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History of British Evangelism and Mission.

Apologeet.nl

History of British Evangelism and Mission.

Creative Presentation on the History
of British Evangelism and Mission

Jurgen Hofmann

Word Count written paper: 1031

13td February 2012


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Introduction

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Evangelism and mission are usually seen as two separate aspects of the Christian faith. The differentiation people make is often the idea that mission has to be done abroad, in a far away country, to reach the un-reached people. With the word ‘evangelism’ people lean more to the idea that it has to be done in the streets, on the markets and in the slums of the city they live in. As the reader will find out British history shows otherwise. Evangelism and mission go hand in hand.

John Wesley 1703-1791

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Together with his brother Charles and with George Whitefield, John gathered together in the so called ‘Holy Club’. One of the goals was to visit prisoners and help the poor—all of this was done with a strong emphasis on Christian lifestyle. Wesley believed that this was the duty of Christians, but rather than a duty

“giving to the poor is a charisma only in so far as it is a reflection of God’s unmerited generosity in Christ, an act of concern for the needy freely willed and cheerfully carried through” (Dunn 1997: 250; cf. 2 Corinthians 4: 1).

The word ‘mission’ means more than simply converting people to be become Christians—that is to say there is an element of social work (Dictionairy.com 2012). Wesley, who knew how to deal with the temper of the lower classes, recognised the needs, and instead of just preaching he expanded the work to deeds as well. The Church was blind to this great opportunity and had no sympathy nor recognition for Wesley’s work (Winchester 1906: 146).

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Tomkins (2003: 156) states that John passionately believed that the bible promised a Christian could live (ultimately) without sin. This preaching caused a lot of division and was at the same time not relevant to anybody’s life. Around the year 1738 George Whitefield had extraordinary success with his preaching. Many, especially poor, people reacted to his call to conversion. Wesley started to help, but was suspicious of the dramatic style of Whitefield, and the emotional conversions which came forth even out of his own preaching. Wesley soon embraced this new style which, in contrary to Wesley’s earlier preaching, was very appealing to the people (Christianitytoday.com 2008). Newbigin (2006: 96) states that one of the basic rules in evangelism is to speak the language of the hearer. Wesley became fully aware of the necessity of the works of the Holy Spirit. Wesley

“clearly believed that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were relevant for the church in any age. He defined them. He described them. He experienced them. He defended them” (Tuttle 2010).

Charles Wesley 1707-1788

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Many of the poor people were illiterate and therefore unable to read the Bible. Charles Wesley started to write hymns with lyrics directly drawn from the Bible. Temperley (2010: 7) states that these tunes were to be taught in meetings, preaching services, and other forms of public worship. People even sung them at impromptu meetings in barns or inns. Meistad (2002: 205) notes that these hymns are to be seen as missional and probable spread the ideas of the Wesley’s more widely than the preaching did.

Attractional and Incarnational

From the examples given above, the reader will have noticed that the Wesley’s partially moved from the attractional model to a more incarnational model. Instead of trying to get the people into the church building, in order to convert them there, they themselves stepped out and merged among the people. They spoke the language of the commoners. They testified in words and deeds, and they taught people how to live according to Scripture through popular songs. Mission and evangelism came together in four elements: merging among the people, preaching in an understandable language, works of charity, and teaching through alternative methods.

Contemporary times

The mentioned four elements can still be found in Britain. A very well known group is the Salvation Army (SA).
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This group, which origin can be traced back to the teachings of Wesley, is active in more than 124 countries (cf. Woodall 2005: 33, Salvationarmy 2012). Their works of charity are probably most known. In order to do their charity works, they often follow Wesley in his trail and go to the poor to merge among them and help them ‘on the spot’.

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Music began to be very popular as a missional tool. Many (pop)groups started to make music for their own special audiences. Some of these groups started to organise concerts. During these concerts they often use short moments to preach the gospel.

Churches changed the ‘old’ hymn-book for modern worship and praise books. In doing this the churches enhanced the attractional model. Nevertheless this approach made sure that people, in and outside the church, began to see that the church was more than ‘a dusty old place’. Swanson and Rusaw (2010: 28-29) note however that it is still better to take these songs and go to the people outside. They cite the parable about the King in Matthew 22:2-14 and state that, even when the programme is magnificent, the people are too ‘busy’ to come, and the servants have to go out in order to get the ‘banquemet’ full.

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Illiteracy is no longer the big problem as it was in Wesley’s days. The main problem in contemporary times is the fact that young people no longer hear the gospel in schools or at home. New methods to teach the gospel had to be found.

Bible stories were made more visual and thus easier to remember through movies. Around 1993 a new phenomenon called ‘Internet’, brought even more possibilities. Online bible studies, church services, and a whole range of other material can be accessed by people who are connected.

Conclusion

The development of mission and evangelism throughout British history changed with regard to possibilities and needs. Nonetheless the four elements as discussed in this paper (merging among the people, preaching in an understandable language, works of charity, and teaching through alternative methods) have been used right through the centuries. Mission and evangelism can be seen as a whole—stepping out and preaching the good news would have to be accompanied with good works and the teachings of the Scripture.

Wordcount (written paper): 1031

Bibliography (written paper)

All biblical references are taken from The Holy Bible: King James Version (1611).

Christianitytoday.com (2008) John Wesley [Internet] Christianity Today International. Available from: <http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/131christians/denominationalfounders/wesley.html> [Accessed 20 January 2012].

Dictionairy.com (2012) Definition of ‘mission’ [Internet] Dictionary.com, LLC. Available from: <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/mission> [Accessed 20 January 2012].

Dunn, J. D. G. (1997) Jesus and the Spirit: a study of the religious and charismatic experience of Jesus and the first Christians as reflected in the New Testament. London, SCM Press Ltd.

Meistad, T. (2002) ‘The Missiology of Charles Wesley and Its Links To the Eastern Church’, in Kimbrough, S. T. (ed.) Orthodox and Wesleyan spirituality. Crestwood, ST. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, pp. 205-232.

Newbigin, L. (2006) Lesslie Newbigin: missionary theologian – a reader. Compiled and introduced by Paul Weston, London, SPCK.

Salvationarmy (2012) About us. [Internet] London, The Salvation Army. Available from: <http://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/uki/aboutus> [Accessed 26 January 2012].

Swanson, E. and Rusaw, R. (2010) The Externally Focused Quest: Becoming the Best Church for the Community. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.

Temperley, N. (2010) Music and the Wesleys. Temperley, N. and Banfield, S. (eds.). Illinois, University of Illinois Press.

Tomkins, S. (2003) John Wesley: A Biography. Oxford, Lion Publishing.

Tuttle, G. R. Jr. (2010) John Wesley and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. [Internet] ucmpage.org. Available from: <http://ucmpage.org/articles/rtuttle1.html> [Accessed 8 February 2012].

Winchester, C. T. (1906) The Life of John Wesley. London, Macmillan & CO., Ltd.

Woodall, A. M. (2005) What price the poor?: William Booth, Karl Marx and the London residuum. Aldershot, Ashgate Publishing Limited.

Bibliography (DVD)

All biblical references are taken from The Holy Bible: King James Version (1611).

Booth, W. (1879) ‘The Salvationist’, [Internet] in: Booth, William. The Salvation Army International Heritage Centre. Available from: <http://www1.salvationarmy.org.uk/uki/www_uki_ihc.nsf/vw-dynamic-arrays/B90F3C9656858E038025704D004E293A?openDocument> [Accessed 27 January 2012].

Dictionairy.com a. (2012) Definition of ‘evangelism’ [internet]. Dictionary.com, LLC. Available from: <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/evangelism> [Accessed 20 Januari 2012].

Dictionairy.com b. (2012) Definition of ‘mission’ [internet]. Dictionary.com, LLC. Available from: <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/mission> [Accessed 20 Januari 2012].

Newbigin, L. (2006) Lesslie Newbigin: missionary theologian – a reader, compiled and introduced by Paul Weston, London, SPCK.

Used materials DVD

And can it be. (2005) [Internet] Wesley, C. and Campbell, T. Available from: <http://songsandhymns.org/hymns/detail/and-can-it-be> [Accessed 20 January 2012].

Attwood- Psalm 50. (Anglican Chant, King’s College Choir.). (2007) [Internet] Available from: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddUlZbcBQ_s> [Accessed 2 February 2012].

Christian rap: Rawest concert ever… Blaclite!!!! (2008) [Internet] Available from: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4j-Jtc_XR_0> [Accessed 30 January 2012].

Church of England Daytime Service. (2011) [Internet] Available from: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUsi6PdOqlI> [Accessed 30 January 2012].

Church service at the Church of Bath, UK. (2011) [Internet] Available from: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQfPvnUE7Bk> [Accessed 31 January 2012].

Christ the Lord Is Risen Today. (2012) [Internet] Wesley, C. and Davidica, L. Available from: <http://songsandhymns.org/hymns/detail/christ-the-lord-is-risen-today> [Accessed 20 January 2012].

Delirious? Jesus Blood/King Or Cripple. (2009) [Internet] Available from: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPxmGAegGJY> [Accessed 30 January 2012].

EE TAOW – Salvation comes to a Tribal Village. (2010) [Internet] Available from: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xix47kpWmQ> [Accessed 27 January 2012].

Frantic – WWMT. (2009) [Internet] Available from: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgIzSHWgme8> [Accessed 30 January 2012].

Hymns Organ Fantasy – Rejoice, the Lord is King. (2009) [Internet] Available from: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vRz5V1Ijls> [Accessed 27 January 2012].

Hallelujah (by Jeff Buckley) instrumental piano – by Wes Casto.(2010) [Internet] Available from: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9PbQ3xmIxw> [Accessed 2 February 2012].

Hahn, C. (2011) Teaching Preschoolers the Meaning of Christmas. [Internet] Available from: <http://www.ehow.co.uk/video_8163470_teaching-preschoolers-meaning-christmas.html> [Accessed 30 January 2012].

Hot Pentecostal church shouting singing praise worship service. (2011) [Internet] Available from: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khN3e4yH65Q> [Accessed 30 January 2012].

Lopes, T. M. (2011) Refletindo Jesus. [Internet] Available from: <http://1cd.palco.fm/9/3/f/1/martonioteofilo-refletindo-jesus.mp3> [Accessed 30 January 2012].

Most Awesome Dancing Christmas Salvation Army Guys. (2011) [Internet] Available from: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uqer7tY5X7U> [Accessed 27 January 2012].

Nitro Praise – How Great Thou Art. (2008) [Internet] Available from: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmBrBJ_Z2Kk> [Accessed 30 January 2012].

NCN. (2012) The Days of Creation in Genesis 1. [Online image]. Available at: <http://www.nwcreation.net/images/creationdays.jpg>. [Accessed 27 January 2012].

O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing (Hymn with words and music) – Charles Wesley. (2010) [Internet] Available from: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4O9kw3cILpg> [Accessed 30 January 2012].

Preaching the Messiah to Birmingham. (2010) [Internet] Available from:
Rejoice the Lord Is King. (2012) [Internet] Wesley, C. and Darwall, J. Available from: <http://songsandhymns.org/hymns/detail/rejoice-the-lord-is-king> [Accessed 20 January 2012].

Salvation Army Music at Norwich. (2011) [Internet] Available from: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBoVzYtdWQ8> [Accessed 27 January 2012].

Salvation Army UK Christmas Appeal 2011. (2011) [Internet] Available from: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWgUHjrmVHo> [Accessed 27 January 2012].

Soldiers of Christ, Arise. (2012) [Internet] Wesley, C. and Elvey, L. G. Available from: <http://songsandhymns.org/hymns/detail/soldiers-of-christ-arise> [Accessed 20 January 2012].

The Joyfull day. (2005) [Internet] The Coventry City Salvation Army Band. Available from: <http://www.salvoaudio.com/bands/coventry_city.htm> [Accessed 27 January 2012].

Tron Legacy: Full Laser Light Show at The El Capitan Music by Daft Punk. (2010) [Internet] Available from: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYcozDq5O80> [Accessed 30 January 2012].

The Duel between David and Goliath. (2011) [Internet] Available from: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UlPTeCibwc> [Accessed 30 January 2012].

Wesley. (2009) Directed by John Jackman. Worcester, Foundery Pictures [DVD].

What is Christianity? Jesus, Religion, God | A visual explanation. (2009) [Internet] Available from: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ut-UOhY0s8E> [Accessed 31 January 2012].

Watch David And Goliath 2 Of 2. (2011) [Internet] Available from: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMN4oBC9ltI> [Accessed 30 January 2012].