Abstract and Keywords
The term “mission” came into general use in its specifically Christian and theological sense only in the sixteenth century, when the Roman Catholic Jesuit order used the term to refer to the sending of its members to preach, instruct, serve, and win converts. The term “evangelism,” by contrast, is based on biblical vocabulary and is associated with “gospel,” “preaching of good news,” and “one who preaches good news” or “evangelist.” The word “evangelism,” despite its varied use over time, in its original sense refers to a joyful message of God's gracious and peaceable reign. It was not until the latter half of the twentieth century that reflection on mission and evangelism became a major focus within the broader field of Christian theology. Today's shared theology of mission may be associated with trinitarianism, Christology, eschatology, pneumatology, and ecclesiology. This article discusses historical patterns in the practice of mission and evangelism, as well as the Lausanne movement and contemporary evangelical mission theology.
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