The bishop of Norwich, whose diocese northeast of London dates back more than thirteen centuries, said in his enthronement sermon in 1971 that he felt the church has too long been concerned with its own worship, its own activity, and its own members. Evangelistic outreach has been a lifelong passion of the Right Reverend Maurice A. P. Wood, and in the sermon he quoted William Temple as noting that “the church is the one society organized for its non-members.” Bishop Wood urged that the church be geared for “continuous, congregational, home-spun, compassionate evangelism, year in, year out.” Bishop Wood has been a parish minister, a chaplain to Royal Marine Commandos during World War II (and winner of the Distinguished Service Cross), principal of Oak Hill Theological College, and a director of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Great Britain. Editor-at-large J. D. Douglas edited the interview.
Question: Bishop Wood, a great many believers have a hard time associating an Anglican prelate with a zealous evangelistic spirit. How did you come by it?
Answer: I was really born into mass evangelism because of the involvement of my father, Arthur Wood, and my uncle, Frederick Wood. They learned it from Torrey and Alexander, who in turn were influenced by Moody and Sankey. The Wood brothers evangelized in all the great halls of England as well as in parish missions in Anglican churches all over the country. It means, therefore, that from the earliest days I was brought up to think and ponder this whole question of strengths and problems of mass evangelism. Unfortunately, in those days the Church of England as such was not as concerned with evangelism as it is today.… During my ministry I have seen evangelism developing steadily ...1
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