Evangelism in the Early Church

Evangelism in the Early Church

Evangelism in the Early Church

Evangelism in the Early Church

Excerpt

Much has happened in the thirty years since this book was first published. There has been a substantial shrinkage of the Church in the West, matched by its meteoric expansion in Latin America, Africa and South-East Asia, together with similar advance in Eastern Europe and especially China. In the academic sphere, New Testament and patristic scholarship has advanced, but its status in the prevailingly secularized atmosphere of Western universities has diminished. There have been considerable changes in lifestyle, particularly in attitudes to material possessions. Furthermore there has been a massive slide in public morality, and today we witness the absence of great causes for which people are prepared to sacrifice.

A changed climate

Perhaps the most substantial difference in the cultural sphere is the development of existentialism (so influential for the first twenty years after World War Two) into the current postmodernism and deconstructionism. The 'modern' world which has prevailed since the Enlightenment – with its cardinal principle of radical doubt, its broad rejection of the supernatural, its elevation of rationalism, its empiricism and its conviction that human nature is basically good – is on the way out. This is not the place to discuss the reasons: the facts are plain. And . . .

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