The Logic of Evangelism

The Logic of Evangelism

The Logic of Evangelism

The Logic of Evangelism


In this book William J. Abraham attempts to address the dearth of modern theology on the topic of evangelism. In contrast both to the traditional focus on proclamation and to the more recent emphasis on church growth, Abraham argues that evangelism should be construed as primary initiation into the kingdom of God.

Fleshing out his thesis by discussing how conversion, baptism, morality, the creed, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the classical spiritual disciplines are related to kingdom initiation, Abraham seeks to articulate the implications of his theory of evangelism for the practice of evangelism.

Besides holding forth a specific norm regarding how evangelism should be understood, Abraham also maintains that the sorely needed critical discussion about evangelism should proceed in a particular way--not by drawing up new, specialized schemes but rather by bringing to bear on the topic relevant material from a number of appropriate disciplines. The book thus seeks to provoke or inspire other scholars to pursue critical reflection on evangelism, to further develop the new ground broken here.


One of the undeniable features of modern theology is the scant attention it has given to the topic of evangelism. It is virtually impossible to find a critical, in-depth study of the subject by a major theologian. To be sure, various monographs have appeared on the mission of the church, on the character of the church’s ministry, on church growth, and the like. However, there is very little of a really critical disposition that has sought to wrestle with the questions and options open to the modern Christian community with respect to its activities in the field of evangelism. We lack even a sense of what the questions are, where we should turn in order to assemble evidence, what criteria are appropriate in evaluating the possible answers to our queries, and how we might begin to make steady progress on the problems that confront us.

In this book I attempt in a preliminary way to make good on this deficiency. I seek to offer an account of the nature of evangelism and to articulate the implications of that account for the practice of the modern church in the ministry of evangelism. Materially, I shall argue for a very particular way of construing evangelism, which I will defend against the substantial objections that might be laid against it. In the process, I shall outline what the church should do in this field, thereby challenging many of our current procedures. Formally, my intentions cut much deeper than this. 1 shall also argue a case for taking evangelism radically seriously as a topic of theological inquiry. I consider it nothing short of a disaster that evangelism has been relegated to the . . .

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