Four years ago in the May, 1968, issue, Church Growth Bulletin asked: “Will Uppsala Betray the Two Billion?” The circumstances were as follows. The World Council of Churches was about to convene its Fourth Assembly at Uppsala, Sweden. Early that year the WCC’s Commission on World Mission and Evangelism had published a document on mission, titled Renewal in Mission, which, at the Uppsala meeting was to be discussed, possibly revised, and issued as the council’s plan for mission and evangelism in the seventies. The faculty at Fuller Seminary’s School of Mission studied Renewal in Mission with care and were alarmed to see that it contained no plans for evangelism and interpreted “mission” solely as horizontal reconciliation of man with man.

The document called for a radical diversion of mission away from the Great Commission, away from the proclamation of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, and particularly away from church-planting evangelism. Renewal in Mission was not calling Christians to renewed zeal in making the Saviour known and persuading men to believe in him, repent of their sins, be baptized and incorporated in his church, and then venture forth in the power of the Holy Spirit as salt and light in the world, full of righteousness, justice, and brotherhood, thus bringing about substantial changes for good in the social order. Renewal in Mission, while freely using the great words of mission, was using them in radically new ways. For example, changing the social order through revolution (apparently regardless of what the revolutionaries believed about Jesus Christ) was called reconciling men to God. Instead of affirming that mission takes place at points of unbelief, the document says that “mission takes place at the ...

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