evangelism; theology; education; mission; missions

Vol 31 (2017)

Evangelism is a highly contextual activity. As Christians, we are called to know how to share the apostolic message of salvation through Jesus Christ, but we are also called to share that message in a way that people can understand and receive it. This is the incarnational act of evangelism: bringing the gospel to each time, place, culture, and subculture, and demonstrating that Jesus is just as powerful to effect salvation there as he was in first century Palestine.

Our authors in this issue all address this point. First, we have Mike Breen, who is well known for his pioneering missional church work in England. Reflecting back on what he did "intuitively" at the time, he offers us a series of dialectics to hold in tension as we evangelize. We must be aware of both the setting in which the Bible was written and the setting where we minister. We also must have a "social imagination" that allows us to see the individual biographies of those we minister to and a sense of the macro-stories that shape those people's lives.

Lee Beach and Nicole Reid demonstrate pick up the theme by reclaiming the act of face-to-face conversation for evangelism. In a time when personal interaction is so often mediated by technology, they call us back to the power of conversation as a means of meeting a deep cultural need many people have today for personal engagement. Drawing on examples of how Jesus conversed with people during his earthly ministry, they offer insight into how we can help spark the interest of our interlocutors about the gospel.

Finally, Jay Moon, Tim Robbins, and Irene Kabete share the results of research they conducted with the support of the Knox Fellowship. This research involved training seminary students to understand the contours of 21st century postmodern Western culture and equipping them with strategies for personal evangelism in such a context. Identifying six "complexities" of this culture, they found ways to help students see these complexities as opportunities for greater evangelistic engagement with others rather than roadblocks.

In all, we have three fine articles that all seek to provide clarity on the practice of evangelism in context. While the saving message of Jesus Christ remains constant, they provide clear insight and direction on how to carry that consistent message into fluid and broken settings. It is especially exciting for us to be able to present the results of primary research addressing these issues, both in Breen's reflection on his groundbreaking work and in Moon, Robbins, and Kabete's pedagogical methods.

Our apologies for the latenss of this year's volume. Our editor, Rick Shaw, had to step away from his duties. It took us awhile to pick up the pieces after that. Our plan is to be back on the summer publication schedule in 2018, so we encourage you to submit your articles now for review. Likewise, we welcome you to consider having your papers do double duty, both submitting them for a presentation at our annual meeting in June 2018 and for publication in Witness.

Mark R. Teasdale

President, AETE

Evanston, IL


Table of Contents


Michael James Breen
Lee Beach, Nicole A. Reid
W. Jay Moon, Tim Robbins, Irene Kabete

Book Reviews

Book Review of Rod Culbertson's The “Disciple Investing” Life: Helping Others Grow in Their Relationship with Christ
Rhonda Garrison Haynes
A Review of Reading the Bible Missionally
Hyo Seok Lim
A Review of Stefan Paas’ Church Planting in the Secular West: Learning from the European Experience
Jeff Stevenson
Book Review for Craig Ott, The Mission of the Church
Mark R. Teasdale