A new class I’m taking at the seminary is “Evangelism in Context” with professor Scott Sunquist. One of the first things we did in class yesterday was define evangelism. Here’s my definition:
“Evangelism is the proclamation of the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the good news of the Kingdom of God which brings forgiveness, justice, peace, and reconciliation between both humanity and God, and persons with one another. This good news is proclaimed relationally in both word and deed, as empowered by the Holy Spirit for the sake of the glory of God.”
As the class shared different aspects of their definitions, I was surprised that I was the only one who specifically mentioned the Kingdom of God. Isn’t this a central theme for evangelism? It’s what Jesus preached (see Luke 4:43 and Mark 1:14-15). Speaking at a church here in Pittsburgh several weeks ago, Tony Campolo defined evangelism as recruiting people to join God’s revolution, meaning the Kingdom of God. The fact that this theme was glossed over in class yesterday is troubling to me – an indication of our reductionist and individualistic tendencies in American Christianity.
That said, I have some questions. What’s your definition of evangelism? What else is missing in the definition I give? What is evangelism not?