Following a review process begun in 1996, this body stated, "we have come to believe that, as our Communion travels further along the road towards being mission-centred, the Five Marks need to be revisited."
I do wish someone would tell the Church of England this.
Meanwhile, rather than rehash the material, I have simply cut and pasted from my book the relevant section (the footnotes are in the actual text). I hope this might give you some ideas ...
We referred earlier to the ‘Five Marks of Mission’, which have come to function as an unofficial, but highly popular, summary of the Church’s raison d’être. The adoption of these ‘Marks of Mission’, however, has had serious consequences for the Church.
Thus, Martin Davie, in his A Guide to the Church of England, asserts on this basis that, “the Church of England ... sees mission as something that involves more than simply evangelism.”29
Indeed Davie explicitly critiques the definition of evangelism used in Towards the Conversion of England, quoting with approval the words of Paul Avis:
... mission is bigger than evangelization. Evangelization is a part of which mission is the whole. As Moltmann puts it, ‘[...] Evangelization is mission, but mission is not merely evangelization.’30
The problem with this analysis is that it has been rejected by a subsequent Anglican body set up to continue the study of mission: the ‘Standing Commission for Mission of the Anglican Communion’, also known as MISSIO. According to its report on the Anglican Communion official website,
At its second meeting (Ely 1996), MISSIO began reviewing the 'Five Marks of Mission' as developed by the Anglican Consultative Council between 1984 and 1990. We recognise with gratitude that the Five Marks have won wide acceptance among Anglicans, and have given parishes and dioceses around the world a practical and memorable "checklist" for mission activities.
However, we have come to believe that, as our Communion travels further along the road towards being mission-centred, the Five Marks need to be revisited.31
Crucially, and contra the assertions of Davie, Avis and indeed Jurgen Moltmann, the report goes on to say,
The first mark of mission, identified at ACC-6 with personal evangelism, is really a summary of what all mission is about, because it is based on Jesus’ own summary of his mission (Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:14-15, Luke 4:18, Luke 7:22; cf. John 3:14-17). Instead of being just one (albeit the first) of five distinct activities, this should be the key statement about everything we do in mission. (Emphasis added)32
In other words, far from personal evangelism being a part of mission, it is (properly understood) the very heart of mission.
The reason for this will hopefully become clear if we look carefully at the definition of evangelism used in Towards the Conversion of England.
This states carefully and explicitly that to evangelize is “so to present Christ Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, that men shall come to put their trust in God through Him, to accept Him as their Saviour, and serve Him as their King”. The last point, however, is often missed, even by those doing the evangelism.
Personally I find some difficulties (not to say confusion) in the ideas about justification being put forward by the former Bishop of Durham, Tom Wright, and in some of the applications he suggests of the significance of the resurrection. However, I believe he is spot-on when he says that evangelism ought to be the announcement of the lordship of Christ:
... ‘the gospel’, in the New Testament, is the good news [...] that Jesus, whom ... God raised from the dead, is the world’s true Lord.33
Our problem has been with the extent of Christ’s lordship. Undoubtedly this is in part because of our own sinfulness and the pervasiveness of sin in the world, which makes us unable to see what his lordship requires and unwilling to be obedient when we finally understand. In the former nations of Western Christendom it may also have been because the government and the laws did some of the work for us. Today, however, the challenge is perhaps greater than ever, and pastors must work harder to show what it means.
Crucially, we must see that evangelism does not consist simply of calling people to ‘get right with God’, but, through a right relationship with God, to ‘get right with our neighbour’.
Moreover, to serve Christ as King is not just a matter of tweaking our personal morality (mostly in the area of family life and sexuality), but in bringing every aspect of our lives under his rule and in extending his rule as far as possible into every area of life over which we have any influence.
Historically, we can find radical examples of English Christians doing just this in business life and in the political arena— unfortunately they are not usually the Anglicans! Nevertheless, there are surely lessons to be learned from how, for example, the Quakers who set up Boots the Chemists treated their workers.
Some may ask how this differs from the way that evangelicals in the 1970s and ’80s moved into areas like politics and social action. The answer is that we must see and show that our actions in this regard flow directly and explicitly from our obedience to the Christ who calls everyone to acknowledge him as Lord. We must ensure that, in the words of the Sermon on the Mount, people see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven. Our actions must be the natural basis for proclamation because they are themselves the fruits of obedience to the gospel.
Regarding the Church, therefore, we must not allow evangelism to be reduced to a ‘part’ of mission. It is sad to see as distinguished a theologian as Moltmann quoted saying that mission is “not merely evangelization” — as if there were anything ‘mere’ about the proclamation that Christ is Lord and the calling on people to obey his kingship. In the Church of England today as whole, however, that is often how evangelism is seen, and it is not long before it is reduced from being a part of mission to being an optional extra in mission.
But equally, we must not allow evangelism to be reduced to a personal call to change our views as to whether or not we believe in God and what we believe about ourselves and about Jesus dying for our sins. We cannot have Christ as Saviour if we will not have Christ as Lord. And his lordship must extend into every area of the lives of those whom he saves. There is a challenge here for the more conservative evangelical. But the conservative evangelical is also entitled to ask what has happened, institutionally, to the call to personal conversion.
Once again, nothing less than an institutional transformation is required, which needs a deliberate and conscious strategy. And therein lies our problem. Evangelicals will generally go on evangelizing, whatever happens in the wider institution. But this will not lead to a programme suitable to the conversion of England. That needs a bolder and more ambitious approach, yet at present there is no sign of that coming from the official, hierarchical, leadership. Given where we are today, then, how can we address the need for the transformation of the Church?