In the 21st century, we are living in a world of social networking, scientific revolution and information technology. As a result today; Christian mission facing many challenges to proclaim the Gospel in the midst of many difference of society; such as Globalization, rich and poor, science and technology, and so on. In this blog’s post we are going to discuss about some of the contemporary issues of Mission and Evangelism; which are prevalent in our midst.
Mission and Evangelism
We need to know about the last four decades or more to understand mission and evangelism. According to World Council of Churches, Mission was defined as that which “carries a holistic understanding; the proclamation and sharing of the good news of the Gospel by word, deed, prayer and worship; and the everyday witness of the Christian life, teaching as to building up; and strengthening people in their relationship with God and each other; and healing as wholeness and reconciliation into communion with God, people, and creation as a whole.”
But in recent years the term evangelism began to replace mission; not only in conservative evangelical circles but also among Roman Catholics and Ecumenical Protestants.
Evangelisation is understood as an umbrella embracing the whole activity of the church. Any way the church’s task is one whether we call it mission or evangelism.
So, mission and Evangelism are intimately inter-related. Mission in our own particular context is specifically opting for poor, oppressed and marginalized. At the same time evangelization is giving human dignity to the socially marginalized and the so refuse of the society. It has to powerfully come upon any type of selfishness which works against the will of God.
Contemporary Issues of Mission and Evangelism
The contemporary mission practitioners have to deal with complex issues that affect Christian Mission. Evangelical mission need to involve its response to a number of pressures in modern culture. It has to engage itself with the ‘world of human-market’ (economic) and media (information technology).
The proclamation of Christ has to recover its historical role of addressing the dominant cultures; resulting situations and not just to the salvation of the peoples. In that case the gospel is not only for all people but also for all situations.
There are a number of contextual issues which are very prevalent in the society that challenge the modern missionary activities. Let us look on some of the issues; like globalization, affluence and affliction and the increasing revolution in science and information technology; which are very prominent in our society and need to be dealt with.
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Generally speaking, globalization is an indication of the tendency to an increasing interdependence of human beings; upon one another and of the strengthening of the inter-relationships of nations and regions. It has become an inevitable reality today. The origin and process of globalization might be described as economic. But its impacts are wide-ranging: political, social and cultural.
Human rights, environment crises, and social problems; like poverty and unemployment; are to be understood in relation to the processes of globalization. So, the churches should be able to read the signs of the times in order to fulfil their missionary tasks.
Therefore, the issue which the Church raises today are; should the mission of the Church be let the people to embrace globalization; as a force for good and challenge its limitations? Or should the mission of the Church be to encourage the people to reject the new global movement; in such a way that each nation decides its own destiny?
1. Issues Regarding Globalization
Today globalization brings some positive consequences such as the boost in productivity and economic efficiency, which can raise the standards of living. A globally integrated economy can lead to a better distribution of material, human, and financial resources between countries and regions. Even though, it leads to some other issues like, the destruction of jobs, the growing distance between rich and poor, reduction of public services and the environmental crisis.
The financial and economic crises also have caused to massive unemployment, and sharp rises in the prices of goods and the decrease in wages. With globalization, income inequalities grow between those with education, skills and mobility and those without these resources and skills. Even with in the industrialised countries economic inequalities between the haves and the have-nots have increased in the last two decades because of the process of globalization.
Moreover, the gap between the rich and the poor countries has increasingly widened. Competitive pressures create unemployment by exaggerating the differences between those who are the owners of capital, the highly skilled professionals and those who are without these resources.
Globalization breaks off or weakens the social welfare system, so that the quality of life is lowered. Along with the process of globalization, the ecological crisis will be more serious and natural resources will be exploited.
The cultural globalization, made possible by the modern communications media, which is quickly drawing the third world societies into a global consumer culture that is both secularist and materialistic. The result is an eroding of conventional own family and social values which till now had sustained peoples and societies.
2. Response of Mission to Globalization
a). Christian communities need to discover ways to resist the exclusionary power and violence of globalization as an ideology, while making use of the technology and wealth generating capacity of the market for the celebration of life in all its fullness.
b). If we are truly to be servants and co-workers in God’s mission, a mission entrusted to us in which we must see mission as that which offers healing and wholeness to an injured world.
c). The mission of the Church is to contribute to the emergence of this ethics through threefold dialogue: dialogue with the poor, dialogue with religions and dialogue with cultures, which, however does not negate the aspect of proclamation.
d). Christian Mission and Evangelism need to embrace the evangelical struggles against economic injustice, ecological destruction and against the walls that prevent Christian communion, human fellowship, and inter-faith solidarity.
e) The aim of Christian Mission is not simply to convert or transform the human but to learn and to teach them how to live with the other as neighbor and partner.
f). We should not allow ourselves to be intimidated by economic globalization and cultural imperialism, but we should confront “the centers of power” with the power of the gospel.
g). Churches in the age of globalization have to become a prophetic community of hope and resistance in the vision of the kingdom of God. Because, the poor are the product of globalization are not just objects of charity, but they are also controllers of their own lives and agents of social change.
h). Faith in Christ presents us with a vision of life in the oikumene which is an alternative to globalization.
Churches are called by God to commit themselves to the promotion of the common good, justice and well-being of all creation. She has had a global vision since Jesus’ Great Commission in Matthew 28.
It’ll truely foster international protests through nearby christian church buildings in opposition to the movements and injustices of worldwide culture.
So, missiology must make sure that, its understanding and praxis of mission reflect truly a global confessionalism; which can unite the church in and for “local” mission in response to the various forces of globalization around the world.
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