Evangelism in the Book of Acts
"In each case (Acts examples),
the gospel is proclaimed, not by intent or plan, but in response to a
question provoked by the activity of God in the community. There is an
action that demands an explanation, and the gospel was the explanation.
‘Something has happened which makes people aware of a new reality, and
therefore the question arises: What is this reality? The communication of
the gospel is the answering of that question.’ "
In faith-based community organizations (FBCO) there are members of Christian churches who can carry out evangelism. They can build on the social transformation and "miracles" that God blesses. In FBCOs only institutions are members and they are usually churches. Community organization does not prevent personal evangelism even though they are institutions with the mission of building power and calling the powers that be to accountability. The goal is a greater degree of justice in society.
Evangelicals have often been urged to go and tell the gospel to every person they meet. The Book of Acts and World Vision's Bryant Myers argue that this evangelism places too much emphasis on words without deeds. Myers says that the goals of Christian witness are the same as development goals: "changed people and changed relationships." There is just a difference in focus – witness by life and deed over against witness by word. They are not separable and when we allow it, then we fail to make a wholistic witness. So too, faith-based community organization and evangelism are inseparable. We must not let the world separate our witness of deeds from our witness of words.
Myers quotes Leslie Newbigin's interpretation of Acts 2:11-13 and 3:13-15 regarding evangelism. In these passages the gospel is preached only after an answer is given to the unusual happenings of the Holy Spirit. Myers and Newbigin provide the answer to evangelism and faith-based community organization FBCO).
Myers starts by saying that proclaiming the gospel, by words is directly related to transformational development (we could say transformational organizing). If we do not include this evangelism in our work, then people will naturally reduce out organizing to sociological or a secular answer solely. We organize for power or for justice. No mention is made to Jesus Christ. Myers says we are witnessing to something in our work. "To what is it witnessing?"
worldview of the West has encouraged us to separate gospel-as-word,
gospel-as-sign, and gospel-as-deed. Any holistic understanding of
Christian witness must reunite these three aspects of what is really a
single gospel message. … The gospel is not a disembodies message, it is
carried and communicated in the life of Christian people."
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