Thursday, 8 March 2007

Towards the Conversion of England (or at least Uttlesford)

1. "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 in the fellowship of His Church."

78. The aim of evangelism is Conversion. [...]

79. The act of conversion is the personal acceptance of Christ Jesus as Saviour and King. [...]

81. We cannot expect to get far with evangelism until three facts are faced. First, the vast majority of English people need to be converted to Christianity. Secondly, a large number of Church people also require to be converted, in the sense of their possessing that personal knowledge of Christ which can be ours only by the dedication of the whole self, whatever the cost. Thirdly, such personal knowledge of Christ is the only satisfactory basis for testimony to others.

It will thus be realised that the really daunting feature of modern evangelism is not the masses of the population to be converted, but that most of the worshipping community are only half-converted. The aim of evangelism must be to appeal to all, within as well as without the Church, for that decision for Christ which shall make the state of salvation we call conversion the usual experience of the normal Christian.

85. If we are to confront men and women with God, the proclamation of the Gospel must be endorsed by our own personal testimony to its converting assurance and power. [...]

Such personal testimony is of two kinds - by lip and by life. Neither is truly effective without the other, and both are an inescapable Christian duty. [...]

The testimony of our lives to the saving power of Christ is quite obviously essential in order to confirm the testimony of our lips. [...]

But it is insufficiently understood that, however compelling may be the attractive power of a holy life, there is still the need for a word of interpretation which explains that life and unites it with the Christ Who is its source. (II Cor: iv. 5)

86. In such personal testimony we draw a clear distinction ... between the obligation to witness, and the vocation to preach the Gospel.

Personal witness ... is incumbent on all Christians, and commanded as a duty by the Ascended Head of the Church Himself. (Acts i, 8.)

To preach the Gospel (Mark xvi. 15) includes, also, that public telling forth for which many witnesses are more specially gifted and to which they are more particularly called. [...]

87. [...] The Charge of Christ at His Ascension and the subsequent gift of the Holy Spirit were not confined to the twelve apostles ... but were given to all the members of the infant Church. Thus, upon the whole Church of Christ, clergy and laity alike, the duty to witness is equally laid, and the power to witness equally bestowed. ... We are thus brought face to face with the truth which has been so disastrously obscured in recent years, both in the thought and practice of the Church. It is that:-

The ministry of evangelism is a charge laid upon the whole Church by its Lord. It is the very essence of the Christian calling.

Clergy and people, waiting upon God, must plan together and work together, to recover in practice the Apostolate of the whole Church, and thus to fashion the Church itself into Christ's weapon for evangelism.

324. ... fellowship is never found by seeking it as an end in itself. Fellowship ... is the bye-product of sharing in a common purpose, and of devotion to a common cause. The way to fellowship is to combine in evangelism towards the conversion of England.

(From Towards the Conversion of England: The Report of a Commission on Evangelism appointed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, pursuant to a Resolution of the Church Assembly passed at the Summer session, 1943, London: Press and Publications Board of the Church Assembly, 1945)

1 comment:

  1. See my overview at