i.e. ‘that every knee will bow’ (Phil 2:9-11; 1 Tim 2:4; 2 Pet 3:9).
10. Submit: A term encompassing: 1) Repent i.e. a turning from self-centredness, sin, idolatry, corruption etc; to life in submission to God i.e. righteousness, goodness, love etc; 2) Submission to Jesus.
11. Ultimate restoration of human society and God's world: The ultimate end point is not merely human transformation important and foundational, important though this is, but the transformation and restoration of the whole cosmos and all peoples (cf. Rom 8:19-23; Rev 21-22).

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