The Times Are Ripe

While the “western Canadian revival” was surging through evangelical churches last year, Canadian mainstream denominations were quietly experiencing a new awareness of evangelism. That opinion came from Mariano Di Gangi during a recent interview. He is past president of the Evangelical

Fellowship of Canada, and one of six designated evangelists in the Presbyterian Church in Canada.

One reason for the increased interest in evangelism is the “proliferation of small neighborhood Bible-study groups” in Canada during the past year or two, Di Gangi suggested. He said the most vigorous groups have generally not been directly related to local congregations, but their participants have usually been from Anglican, Presbyterian, and United churches.

Citing Don Mills, a Toronto suburb, as an example of a community where Bible studies have sprung up, Di Gangi noted that people in the “gospel churches” have generally not been involved. One reason why, he suggested, is the “openness” of the groups. “People there generally wear makeup, smoke, or show signs of affluence not present in usual evangelical circles,” he said, and such trappings make “gospel church” people uncomfortable.

A second factor in the increasing mainstream interest in evangelism is the greater denominational use of preaching missions—complete with appeals to commitment, said Di Gangi. He cited his own denomination as an example: in 1971 the Canadian Presbyterian General Assembly appointed six denominational evangelists. All six are receiving more and more congregational requests for various types of services, he said. And most of the major denominations in Canada also have evangelically ...

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