Issue No. 12Tuesday 4 August 1998
The Official Newspaper of the
Lambeth Conference

Web highlights provided by Anglicans Online from the official edition.

Front page of this issue

Section Two: All called 'to live the good news'
by Doug Tindal

``All are called and all are sent'' in God's mission of living and proclaiming good news, according to the report of Section Two. The theological context of mission and evangelism is reflected by the Archbishop of Canterbury's words during the mid-point review of the Decade of Evangelism: ``Mission which does not have evangelism as a focus is not Christian mission,'' Archbishop Carey said, ``and evangelism which keeps itself aloof from matters of justice and human welfare does not reflect adequately the biblical revelation.'' The report responds to four challenges: First, ``God is working in the world today quite beyond the limits of our budgets, structures and expectations.'' Second, the global economy's impact, particularly on young people and on the increasing flight from rural areas to cities. Third, the ``aggressive assertion of national and religious identity,'' which may bring persecution to religious minorities. Fourth, the challenge of ``remaining faithful to the distinctiveness of the Gospel'' when people of different faiths must live in harmony.

The 43-page report is dotted with more than two dozen ``stories'' illustrating how members of the section have experienced mission and evangelism: intervening in South Africa's ``taxi wars;'' showing the face of Christ in everyday life; renouncing one's baptism for the sake of serving one's people; turning the other cheek to be spat upon, again and again and again. The stories are not a formal part of the report but they vividly represent the human realities from which it emerges. Sections of the report itself address several themes. The Church as ``God's partner in mission'' envisions a Church rooted in its community and living in the spirit of Jubilee.

``The world God loves'' speaks to:

  • ``Out of control'' globalisation and urbanisation which bring loss of identity and community;
  • The global ``youth culture,'' which sometimes renders Christianity ``alien;''
  • Religious pluralism, including a list of ``30 theses.'' Christians must work for genuinely open and loving human relationships with people of other faiths, it says.

The report gives extensive attention to the missionary congregation, the missionary diocese and the missionary bishop.The congregation is the ``fundamental unit,'' it says.The touchstone by which all other activity in the wider Church is measured is whether it is received as supporting and encouraging the local congregation in mission.

Diocesan structure must enable mission. All dioceses should be encouraged to develop companion link relationships. ``The bishop is, distinctively, someone to whom apostolic authority is given.'' The missionary bishop's ``primary ministry is as servantleader...working and living out with the baptised what it means to be a holy people in [that] place and time.''

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