Evangelism Need Not Alienate, Say Authors
Edwards, Susan, Dench, Brian, Anglican Journal
Evangelism is the E-word. It sends shivers down spines, said Rev. Harold Percy, the director of the Institute of Evangelism in Toronto. When Anglicans hear the word evangelism, they wonder whether or not they are going to be given briefcases and asked to knock on doors. Anglicans are decent folk. They do not want to do that to people. "But what really lies behind that is a lack of confidence - in the Gospel and in their own understanding of faith." he said.
More than 300 people crowded into Cody Hall at St. Paul's Church. Toronto, recently to hear Canon Percy and Rev. Michael Green, the advisor on evangelism to the archbishops of York and Canterbury, discuss evangelism in a secular society. The presentation, Christianity at the Crossroads: Which Way Do We Turn, was sponsored by the institute to launch Canon Percy's new book Good News People: an introduction to evangelism for tongue-tied Christians.
Canon Green said Anglicans must start to think that "sharing the faith is a good thing." There is a deep spiritual hunger out there, but people do not think the church has anything to offer. "If we can touch that hunger ..."
Canon Green suggested that Christians who are shy about evangelizing in a multifaith and multicultural society can take a leaf from the book of first-century Christianity. Today's society is much like that of Jesus' time, he said. "If anything, that society was more pluralistic - so much so, that it makes ours look monochromatic. We learn from them that we can put Christianity on the table with other beliefs. People may not buy it, but we can put it there. …