WHEATON, Illinois – One of the world’s top missiologists reminded thousands of missionaries on Tuesday that evangelism and social action must go hand in hand if Christians are to fulfil their responsibility of bringing people to salvation in Jesus Christ.
Dr Ralph D Winter, founder of the US Center for World Mission, says the biggest trend in world mission is the polarisation occurring among mission agencies that either focus exclusively on personal salvation or, in contrast, physical needs when they should be doing both. Christians have the responsibility to not only share the Gospel and help get people into heaven, the renowned missiologist said, but also “getting God into this world” and glorifying God on Earth.
“Evangelism is the highest priority, but it becomes weak and lacks credibility if it does not generate committed believers who will tackle the world’s problems,” Winter maintained in his presentation at the Korea World Mission Conference 2008. “What is the use of evangelism if it produces Christians who don’t act, who don’t do, who don’t follow God’s will? All they do is sing in church,” he passionately declared. “It is what happens in the world that is at least as important as what happens in church."
He added, “We are getting fancier and fancier at church worship. We know how to do church, [but] we don’t know how to be the church.”
Christianity Today 31 Jul 2008