Sunday, 27 April 2008

Evangelism in Western Post-Modern Secular Culture

It is my privilege to be asked to address you on this historic weekend for Anglican Christian witness in Canada. It has long been my conviction and practice that theology is a team game.

I have greatly benefited from immersion in and fellowship with many theologians from the Global South. My preparation for this morning’s session owes a great deal to the meeting last week of the Theological Resource Group for the Global Anglican Future Pilgrimage which is preparing a theological rationale for the Jerusalem Pilgrimage at the end of June, and especially to its co-ordinator and my colleague, Canon Vinay Samuel.

To begin: Have you ever been driven to think, when you are waiting for a call centre, which assures you endlessly that your call is very important to them but keeps you waiting ten minutes, and when finally you express pathetic gratitude at being connected to one of their consultants, that consultant turns out to know less about the issue you have rung about than you do, have you ever been driven to think that this world is run by machines and idiots? Or to put it more kindly, it is run by machines and people who are not allowed to exercise any judgement. This is no accident: it is a function of modern western secularity.

In talking about evangelism today we are not shifting the focus away from our concerns in meeting this weekend. We do not have two separate activities - one an internal church activity to secure our organisation, our borders and our future so that we may continue to reach out to win others for Christ.

We are engaged in something far more integrated: the very process we are engaged in of affirming our commitment to the truth of the scriptures and the reality of the God who transforms human life itself is the most powerful declaration of the good news of the Gospel in the post-modern secular culture in which we are called to bear witness. Contending for the faith once given to the saints now is part of our witness to our societies.

I hope to explain why. Read more
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