What Is Evangelization?

Mission Trends No. 2, edited by Gerald H. Anderson and Thomas F. Stransky (Paulist or Eerdmans, 1975, 279 pp., $2.95 pb), is reviewed by Charles E. Hummel, director of faculty ministries, Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship.

Evangelization is the keynote of this volume on contemporary mission trends. The first in the series featured the nature and goals of the Christian mission, while the next will deal with Third World theologies.

The volume is remarkable for its breadth of view and depth of perception. The authors of the twenty-two essays run the spectrum from evangelical Protestant and Pentecostal to Roman Catholic. Equally varied are the racial and cultural perspectives, from American and European to African, Latin American, and Asian. Most of the essays first appeared as addresses, magazine articles, or reports, rather than as theological treatises, and they are very readable. Their length ranges from one to twenty-five pages.

Amid this diversity runs a strong current of urgent concern to understand how the Gospel can be effectively proclaimed in every continent and culture. This collection of essays is not a puzzle whose pieces can be neatly fitted together to form a blueprint for action. It is more a gem with many facets, each reflecting an aspect of evangelization or its impact in a specific situation.

The writers do not focus on techniques but go to the heart of the theological and ethical issues in mission strategy. The first section, seven essays under the umbrella “Mandate and Meaning of Evangelization,” deals with evangelism, conversion, and church membership. John Stott sets the stage with a clear exposition of the biblical basis of evangelism. He shows that the Church’s ...

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