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To be a Christian is to be a missionary
Posted By Eric Sammons On April 28, 2009 @ 9:43 am In Books,Evangelization | Comments Disabled
I am currently reading N.T. Wright’s The New Testament and the People of God , which is a survey of the origins of Christianity, especially its growth out of 1st century Judaism. I recently was reading the section on the praxis of the early Church: how did they practice this new faith of theirs? The first item Wright mentions that distinguished early Christianity was their sense of mission:
Why then did early Christianity spread? Because early Christians believed that what they had found to be true was true for the whole world. The impetus to mission sprang from the very heart of early Christian conviction. If we know anything about early Christian praxis, at a non- or sub-literary level, it is that the early Christians engaged in mission, both to Jews and to Gentiles…This missionary activity was not an addendum to a faith that was basically ‘about’ something else (e.g. a new existential self-awareness). ‘Christianity was never more itself than in the launching of the world mission.’ (Emphasis added)
An early Christian would not conceive of being a Christian and not working to bring others into the Church. But do not think that most early Christians were St. Pauls, travelling the world preaching the Gospel to everyone they met. No, most of these Christians spread the faith through their regular daily contacts: their familes, their friends and their co-workers. The key is that they truly believed that the faith that changed their life for the better could do the same for others.
And always remember, they also knew that by sharing their faith with others they put themselves in a dangerous situation: the possibility of being denounced to the authorities and arrested for their Christian beliefs was always lurking in the background. What exactly is our excuse?
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