I’ve made it to the final chapter of Transforming Mission by David J Bosch. That in itself is little consolation as the last chapter is 142 pages, but, nonetheless, the end is in sight (truth be told I’m already a good chunk into this chapter, so it’s not that bad).
Bosch has a section here entitled “Mission as Evangelism”, in which he lays down 18 points in an attempt to clarify the relationship between these two concepts. I reproduce his list below (he has whole paragraphs on each point). Over the next 18 days (not including weekends), I plan to do a series of short posts that unpacks each of these statements. Let me say at the outset that I do not fully agree with Bosch on every point here, in fact I flat out (though respectfully) disagree with him on point 17. I’ll come to that later in the series. But since he covers a lot of ground with this list, I thought it would be a good exercise to go through it point by point.
If you find that you have strong reactions for or against any of these points, I suggest you read the corresponding post and offer your views there.
Today, I’ll just give you Bosch’s basic conviction and his outline:
Basic to my considerations is the conviction that mission and evangelism are not synonyms but, nevertheless, indissolubly linked together and inextricably interwoven in theology and praxis. –p. 411
18 Points on the Relationship Between Evangelism and Mission
- I perceive mission to be wider than evangelism.
- Evangelism should therefore not be equated with mission.
- Evangelism may be viewed as an essential “dimension of the total activity of the Church.”
- Evangelism involves witnessing to what God has done, is doing, and will do.
- Even so, evangelism does aim at a response.
- Evangelism is always invitation.
- The one who evangelizes is a witness not a judge.
- Even though we ought to be modest about the character and effectiveness of our witness, evangelism remains an indispensable ministry.
- Evangelism is only possible when the community that evangelizes–the church–is a radiant manifestation of the Christian faith and exhibits an attractive lifestyle.
- Evangelism offers people salvation as a present gift and with it assurance of eternal bliss.
- Evangelism is not proselytism.
- Evangelism is not the same as church extension.
- To distinguish between evangelism and membership recruitment is not to suggest, though, that they are disconnected.
- In evangelism, “only people can be addressed and only people can respond.”
- Authentic evangelism is always contextual.
- Because of this, evangelism cannot be divorced from the preaching and practicing of justice.
- Evangelism is not a mechanism to hasten the return of Christ, as some suggest.
- Evangelism is not only verbal proclamation