Guest / Limited Access /

The Christian Vision Project's big question this year has been,What must we learn, and unlearn, to be agents of God's mission in the world? Many respondents have argued for increased attention to issues of global justice. Ajith Fernando, longtime Youth for Christ leader in Sri Lanka, doesn't disagree, but wonders if we're in danger of forgetting what he considers our highest mission priority. Fernando is the author of a number of books, including Jesus Driven Ministry and The Call to Joy and Pain: Embracing Suffering in Your Ministry (both Crossway), and is a corresponding editor for Christianity Today.

The Church is notorious for its course corrections. Toward the end of the 19th century, theological liberals began to emphasize the humanness of Christ. They presented Christ's life as the main focus of the gospel. Evangelicals reacted by emphasizing the atoning work of Christ (especially as explained by Paul), almost to the exclusion of the life of Christ. So liberals concentrated on good deeds and evangelicals on saving souls.

But by the middle of the 20th century, we evangelicals realized our mistake. Carl F. H. Henry's The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism in 1947 and the Lausanne Covenant of 1974 were landmark documents leading us to once again see social concern as an element of the church's mission. Some evangelicals gave greater weight than before to the Gospels and the kingdom of God, while others advocated for a right-wing political agenda. But regardless of where we fell on the political spectrum, we were encouraged to engage the culture and seek to demonstrate the Christian ethic daily.

The old "evangelism versus social action" war was over—or so I believed. In Sri Lanka, I was devoted to raising up ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedWhy Muslims Are Becoming the Best Evangelists
Why Muslims Are Becoming the Best Evangelists
Missiologist Dave Garrison documents global surge in Muslims leading Muslims to Christ. He calls it, “Unprecedented.”
TrendingFive Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
Five Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
If you want to help people see Holy Week with fresh eyes, start by dropping these familiar fallacies.
Editor's PickYou Probably Love (or Hate) 'Heaven Is For Real' for All the Wrong Reasons
You Probably Love (or Hate) 'Heaven Is For Real' for All the Wrong Reasons
It's not a travel guide. And Colton Burpo isn't the first Christian to have an ecstatic experience.
Leave a Comment

Use your Christianity Today login to leave a comment on this article. Not part of the community? Subscribe now, or register for a free account.

hide thisNovember November

In the Magazine

November 2007

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.