The Continuing Conversion of the Church

The Continuing Conversion of the Church

The Continuing Conversion of the Church

The Continuing Conversion of the Church

Excerpt

“This is a book about the mission of the church.” With that sentence I began my first book on the theology of evangelistic ministry, Be My Witnesses. It is the most appropriate way to introduce this book as well. When I began work on this manuscript in 1995, my intention was to rewrite Be My Witnesses. Mr. Eerdmans had called me in 1994 to ask if I might be interested in doing a revised version of that volume. With a sabbatic semester coming up the next year, I gratefully agreed to make the revision my project.

In February 1995 I began the reading and research necessary for the envisioned revision. We were located at the University of Tübingen, Germany, with excellent research resources and a very supportive working situation at the Theologicum made possible by the then Dean of the Protestant Theological Faculty, Prof. Dr. Peter Stuhlmacher. Within a few weeks, it became very clear to me that it was not going to be possible to revise my first book, at least not at that point. Rather, I needed to write a sequel, a continuation of the basic exposition of the church’s evangelistic mission as “incarnational ministry.” I would not have to change substantially the basic ideas and argument of that book. On the contrary, it was clearer to me than ever that I needed to presuppose the understanding of evangelistic ministry as “being, doing, and saying the witness to the gospel,” which was my basic theme.

1. Darrell L. Guder, Be My Witnesses: The Church’s Mission, Messenger, and Messengers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985).

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