We are in a series of posts about how it is better to think of gospelism than evangelism.
Much of my thinking in the areas of mission, evangelism, and discipleship has been reinforced by David Bosch, and his book, Transforming Mission. Below are a few pertinent quotes. Note that he doesn’t use the term “gospelize” but I have included it in brackets where his thinking helped my thinking in this area.
Later today, I will post a story about one group of people who decided to live the gospel in their community (gospelize), rather than just “evangelize.”
So here are the quotes from David Bosch:
We cannot capture the evangel and package it in four or five “principles.” There is no universally applicable master plan for evangelism, no definitive list of truths people only have to embrace in order to be saved. We may never limit the gospel to our understanding of God and of salvation (p. 420).
Evangelism [is] that dimension and activity of the church’s mission which, by word and deed and in the light of particular conditions and a particular context, offers every person and community, everywhere, a valid opportunity to be directly challenged to a radical reorientation of their lives, a reorientation which involves such things as deliverance from slavery to the world and its powers; embracing Christ as Savior and Lord; becoming a living member of his community, the church; being enlisted into his service of reconciliation, peace, and justice on earth; and being committed to God’s purpose of placing all things under the rule of Christ (p. 420).
Mission [or evangelism] is not narrowed down to an activity of making individuals new creatures, of providing them with “blessed assurance” so that, come what may, they will be “eternally saved.” Mission involves, from the beginning and as a matter of course, making new believers sensitive to the needs of others, opening their eyes and hearts to recognize injustice, suffering, oppression, and the plight of those who have fallen by the wayside (p. 81).
The primary responsibility of “ordinary” Christians is not to go out and preach, but to support the mission project [i.e., gospelizing] through their appealing conduct and by making “outsiders” feel welcome in their midst (p. 138).
The church is that community of people who are involved in creating new relationships among themselves and in society at large and, in doing this, bearing witness [i.e., gospelizing] to the lordship of Christ (p. 169).
The church is the only society in the world which exists for the sake of those who are not members of it. [Bonhoeffer said] “The church must share in the secular problems of ordinary human life, not dominating, but helping and serving” (p. 375).
Mission [gospelizing] is the church sent into the world, to love, to serve, to preach, to teach, to heal, to liberate. …Evangelism is integral to mission. …One may never isolate it and treat it as a completely separate activity of the church (p. 412).
Evangelism is only possible when the community that evangelizes – the church – is a radiating manifestation of the Christian faith and exhibits an attractive lifestyle. …If the church is to impart to the world a message of hope and love, of faith, justice, and peace, something of this should become visible, audible, and tangible in the church itself (p. 414).
A talk-alike, think-alike, look-alike congregation may reflect the prevailing culture and be a club for religious folklore rather than an alternative community in a hostile or compromised environment. …The focus in evangelism should, however, not be on the church but on the irrupting reign of God (p. 415).
[Mission] is the good news of god’s love, incarnated in the witness of a community, for the sake of the world (p. 519).
See more on this gospelism series:
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