Liberating Evangelism: Gospel, Theology & the Dynamics of Communication
Has the church abdicated its responsibility and privilege for the spread of the gospel? Has this baptismal birthright been forgotten or denied out of ignorance, poor example, or even misinformation? Whatever the case, Stephen Pickard argues that the church is called to be a community of the evangel and thus a community that seeks to embody the glad tidings of God in all of its life. At the same time, he acknowledges the difficulties associated with the practice of evangelism. He addresses particularly two issues: the relationship of evangelism to systematic theology and the relationship of evangelism to the church. In the case of the former, he calls for a recovery of the complementary nature of theology and evangelism (the theory and practice of the gospel), discussing what this might involve and how it may benefit the church's evangelistic task. This evangelistic task is then developed further in terms of the dynamics of communication. Regarding evangelism and its relation to the church, Pickard contends that the locus for evangelism has to be the Christian community, its life of worship and discipleship in the world. On the other hand, the church must be reconceived missiologically in terms of the Great Commission and as a community for the praise of God. A concluding chapter explores an approach to evangelism that is both liberating and praise-centered. Stephen K. Pickard teaches at St. Mark's National Theological Centre in Barton, Australia.
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