Tuesday, October 5, 1999

Mission and Evangelism in the Prayer Book

Mission and Evangelism in the Prayer Book

By Dr. Stephen F. Noll

IT IS necessary to distinguish mission and evangelism.

Mission is the more inclusive category, flowing from the Father’s saving love for the world (John 3:16). So defined, the Church’s mission includes evangelism, teaching, and service (private and public).[1]

Evangelism (or alternatively "evangelization") is the announcement or proclamation of God’s salvation in Jesus Christ. Evangelism takes particular forms, e.g., preaching, witnessing, and apologetics, but its essence is sharing "the word of truth, the gospel (evangelion) of your salvation" (Ephesians 1:13). Just as faith and acts of without works is dead, so evangelism in words without deeds is hypocrisy. For this reason, the practice of love and justice is sometimes called "lifestyle evangelism." While evangelism includes the presentation of the Gospel to unchurched and lukewarm Christians, "proselytism" of Christians other traditions is not true evangelism.[2]

I. Prayer Book Teaching: An Overview

The Book of Common Prayer is not a mission handbook nor an evangelistic tract. Nevertheless, the Church’s call "to know Christ and make him known" is central to the Prayer Book and shapes the beliefs and piety of those who use it. The word "mission" appears in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer much more frequently than in earlier versions. The Prayer Book never uses the word "evangelism," although it does speak frequently of "proclaiming the Gospel." References to mission and evangelism are found throughout the Prayer Book, but especially in the Catechism, the Propers, the Daily Offices, the sacramental rites, and the Ordinal.

The Catechism

The explicit teaching of the Prayer Book on mission is found in the section on "The Church" in the "Outline of the Faith" or the Catechism (pages 854-855). To begin with, the Church’s catholic and apostolic character is integrally related to its mission. "The Church is catholic, because it proclaims the whole Faith to all people, to the end of time" and "is apostolic, because it continues in the teaching and fellowship of the apostles and is sent to carry out Christ’s mission to all people." The first of three questions on mission follows immediately:

Q. What is the mission of the Church?

A. The mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.

One may regret that the Catechism contains no specific definition of evangelism nor explicit identification of evangelism as part of the Church’s mission. Nevertheless mission is correctly identified as our participation in the redemptive purpose of God to restore the relationship between himself, humankind, and the world (Colossians 1:15-23; 1 Timothy 2:4).

The Catechism, following Scripture, provides a plausibility structure, a worldview, and mission is a fundamental component of that structure.[3] The story at the heart of this redemption is the saving Gospel, and it is outlined by the Catechism as follows:

  • Human beings were created in harmony with the Creator but have rebelled against him and live their lives alienated from him and the creation.
  • God offered a new relationship through the covenant with Israel, through whom he would bring all the nations back to himself.
  • God gave the Ten Commandments both to define his people’s duty to himself and their neighbor and to show them their sin and need for redemption.
  • The Messiah, Jesus, was sent by God to deliver his people from sin and to restore harmony with self, neighbors, and all creation.
  • Jesus Christ establishes a New Covenant relationship with God, not only for Israel but for all who believe in Him.
  • The Holy Spirit is at work in the world and in the Church to accomplish this personal and cosmic reconciliation with God in Christ.
  • The Holy Scriptures witness to Jesus and "proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom for all people."
  • The duty of every Christian mirrors the mission of the Church: "to work, pray, and give for the spread of the kingdom of God."
  • The Church’s mission will be finally accomplished by Christ in His Coming in glory, when God’s purpose for the world is completed.

Historical Documents

The Catechism’s identification of mission with redemption and the Gospel is grounded in the classic Anglican formularies contained in the "Historical Documents" section. Article XVIII of the Articles of Religion pronounces the simplicity of the Gospel: human beings are saved only by faith in the Name of Jesus. Such faith is not, however, vague pietism. Articles XXIV and XXXIV establish the important principles, revolutionary for its time, that the Gospel should be presented in a language "understanded of the people," and that traditions need not be "in all places one, or utterly like." These principles are the foundation for the contemporary missiological notion of contextualization.[4]

The Creed of Athanasius (Quicunque Vult) defines a specific content to the Catholic Faith, "which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved."

The Lambeth Quadrilateral is not specifically missionary but presumes salvation to be central to the biblical Gospel and a genuinely catholic faith. Its vision is an important reminder that ecumenism is a part of mission, as we pray that "your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name" (collect for Proper 16).

The Propers

The Church calendar follows the narrative lines of the Gospel. The proper collects and lessons of many feasts and seasons in the Church year refer to evangelism and mission. The Advent season recalls the mission of God’s "messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation." The Old Testament Lessons for this season focus on the role of Israel to be a light to the nations and to proclaim the Good News of God’s redemption (Isaiah 40:9-11; 49:6; 61:1-3).

As the Christmas angels announce "Good News to all people" in the birth of the Savior, so the Epiphany signifies God’s manifesting his Son as "the light of the world . . . that he may be worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth" (Collect for the Second Sunday). The Epiphany season connects the Gospel with discipleship and discipleship with evangelism: "Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and to proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation . . ." (Collect for the Third Sunday). Entering Lent, we lament "our failure to commend the faith that is in us," and pray that God may accomplish his salvation through "those who truly repent and with sincere hearts believe his holy Gospel" (Ash Wednesday "Litany of Penitence").

The center and climax of the New Testament Gospel is the Passion story of Jesus’ vicarious death and victorious resurrection, and the Prayer Book provides special liturgies and propers for Holy and Easter Weeks which include a focus on world evangelization. The Proper Preface for Holy Week states that Christ was "lifted up" on the Cross so "that he might draw the whole world to himself" (John 12:32). The Good Friday liturgy specifically includes intercessions "for those who have not received the Gospel of Christ." The Great Vigil of Easter speaks of "the salvation of all nations by the water of baptism" and prays that the newly baptized may have the power to proclaim Christ to all the world.

Easter Day celebrates the empty tomb and first appearances of the Risen Lord of lords. The Easter and Ascension seasons feature lessons from the Book of Acts showing how the exalted Christ extended his Kingdom by shedding abroad the gift of the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Gospel from Jerusalem, the center of Judaism, to Rome, the center of the Gentile world.

The primary call of the apostles, recalled in the Proper Preface for Apostles and Ordinations, is the Great Commission "to preach the Gospel and teach all nations." The Collects for Andrew, Peter, Paul, Philip and James, Barnabas, Bartholomew, Simon, and Jude all commemorate their carrying out this commission as faithful witnesses to Christ.

The original commission of the apostles is also an honored vocation of Christians throughout history. The Collect "Of a Missionary" prays that God "raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom," and Lesser Feasts and Fasts commemorates such missionaries as Anskar (Denmark), Cyril and Methodius (the Slavs), Thomas Bray (Maryland colony), Patrick (Ireland), Gregory the Illuminator (Armenia), George Augustus Selwyn (New Zealand), Samuel Schereschewsky (China), Jackson Kemper (Western U.S.), Augustine of Canterbury (England), Henry Martyn (Persia and India), Willibrord (Frisia), and Channing Moore Williams (China and Japan).

The Propers for Various Occasions include two Collects "For the Mission of the Church." The first Collect (which is also an option for Morning Prayer) asks God to "bring the nations into your fold." The second Collect asks God to "remember the multitudes who have been created in your image but have not known the redeeming work of our Savior Jesus Christ" and calls on the Church to pray and work for their salvation.

The Daily Office

The Daily Office in the 1979 Prayer Book has been infused with a spirit of mission. In addition to the Song of Simeon (Canticle 5, 17), the new Canticles 9,11,18, and 19 from Isaiah and Revelation emphasize God’s plan to draw all nations to Himself in Christ. Most significantly, Morning and Evening Prayer have one required "prayer for mission" to be chosen from two or three options (whether all these options are truly missionary is a debatable point). Noonday prayers also draw attention to the full light of the Gospel offered to the nations.

Prayers

The evangelical and missionary thrust can be found in other prayers as well. The Great Litany includes a special petition "to send forth laborers into thy harvest, and to draw all mankind into thy kingdom." The Litany for Ordinations has specific petitions for mission and for evangelism. These petitions are also found in Prayers of the People (Form V). Form II includes prayers "for all who seek God, or a deeper knowledge of him"; and in Form VI, the people remember "all who proclaim the Gospel and all who seek the Truth" (cf. John 14:6).

Among its "Prayers and Thanksgivings," the Prayer Book mentions "all sorts and conditions of men, that thou wouldest be pleased to make thy ways known to them, thy saving health unto all nations." (Prayer 2)." It gives thanks "for the wonderful diversity of races and cultures in this world," asking God to "show us your presence in those who differ most from us" (Thanksgiving 7). The collection includes a prayer and a thanksgiving for the mission of the Church. The latter prayer gives thanks for missionaries and for the planting of a church "in all parts of the earth" (which is a hope but surely not a reality today).

Finally, it is significant that in the prayer for a church convention or meeting, the purpose of such a church gathering is described as "renewal and mission." Would that every vestry meeting and diocesan convention set this agenda as a first priority!

Sacraments and Sacramental Rites

The second question in the Catechism asks:

Q. How does the Church pursue its mission?

A. The Church pursues its mission as it prays and worships, proclaims the Gospel, promotes justice, peace, and love.

By identifying mission as the Church’s activity, this question fails to ground mission in the grace of God and the power of the Spirit. Nevertheless, it does relate mission to the whole Christian life, not just to particular moments of personal evangelism. In this respect, it is significant that all the sacramental moments that shape the believer’s life contain references to the Gospel and to mission.

Baptism. Baptism is the evangelistic sacrament of new birth by the Spirit and incorporation into the Body of Christ. Throughout the Church’s history, there has been considerable debate over the relationship of the sacramental sign (water) and the inward and spiritual grace, especially in the case of infants.[5] If "it is by defining the community that the sacrament carries the preaching of the word forward and divides objectively between belief and unbelief," then evangelistic preaching seems appropriate among the baptized.[6]

By modeling baptism on adult conversion, the 1979 Service of Holy Baptism indicates more clearly the movement from repentance (renouncing evil) to faith (turning to Christ) to discipleship (obeying him as Lord). In the baptismal covenant, the convert promises to "proclaim by word and example the Good News of Christ." This evangelistic vow is preceded by two promises to live within the worshiping, forgiving fellowship of the Church, and it is followed by two promises to serve all persons and the public good. Thus the baptismal covenant mirrors the broader definition of mission found in the Catechism.

While the Great Commission is not specifically quoted, it is implicit in the Prayer for the Candidates — "Send them into the world in witness to your love" — and in the Thanksgiving over the Water — "Therefore in joyful obedience to your Son, we bring into fellowship those who come to him in faith, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." The household of faith which receives the baptized is a missionary fellowship confessing the faith of Christ crucified and proclaiming his resurrection.

Holy Eucharist. The evangelical pattern of repentance, faith, and discipleship can be found in the order for the Eucharist as well. This is particularly apparent when the service is prefaced by the Exhortation and Penitential Order, followed by the credal response to the reading and preaching of God’s Word, and the uniting of disciples in the sacrament of the Table. Worshipers recapitulate the moments of conversion as they take up their cross daily to follow Christ.

The traditional and contemporary services may be said to complement each other in their respective emphases on the justifying work of Christ, which is at the heart of evangelism, and the summons to mission by the Risen Christ, which is at the heart of mission. Rite One eloquently relates the Eucharist to the Cross of Christ, "who made there by his one oblation of himself once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world."

Rite Two, in all four of its eucharistic prayers, includes congregational acclamations proclaiming Christ’s finished work. Echoing St. Paul (1 Corinthians 11:28), Prayer C warns believers against a pietism that would deflect from Christ’s call to "worthily serve the world in his name." Each of the post-Communion prayers and the dismissals makes clear that the Eucharist is a renewal for mission; believers are "dismissed" not to go home but to go out into the world to love and serve the Lord.

Confirmation. Confirmation in the 1979 Prayer Book is treated as an extension of the baptismal covenant. Some confirmands will be taking the baptismal vows for the first time as adults; others will be reaffirming them as they are received into this Communion; yet others will be responding to the call of the Spirit to testify to their commitment to Christ. Because confirmation is set in such a context, it is possible (and desirable) to design Confirmation classes and the Confirmation service itself as an opportunity to evangelize the baptized.

Significantly, the Confirmation service is followed by "A Form of Commitment to Christian Service." Those who are called are also sent. It is unfortunate the Prayer Book has not dignified the commissioning of missionaries and evangelists with a separate rite, but this service could be supplemented to serve such a purpose.

Marriage. Although Holy Matrimony is not customarily thought of as a missionary vocation, the Preface to the marriage service notes "that Holy Scripture commends it to be honored among all people" (Hebrews 13:4), thus linking personal discipleship with marital discipline. The Prayers call on God to use the service itself to strengthen the bonds of all who attend, making Christian marriages "a sign to this sinful and broken world" of the faithfulness of Christ’s covenant promises.

Burial. The Burial Office offers an opportunity to declare the Gospel, not so much by what is preached (though it provides for a concise homily) as by the compiling of the biblical texts witnessing to the saving hope of the Gospel. What more can one say evangelistically than these words of comfort: "I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. . .".

Episcopal Services. The third and final question on mission in the Catechism asks:

Q. Through whom does the Church carry out its mission?

A. The Church carries out its mission through the ministry of all members.

With its strong emphasis on lay ministry, the 1979 Prayer Book rightly assigns the mission of the Church to all people. In fact, the repeated general charge to "proclaim the Gospel" suggests that laypeople are best positioned to reach out into the secular culture and bring others to Christ.

The Ordinal. At the same time, the "apostolic work" of supervising the missionary activity of the Church is entrusted to bishops and priests, according to the Preface to the Ordinal. Perhaps due to the merging of New Testament offices of apostle and elder, the bishop’s role combines offensive and defensive functions. Bishops are called to be "one with the apostles in proclaiming Christ’s resurrection and interpreting the Gospel," but they must also "guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church." In addition, they are to be ecumenical figures, linking the catholic Church in space and time.

Like bishops, priests are expected to boldly proclaim the gospel of salvation, but this proclamation is largely focused on congregational preaching. While referring to the variety of ministries including that of evangelist (Ephesians 4:11), the consecration prayer identifies the priest above all as pastor and teacher. Bishops and priests are "apostolic pioneers" in terms of the Great Commission (see Proper Preface for Apostles and Ordinations), not terms of doctrinal innovation. Deacons, in fact, are charged with a responsibility, new to the office, to "interpret to the Church the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world."

New Ministry, New Church. While the services of installing a church leader and dedicating a church building reflect the fact that the congregation is the locus of church life, they fail to carry through the missionary and evangelistic emphasis found in the central Prayer Book services. The Celebration of a New Ministry projects a passive view of evangelism as keeping the doors open to all people, but without any sense of urgency to go out and seek the lost. One wonders why a gift symbolic of the call to reach the unevangelized and unchurched might not be included at the presentation to the new minister. The new priest’s acceptance prayer expresses a rather utopian hope that somehow through parish preaching "all the world will be drawn into your blessed kingdom." The need for cooperation of parishes with missionaries and evangelists is missing here.

The Dedication and Consecration of a Church is equally parochial. The service suggests that the "new members added to your household" through baptism are children of the parish and that the pulpit is to be used for edifying, not evangelizing. A stronger missionary emphasis may be achieved in the service by extending the readings from 1 Kings 8:22-23,27b-30 to verses 41-43, and Revelation 21:2-7 to verses 22-27; and by substituting the Temple cleansing account in Mark 11:12-17.

The Hymnal

The mission theme is represented in both The Hymnal 1940 ("Missions" #253-#265) and The Hymnal 1982 ("The Church’s Mission" #528-#544). These two collections differ, as the titles might suggest. The 1982 Hymnal omits overtly colonialist hymns and themes, e.g., "Far Off Lands" (#262 [1940]): "some work in sultry forests, where apes swing to and fro." It opens its collection with a new hymn, "Rowthorn" (#528) — "Lord, you gave the Great Commission" — which links mission with the Spirit-apportioned ministries of the Church. More problematically, several traditional hymns are altered to suggest the universal salvation of all, e.g., "O Zion haste" (#539; cf. #261 [1940]): "that all might live above."

Both 1940 and 1982 Hymnals contain classic evangelical hymns by such authors as Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley. The 1982 Hymnal has added a fine collection of "Southern Harmony" hymns, and the Lift Every Voice and Sing II supplement has added a section on Evangelism (#156-#161). Hymns associated with evangelistic revivals, such as "Amazing Grace" (#671), "Breathe on me, Breath of God" (#508), "Guide me, O thou great Jehovah" (#690), and "Just as I am" (#693) can be found in the 1982 Hymnal and other supplements.

The Book of Occasional Services

The "Pastoral Services" section of The Book of Occasional Services (1988) makes provision for welcome and farewell to Church members in our transient society. It then proceeds to a lengthy set of instructions and ritual "Concerning the Catechumenate" (pages 112-141). These services, modeled on the Roman Catholic Rite for Christian Initiation of Adults, provide a several-stage process by which an unbaptized person is prepared for baptism and ministry in the Church. These stages include pre-catechumenal inquirers’ classes, a catechumenal period of unspecified length, candidacy for baptism during Lent or Advent, and a post-baptismal period of involvement in the full range of Church ministries. A parallel process for those reaffirming baptismal vows is also provided.[7]

II. Biblical Background

The Eucharistic Prayers offer a succinct statement of the biblical story of salvation, which is the substance of the Church’s missionary Gospel.

Old Testament and Judaism

"We give thanks to you, O God, for the goodness and love you have made known to us in creation." From the very beginning, the Father spoke his creation into being, with man and woman as his covenant partners. When they rebelled against his command, the Lord God sent them out into a fallen world, the domain of the nations.

"In the calling of Israel to be your people. . .". From among the nations, the Lord chose Abraham and sent him to Canaan with the promise that "by your offspring all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves" (Genesis 12:3; 22:18). At Mount Sinai, Israel was constituted a "kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Exodus 19:6), which implied that Israel had service to perform both to God and to the nations (Isaiah 2:1-5). The establishment of the Davidic kingdom represents a crucial development in God’s plan of salvation. The promised offspring of Israel would be a royal Son, the Messiah, through whom all nations would be blessed (2 Samuel 7:14; Ps 72:17).

"In your Word spoken through the prophets…" When Israel and its kings repeatedly rejected the covenant, God sent prophets as messengers of repentance and renewed promise. In the "Servant Songs" of Isaiah, God recommissions Israel as his servant (Isaiah 42:6) and adds: "It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth" (Isaiah 49:6). The corporate destiny of Israel is to be fulfilled through a Suffering Servant, "who will startle many nations" when he is lifted up on high (Isaiah 52:13-15).

"In the fullness of time you sent your Son to be our Savior." The Exile of the Jewish people among the nations was to be a time of repentance and expectation, waiting for the consolation of Israel, the Messiah who would be a Light to enlighten the nations (Luke 2:25,32). With the collapse of the ethnic religions of the Mediterranean world, many pagans turned to Judaism, although there is little evidence that Jews actively recruited converts. At a time when Palestine was rife with messianic movements, John the Baptist began announcing the Kingdom of God and the coming of One greater than a prophet, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.

New Testament

In all four Gospels, Jesus’ vocation is distinctly missionary and evangelistic. In Matthew’s and Mark’s Gospel, Jesus begins his public ministry by announcing that "the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the Gospel"; and by calling disciples to be "fishers of men" (Matthew 4:17-22; Mark 1:14-18). In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus identifies himself as Isaiah’s Spirit-filled Servant, who has come to "preach good news to the poor" and to bring in the eschatological Year of Release (Luke 4:16-21). John’s Gospel is perhaps the most glorious vision of Christ’s mission. He is the Word through whom the world was made; he comes to his own home, and to those who receive him by faith he gives power to become children of God, being born of God (John 1:11-13).

Jesus sent out groups of twelve and seventy disciples, signifying the mission to Jews and Gentiles, to announce the Kingdom and reap a harvest of those who believed (Luke 9-10). The enigmatic Gospel of the Kingdom comes to full manifestation with his death and resurrection. All four Gospels conclude with a form of "the Great Commission" by which the Risen Lord sends his apostles again, this time to all the nations. The classic formulation comes from Matthew’s Gospel: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:18-19). The Great Commission announces that Jesus Christ is cosmic Lord present with his Church, and that this Church is empowered to make more disciples in a world-wide mission. "Making disciples" includes evangelizing (cf. Mark 16:15), baptizing, and teaching Jesus’ commands and way of loving service to others.[8]

The Day of Pentecost marks the beginning of the Church’s mission. Indeed, the Holy Spirit precedes and enables the effective communication of the Gospel. After the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles, Peter preached to Diaspora Jews gathered in Jerusalem: "Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified" (Acts 2:36). This preaching led to a specific act of conversion: "And Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’" (Acts 2:38). The Holy Spirit not only completed the work of salvation in the lives of believers, but he gave the apostles boldness to preach and guided them as they went out "from Jerusalem, to Judea and Samaria, to the ends of the earth."

On the road to Damascus, Saul of Tarsus, the greatest Christian missionary, was converted by the Risen Jesus and called to a mission to the Gentiles (Acts 9:1-6; 26:18).[9] Beginning from Antioch, St. Paul traversed the Mediterranean world, planting churches in areas "where Christ was not known" (Romans 15:20). Paul’s missionary methods, as ably shown by the Anglican missionary Roland Allen, combined what we might call strategic church planting with a strong reliance on the Holy Spirit to guide new converts into all truth.[10]

Jesus’ earthly mission had been directed to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel." After Pentecost, the apostles carried out a dual mission of preaching "to the Jew first, and also to the Greeks." Paul regularly preached first at synagogues and only later in public forums. Before long, Paul’s Gospel of justification by faith "apart from the Law" became a source of conflict between Jewish Christians in Jerusalem and his mission congregation. The "Jerusalem Council" (Acts 15) gave Paul authority to extend the Gentile mission without restrictions, but increasingly Jews refused the Gospel and the churches became dominated by Gentiles. Paul concluded that a "hardening" had come upon Israel for the sake of the Gentiles; however, he continued to affirm the original "gifts and call" of the Jewish people, and he looked to a future day when "all Israel will be saved" (Romans 11: 25-32).

While Paul recognized the ministry of "evangelist" (Ephesians 4:11), he did not urge his congregations to practice "every member" evangelism. He exhorts believers to practice the virtues of love, unity, and edification "so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody" (1 Thessalonians 4:12; cf. Philippians 2:15). The primitive Christian mission succeeded not only through the brilliance of Paul and Peter and John but also by the pious and moral examples of its converts.[11]

St. Paul’s life, following his Lord, was a living Gospel. It was a life of hardships, persecution and finally death. Just as Jesus had challenged his disciples to "take up their cross and follow him," so the Risen Lord calls every Christian to be a "witness" (Greek martyrion). According to the Revelation to John, every Christian is a potential martyr (Rev 20:4), a prophecy that has been a persistent reality for Christians from apostolic times down to the present.[12] Early Christians were supported in their witness by the vision of final judgment and vindication, when God "will wipe every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more" (Revelation 21:4).

III. Historical Development

David Bosch has recently suggested five paradigms of Christian mission across the history of the Church, in addition to the "apocalyptic" paradigm of primitive Christianity.[12] These paradigms span historical periods as well as particular traditions of the Christian Church.

The Orthodox Paradigm

"Orthodox missiology" sounds strange to Western ears. While Orthodoxy has certainly had its period of missionary expansion, e.g., the mission to the Slavs under Cyril and Methodius, its particular missiological witness is found elsewhere.

The Eastern Church was able to engage the disintegrating culture of the Greco-Roman world. As opposed to the "Jerusalem against Athens" stance of Tertullian, Eastern theologians like Origen, Clement of Alexandria, and the Cappadocians attempted (some more successfully than others) to integrate biblical revelation with classical pagan philosophy, thus commending Christ to the cultural elite. This synthesis resulted in a stronger "vertical eschatology" of the soul and cosmos participating harmoniously with the Triune Persons. Mission is thus, for the Orthodox, bound up with doxology and centered in the Church’s Liturgy.

From the time of Constantine, Orthodoxy has stressed the internal unity of the Church and external role of the Church as the soul of the state. The Orthodox paradigm has thus at times involved dubious entanglement with empire. At the same time, Orthodoxy with its commitment to tradition and theology has endured periods of harsh persecution by the State, in the Islamic and Soviet empires, not to mention the cultural imperialism of modernism.

The Medieval Catholic Paradigm

The theological synthesis of catholic theology and church-state relationships formed by St. Augustine became the foundation of Christian mission for more than a thousand years in Catholic Europe and its colonies. Augustine stressed simultaneously the need of each individual sinner for saving grace and the mediation of that grace through the Church and sacraments, initially through baptism. In the later medieval "political Augustinianism," the Church was considered the "city of God," whose mission was to be supported by the political authorities. The secular arm was especially active in reconverting "heretics," e.g., Waldensians and Cathari, back into the Church; but it also came to be the instrument of crusades against non-Christians.

Monasticism provided the vital mission force for the Western Church, including Roman missionaries like St. Augustine of Canterbury and St. Boniface, and Irish monks like St. Columba. At the dawn of the colonial era, "mission" was directed by the papacy, with the Jesuit order as a special missionary arm, and nuns like Mother Teresa still form the backbone of contemporary Roman Catholic missions.

Since Vatican II, Roman Catholic theology has undergone a paradigm shift which has allowed it to participate and even lead in ecumenical discussions of mission.

The Evangelical Protestant Paradigm

The doctrine of justification by faith, as recovered by Martin Luther, became the article on which the Protestant ("Evangelical") churches stand, including their mission theology. "How can they hear unless they have a preacher?" asked the Reformers, emphasizing the Church’s mediation of the Gospel primarily through the Word rather than through the sacrament of baptism.

Although the magisterial Reformers engaged in a massive reordering of the Church in the light of Holy Scripture, they accepted the notion of cuius regio, eius religio (each region has its religion) and left evangelism and mission of the unchurched largely to the Anabaptists and later the Pietists. Nevertheless, evangelical theology formed the basis for the Great Awakenings and Evangelical revivals in Great Britain, the missionary movements of the 19th century, and the Pentecostal movement of the 20th century. Contemporary Evangelicals have accepted many insights from the postmodern paradigm, while retaining the priority of evangelism in the missionary call.[13]

The Liberal Paradigm

The 18th century Enlightenment began with a fundamental challenge to the uniqueness of Christ, to the possibility of salvation as it had been traditionally understood, and to the authority of the Bible. Apologists like Friedrich Schleiermacher sought to explain Christianity in subjective terms as the "feeling of absolute dependence" or encounter with "the numinous." The creedal content of the Gospel and justifying faith came to be understood as a sub-species, albeit the highest expression, of human religiosity.

The democratic revolution undercut the Christendom model of church and state that had prevailed since Constantine and promoted in its place a universalistic and individualistic worldview that was congenial to Evangelicals as well as liberals in their mission theology. Until the turn of the 20th century, American Protestants of all stripes cooperated in the constructing of a postmillennial Christian society to be exported along with democracy to the nations. The last hurrah of this movement was the Edinburgh Conference (1910), by which time "fundamentalists" and modernists parted ways, and liberals moved on to the missionary ecumenism of the World Council of Churches (1948). Increasingly throughout the twentieth century, liberals have lost confidence in the ultimate truth of Christianity, and liberal churches have de-emphasized evangelism and withdrawn from "missions" in favor of various forms of interfaith dialogue and political activism.

The Postmodern Paradigm

Some missiologists like Lesslie Newbigin believe that postmodern pluralism provides a new setting for fruitful and cooperative mission work: "Because the Church has been so long domesticated within Western culture, when this culture loses its nerve, we are in danger of losing ours. . . . If God indeed has done what in all our liturgies we affirm that he has done, then it is a most tremendous fact that must be told as public truth in every culture and every generation."[15]

The theological inspiration for this postmodern paradigm derives from Karl Barth’s idea of Missio Dei: "The missio Dei is God’s activity, which embraces both the church and the world, and in which the church may be privileged to participate."[16] A postmodern paradigm will encompass some of the following concerns:

  • An understanding of salvation based on a comprehensive Christology
  • Mission as requiring joint mandates of evangelism and social justice
  • Contextualization of mission and indigenization of the Church
  • Liberation theology which integrates the material and spiritual dimensions of life
  • Mission through the ministry of the whole people of God through the local congregation
  • Mission as ecumenical witness
  • Interfaith dialogue without compromising distinctives
  • An eschatology which is immersed in the present historical setting and open to future directions of the Spirit

Whether this postmodern agenda forms a genuinely new paradigm or is an amalgam of other paradigms is yet to be seen.

IV. Anglican Teaching

The Ecclesia Anglicana in its widest sense is, like all churches, the fruit of mission, as Augustine came to Canterbury and Aidan to Lindisfarne. In turn, the English Church sent out missionaries to parts of Europe and later to its colonies worldwide. Surprisingly, this missionary heritage is not very apparent in the English Prayer Book tradition. The Book of Common Prayer was conceived to serve a reformed Christian commonwealth. Nor did the Church of England show much flexibility in adapting its tradition to the colonies. Besides the reaction against the Church of England after the American Revolution, the Prayer Book was not well suited to frontier evangelism, a fact which gave great advantage to Methodist and Baptist evangelicals.

The 19th century witnessed an outpouring of English free church missionaries like William Carey, David Livingstone, and Hudson Taylor to all points of the globe. Anglicans, under the auspices of such agencies as the Church Missionary Society (C.M.S.) and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (S.P.G.), and Episcopalians were also found working around the world. The most notable of these domestic and foreign missionaries are commemorated in Lesser Feasts and Fasts, but thousands more labored on the mission field in various capacities.

Some Anglicans have made noteworthy contributions in seeking to contextualize the Gospel and coordinate the work of mission societies. Reginald Heber, in his brief three years in Calcutta, called for a united Gospel mission. Two Anglicans, Henry Venn and Roland Allen sought to reform the colonialist paradigm of missionary sending, anticipating by more than a century the principles of indigenization, contextualization. In the Episcopal Church, Bishop Charles Pettit McIlvaine of Ohio proposed the idea of the whole Church as a Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society. This ideal led to the division of work between High Churchmen in domestic mission and Evangelicals in overseas mission.[17]

Archbishop William Temple combined in his ministry and writings an admirable synthesis of evangelism and social witness. He also promoted at an early date the necessity of lay evangelism, saying: "The main duty of the clergy must be to train the lay members of the congregation in their work of witness." Temple commissioned the study Towards the Conversion of England (1946) in which the classic definition of evangelism appears: "To evangelise is so to present Christ Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit that men shall come to put their trust in God through Him, to accept Him as their Saviour, and serve Him in the fellowship of His Church."

John Stott has worked to bring evangelicals around the world to a full sense of mission. Stott has been uncompromising in his commitment to the Great Commission, as articulated in the Lausanne Covenant, but he has also responded to the voices from the margin in the more recent Manila Manifesto (1989): "The authentic gospel must become visible in the transformed lives of men and women (1 Thessalonians 1:6-10). As we proclaim the love of God we must be involved in loving service (1 John 3:17), and as we preach the Kingdom of God we must be committed to its demands of justice and peace (Romans 14:17)."

Anglicanism has been blessed in the premier apologist of the century, C. S. Lewis, whose writings continue to engage contemporary culture. In Alister McGrath, Anglicanism also has a spokesman for the truth of the Gospel in a pluralistic culture.[18] Finally, Oliver O’Donovan’s work on political theology, The Desire of the Nations (1996), may lay the foundation for the reconstitution of a genuinely post-Christian articulation of the kingdom of God in Scripture and history.[19]

In addition to missionaries, the Church of England has had its share of famous evangelists like George Whitefield, John Wesley, and Charles Simeon. In our day, Anglicans such as Brian Green, Samuel Shoemaker, David Watson, John Chapman, and Michael Green have written cogently about evangelism and conducted effective evangelistic missions.[20]

Inter-Anglican Statements

The Lambeth Conference has made repeated affirmations of mission and evangelism. In 1958, for instance, it defined the mission of the Church as "a mission to the whole world, not only in area but in the concerns of all mankind. . . . Each generation needs to be evangelised and to this all-important task we summon the people of God in every land" (Resolution 58). It affirmed "the importance of preaching, both evangelistic and expository, ministered as a means of grace, by men who have experienced the power of the Gospel in their lives" (Resolution 7).

As the Anglican Communion became increasingly aware of the spiritual strength of its younger churches, it promoted programs of "Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence" (1968, Resolution 67), and Partners in Mission (1978, Resolution 15). The latter Resolution states: "The insights of other cultures, and of various understandings of mission, are vital to growth in a true and balanced theology of mission, and to ensuring the possibility of a creative exchange of resources both personal and material."

The 1988 Lambeth Conference, "recognising that evangelism is the primary task given to the Church," declared the 1990’s a Decade of Evangelism" (Resolution 43).[21] At the same time it saw the need for a new perspective on mission and called "for a shift to a dynamic missionary emphasis going beyond care and nurture to proclamation and service…" (Resolution 44).

Episcopal Church Statements

In 1973, the General Convention adopted for its own the definition of evangelism associated with Archbishop Temple. Using this definition as a platform, the Standing Commission on Evangelism made the following points in 1991:

  • "Our first task as evangelists is to rediscover the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, in his person and work."
  • "The willingness to go and tell [about Jesus Christ] is an important sign of the reality of our faith."
  • Evangelistic methods are varied and may include preaching and teaching, friendship and testimony, worship, dialogue, Christian service, cross-cultural mission, apologetics, and the corporate example of the community of faith.
  • "The sad fact is that in the Episcopal Church many have been sacramentalized without ever being evangelized. We need to call for decision not only from those beyond the Church, but even from those within it."
  • "If we understand that Jesus is Savior, we must also understand that without him we are lost. Salvation and lostness are linked doctrines, and this is difficult for many Episcopalians."
  • "The initiative for evangelism and the power to carry it out never originates with us. . . . The power of the Holy Spirit is as much a reality for the evangelized person as it is for the evangelist."
  • The mission of the Church . . . includes evangelism, pastoral care, advocacy for the poor and oppressed, healing in body, soul, and spirit, and a host of other callings."
  • "The work of evangelism is not completed until persons are sharing the fellowship of the Church."[22]

The Report concluded with a vision for the Decade of Evangelism which included transformed individuals, radiant congregations, visionary dioceses, and disciplined prayer. It then gave several examples of churches where that vision was being manifested.

V. Ecumenical Documents

While the hope for the organic union of the Christian churches seems farther than ever from fulfillment, consensus on mission is surprisingly strong, so much so that Orthodox, Roman Catholics, and Protestants speak of a "Common Witness."[23] The Lima statement places baptism in the context of the Great Commission when it states that "administered in obedience to our Lord, baptism is a sign and seal of our common discipleship."[24]

Roman Catholic Statements

Vatican II set the tone for much ecumenical discussion of mission. The "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church" begins with striking words: "Christ is the light of the nations" (Lumen Gentium). It goes on to ground the Church’s identity in the Father, who sent the Son and the Spirit to gather His people to Himself. "The pilgrim Church," according to the "Decree on Missionary Activity of the Church" (Ad Gentes) "is missionary by her very nature." "It is, then, that missionary activity wells up from the Church’s innermost nature and spreads abroad her saving faith." The goal of missionary activity is "evangelization and the planting of the church among those peoples and groups where she has not yet taken root"; and the chief means of evangelization is "the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ."

Orthodox Statements

In the 1970s the Orthodox began to make their perspective known in ecumenical circles. Orthodox statements are quite congenial with the Roman Catholic view that mission flows from the very nature of God and the Church. Thus Go Forth in Peace (1986) states: "The proclamation of the kingdom of God lies at the very heart of the church’s vocation to the world. Mission belongs to the very nature of the church, whatever the conditions of its life, for without mission there is no church. . .". From their particular perspective, the Orthodox observe that "the mission of the Church has cosmic dimensions. Its aim is to embrace and to renew the whole world, to transfigure it into God’s kingdom."

World Council of Churches Statements

The Ecumenical Affirmation on Mission and Evangelism of the World Council of Churches reveals fruitful interaction of Orthodox, Roman Catholics, and Protestants on the WCC’s Commission on World Mission and Evangelism, attempting to balance the concerns of witness to the Gospel in word and deed. The 1982 statement lists seven "ecumenical convictions":

  • Conversion is "an invitation to recognize and accept in a personal decision the saving lordship of Christ."
  • "The lordship of Christ is to be proclaimed to all realms of life."
  • "It is at the heart of Christian mission to foster the multiplication of local congregations in every human community."
  • "Mission calls for a serving church in every land, a church which is willing to be marked with the stigmata (nail marks) of the crucified and risen Lord."
  • "A proclamation that does not hold forth the promises of justice of the kingdom to the poor of the earth is a caricature of the Gospel; but Christian participation in the struggles for justice which does not point towards the promises of the kingdom also makes a caricature of a Christian understanding of justice."
  • A moratorium on sending and receiving foreign missionaries is called for "in order to encourage the recovery and affirmation of the identity of every church, the concentration on mission in its own place and the freedom to reconsider traditional relations."
  • With regard to people of other living faiths, "witness cannot be a one-way process, but of necessity is two-way; in it Christians become aware of some of the deepest convictions of their neighbours," while "giving an account of their commitment to the Christ who calls all persons to himself."

The Lausanne Covenant

Working separately from the conciliar movement, evangelicals have sought to articulate the call of mission and evangelism through two bodies, the World Evangelical Fellowship and the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. The Lausanne Covenant, like other statements, roots the mission of the Church in the Triune God, "sending his people back into the world (John 17:18) to be his servants and his witnesses, for the extension of his kingdom, the building up of Christ’s body, and the glory of his name (Ephesians 4:12)." Evangelicals consider it important that mission and evangelism be based on a high doctrine of Scripture and the uniqueness of Christ.

The priority in mission, according to Lausanne, is evangelism, "the proclamation of the historical, biblical Christ as Saviour (1 Corinthians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 4:5) and Lord, with a view to persuading people to come to him personally and so be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:11,20). . . . The results of evangelism include obedience to Christ, incorporation into his Church (Acts 2:40, 47) and responsible service in the world (Mark 10:43-45)." The missionary call extends to the Jewish people as well, though its particularity is addressed by the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism. As noted above, John Stott has sought to strengthen the evangelical commitment to social concern in the Manila Manifesto (1989), and a number of evangelicals now cooperate in conciliar discussions on mission and evangelism.[25]

VI. Evaluation of Prayer Book Doctrine

The 1979 Book of Common Prayer clearly presents the "eternal gospel…to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and tongue and people" (Revelation 14:6). It articulates adequately the content of the "faith once delivered to the saints," as summarized in the acclamation, "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again." In so doing, the Prayer Book justifies the claim of its Preface not to depart from the doctrine, discipline and worship of classic Anglicanism.

The most striking enrichment of the 1979 Prayer Book is the explicit focus on mission. Mission is a catch-all word today, e.g., "the mission of Burger King is . . ."; and it has been said that where mission means everything, it comes to mean nothing. The Prayer Book, by contrast, makes clear that the mission of the Church is directly related to proclaiming the Gospel; that all Christians are obliged to "proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ."

Given this firm commitment in the Prayer Book to mission and evangelism, we must ask why the Episcopal Church has declined in membership from 3.6 million (1965) to 2.4 million (1995), has reduced its involvement in overseas missions (from 449 appointed overseas missionaries in 1965 to 23 in 1995), and has often refused to cooperate in cross-denominational evangelistic campaigns, Although the Church has now made adult baptism the norm, most "converts" to the Episcopal Church are transfers from other denominations. The average Episcopal congregation is small, declining in numbers, aging, and has little understanding of how to turn things around. Beyond this, few Episcopal churches pray regularly for world evangelization, and few have mission committees to connect the congregation with missionaries or the worldwide Anglican communion.

Failure to live up to one’s ideals is a common human trait, but the chasm between word and deed in the Episcopal Church requires more explanation than that. The fundamental problem is not with the doctrine of the Prayer Book but with the "discontinuity," in this area as in others, between the biblical and Prayer Book teaching and the views and practices of Church leaders. The seminaries of the Episcopal Church by and large offer little if any training in mission and evangelism, while at the same time promoting as normative theologians like John Macquarrie, who explicitly renounces the evangelistic core of mission.[26]

Bishop John Shelby Spong, notorious but sitting on the House of Bishops’ Theology Committee, likewise raises "disturbing questions": "Can any longer claim a unique universal ultimacy for our Christ? Can we with integrity continue to support and engage in a missionary enterprise designed to convert? What is the meaning of the enterprise we call evangelism that seems to assume the narrow and traditional claims for Christianity that we have made through the ages."[27] In a Church of such conflicted voices, the corporate will to sacrifice for the sake of the Gospel is sapped, and even locally clergy and missionaries feel their vocation compromised.

The discontinuity between the teaching of the Prayer Book and the views of many Church leaders is a major cause of the decline in numbers. The decline of the liberal "mainline" churches is well documented.[28] At the same time, returning to a full-fledged commitment to mission and evangelism would surely lead to division. There is no short-term way to restore the numbers and influence of the Episcopal Church.[29] Nevertheless, the recovery of confidence in biblical authority and in the Prayer Book heritage may lead eventually to a renewal of Anglicanism in the Episcopal Church. For this to happen, those concerned for the Great Commission will probably need, like the "man from Macedonia," (Acts 16:9), to invite Third World Anglicans to "come over and help us."[30]

VII. Pastoral Application

The challenges of a pluralistic, post-Christian culture and the failure of Episcopal leadership to commend the Gospel confidently do not relieve clergy and laypeople of the obligation to "make disciples of all nations." It remains a joyous unchanging truth that God has exalted Jesus Christ and given him "all authority in heaven and earth," and that he has shed abroad the gift of the Holy Spirit by the preaching of the Gospel so that it may reach the ends of the earth (Collects for 7 Easter and Pentecost).

The 1979 Book of Common Prayer contains an excellent foundation for the faithful Christian to believe and teach the centrality of mission and evangelism in the Church’s life. At the same time, Church leaders should seek to inform themselves on supplemental helps that go beyond the Prayer Book, such as those listed below.

Parish Mission Statement

Many parishes today adopt a mission or purpose statement summing up the primary aim of the Church, e.g., "St. X’s Church, a loving fellowship of disciples making disciples in obedience to Christ"; or "Church of the X, a baptismal community united for fellowship, forgiveness, proclamation, caring, and justice." Used properly, mission statements can guide congregational leaders to evaluate priorities in the Church’s life and stewardship.

Mission Committee

As a beginning, churches may establish a mission committee that keeps before the clergy and congregation the mission imperative and looks for opportunity for cross-cultural ministry within the parish’s locale. The Mission Committee may see that prayer for missionaries and unreached peoples is included in the Prayers of the People. It may also teach and advise on financial support to local and international outreach projects and ministries.

Mission Conferences

Great revivals of the Gospel have often been fueled from regular missions conferences. The Urbana missions conference, which meets just after Christmas every three years, has brought together thousands of college students with a heart for mission. The triennial "New Wineskins" conferences in the Episcopal Church, which began in 1994, offer to ordinary Episcopalians an exposure to international Anglicans and missionaries.[31] In addition to these, there are frequent renewal and evangelism conferences offered regionally.

Evangelism Committee

It may be equally important to establish a parish Evangelism Committee to focus on primary evangelism within the parish and the local community. The Committee might be involved in such activities as training of laypeople to witness and evangelize, organizing periodic parish evangelistic missions, providing for testimonies within worship services, and cooperating with ecumenical evangelistic crusades.

Reaching New Members

Whether or not a parish uses the official "catechumenal process" for incorporating new members, some form of engagement with those outside is essential to fulfilling the Great Commission.[32] Inquirers classes should not only inform people about Episcopal traditions but should include a clear statement of the Gospel with an invitation to accept Christ or reaffirm one’s faith. Some parishes require all who transfer into the parish to attend classes in which the Gospel will be presented. Discovery groups for parishioners and outsiders is also an important means of evangelism.[33] The Alpha Course, in particular, has become a successful means of introducing the faith to those who have little of no knowledge of it."[34]

Evangelism through Worship

The liturgy is a wonderful resource for reaching out, but it can also be a barrier to newcomers. Mission-minded congregations will think through ways to make formal worship "seeker-friendly" while maintaining the "beauty of holiness." While the Eucharist is, in most parishes, the central Sunday service, other informal services of prayer and praise, preaching and teaching, or evangelistic outreach should be part of the church’s total ministry.

Mission and Evangelism Societies

Clergy and people should be aware of the specialized ministries that serve the larger Church. The national Episcopal Church sponsors missionaries and evangelism through its program. In addition, there are many independent societies in the Episcopal Church which include mission and evangelism explicitly as part of their purpose.[35]

ENDNOTES

[1] John R. W. Stott, Christian Mission in the Modern World (InterVarsity Press, 1975) 15-34.

[2] See J. Robert Wright, "The Implications of Ecclesiology for Proselytism and Evangelism," The Anglican (July 1996) 19-22.

[3] See Leslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (Eerdmans, 1989) 99-102.

[4] See e.g., Vincent J. Donovan, Christianity Rediscovered (Orbis, 2nd ed., 1982); and David J. Hesselgrave, Communicating Christ Cross-Culturally: An Introduction to Missionary Communication (Zondervan, 2nd ed., 1991).

[5] See Daniel B. Stevick, Baptismal Moments: Baptismal Meanings (Church Hymnal Corporation, 1987) 35-53.

[6] Oliver O’Donovan, On the Thirty-Nine Articles: A Conversation with Tudor Christianity (Paternoster, 1986) 130.

[7] See Byron David Stuhlman, Occasions of Grace: An Historical and Theological Study of the Pastoral Offices and Episcopal Services in the Book of Common Prayer (CHC, 1995) 18-71.

[8] Mortimer Arias and Alan Johnson, The Great Commission: Biblical Models for Evangelism (Abingdon Press, 1992), esp. pages 52-55, on the ending of Mark’s Gospel.

[9] See Beverly R. Gaventa, From Darkness to Light: Aspects of Conversion in the New Testament (Fortress Press, 1986).

[10] Roland Allen, Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours (Eerdmans, 1962).

[11] Michael Green, Evangelism in the Early Church (Eerdmans, 1970) 166-193.

[12] On contemporary persecution of Christians, see Paul Marshall, Their Blood Cries Out (Word, 1997).

[13] See David, J. Bosch, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission (Orbis, 1992).

[14] Dean S. Gilliland, ed., The Word among Us: Contextualizing Theology for Mission Today (Word, 1989).

[15] "Mission Agenda," in A Word in Season: Perspectives on Christian World Missions (Eerdmans, 1994) 188.

[16] Bosch, Transforming Mission, 391.

[17] See Diana Hochstedt Butler, Standing against the Whirlwind: Evangelical Episcopalians in Nineteenth-Century America (Oxford University Press, 1995) 75-77.

[18] Alister McGrath, A Passion for Truth: The Intellectual Coherence of Evangelicalism (InterVarsity Press, 1996); and The Renewal of Anglicanism (Morehouse, 1993).

[19] Oliver O’Donovan, The Desire of the Nations: Rediscovering the Roots of Political Theology (Cambridge University Press, 1996).

[20] See Bryan Green: Parson-Evangelist, ed. Timothy Yates (Bryan Green Society, 1994); Helen Smith Shoemaker, I Stand by the Door: The Life of Sam Shoemaker (New York: Harper & Row, 1967); David Watson, I Believe in Evangelism (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1976); John C. Chapman, Know and Tell the Gospel: A Down-to-Earth Guide to Sharing Your Faith (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1985); and Michael Green, Evangelism through the Local Church: A Comprehensive Guide to All Aspects of Evangelism (Nashville: Nelson, 1990).

[21] Resolution A057 of the 1988 General Convention, declaring the 1990’s to be a Decade of Evangelism in the Episcopal Church proved a precursor of the Communion-wide Resolution.

[22] The Blue Book 1991, 101-119.

[23] For a convenient collection of texts, see James A. Scherer and Stephen B. Bevans, eds., New Directions in Mission and Evangelization: Basic Statements, 1974-1991 (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis, 1992).

[24] Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry (Geneva, WCC, 1982) sec. 6

[25] See Vinay Samuel and Chris Sugden, eds., A.D. 2000 and Beyond: A Mission Agenda. A Festschrift for John Stott’s 70th Birthday (Oxford: Regnum Books, 1991).

[26] John Macquarrie, Principles of Christian Theology (Scribners, 2nd ed., 1977) 441-446. Macquarrie’s textbook does not have one entry under "Evangelism."

[27] John Shelby Spong, "A Dialogue in a Buddhist Temple," The Voice [Diocese of Newark] (Jan. 1989) 2.

[28] E.g., Wade Clark Roof and William McKinney, American Mainline Religion: Its Changing Shape and Future (Rutgers University Press, 1987).

[29] Dean R. Hoge, Benton Johnson, and Donald Luidens, Vanishing Boundaries: The Religion of Mainline Protestant Baby Boomers (W/JK Press, 1994) esp. 203-212.

[30] See Richard Kew and Cyril Okorocha, Vision Bearers: Dynamic Evangelism in the 21st Century (Morehouse Publishing, 1996).

[31] See Sharon Stockdale, ed., New Wineskins for Global Mission: A Compendium of the New Wineskins for Global Mission Conference, Ridgecrest North Carolina, April, 1994 (William Carey Library, 1996).

[32] For a catechumenal program, see The Catechumenal Process: Adult Initiation and Formation for Christian Life and Ministry (Office of Evangelism Ministries, 1990).

[33] Michael Green, Evangelism through the Local Church, 425-474, gives plans for inquirers classes and discovery groups.

[34] The Alpha course was developed by Holy Trinity Church, Brompton Road, in London. Alpha materials are distributed in the U.S. by Truro Episcopal Church in Fairfax, Virginia.

[35] For more details, see The Episcopal Church Annual.


"Mission and Evangelism in the Prayer Book" appeared in Prayer Book Doctrine, edited by Prof. J. Robert Wright of General Theological Seminary, and is used here with permission.

Copyright 1999 Stephen F. Noll.

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