Green, Michael. Evangelism In The Early Church. Book Report

Length: 16 pages Sources: 1+ Subject: Mythology - Religion Type: Book Report Paper: #12165502 Related Topics: Glory Road, Winning Is The Only Thing, Kingdom Of God, Complacency
Excerpt from Book Report :

Green, Michael. Evangelism in the Early Church. Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub, 2004.

Michael Green's book "Evangelism in the Early Church," is a well written and multifaceted study of Christian evangelism in the remarkable period between Apostle Paul and Origen. Green, who is conscious of God's role and wonderful intentions for bringing individuals to Christ, is reluctant in his book to assert negatively that the early church successfully completed its mission[footnoteRef:2]. I agree with the author on that point and the fact that his book empowers the reader with a deep understanding and appreciation for the sophistication and energy that the early church contributed to the task of spreading the gospel of Christ. Green largely cites from quite a number of sources in his book to back his arguments. In fact a minimum of 55 pages of endnotes accompany his work. However, most of this information he derives from works which came into existence in the first two centuries of Christianity. He mainly uses the New Testament in combination with works from the Apologists, Apostolic Fathers, Apocryphal literature, and the likes. Green's writing structure entails first choosing a facet of evangelism, e.g. missionizing among Gentiles, and then proceeding to present approaches or comments that were used with Jesus Christ Himself and recorded in the Gospels. He then moves further to Apostle Paul or his accounts in the book of Acts. And if pertinent, he further considers comments that were made by, Justin, Hermes and Ignatius and the likes. He generally parallels the expansion of Christianity; the comments he makes repeatedly sway from those that were made by Jesus to the various apostles and to Gentile Christians. This gives Green's book an evangelical perspective or quality. In fact the whole of the third chapter, "The Evangel," is composed of New Testament word studies[footnoteRef:3]. [2:

Michael Green, Evangelism in the Early Church, Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub, 2004, 274.] [3:

Douglas, In Green, Michael. Evangelism in the Early Church. Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub, 1970, 1]

None of this is to propose a tedious or inflexible model which is built entirely on citations from Jesus, Paul, Clement and so on. In fact several sections of the book draw from quite a number of non-Christian sources. The last chapter of the book, in which Green expounds on how the gospel and faith spread in towns and along the busy roads, is a fine example. Nevertheless, comments from the New Testament dominate Green's work. This leaves the reader with a unique sense of the natural unity between the scriptures and the energy and expansion of the faith that followed[footnoteRef:4]. Evangelism in the Early Church's most convincing challenge comes with its documentation of the ingenuity through which the early Christians delivered the gospel in thought patterns that their neighbors could comprehend. I disagree with the author, that it was the ingenuity of man that catapulted the spread of gospel; rather I think it was the power of the Holy Spirit. [4:

Douglas, In Green, Michael. Evangelism in the Early Church. 2]

However what has changed my perspective for this book is the outstanding manner in which the early church's Christians evangelized to fellow Jews. The fact that Jesus and a handful of disciples managed to transcend both the theology and exegetical conventions of their day, and at the same time preserve Israel's faith as the foundation of Christianity is amazing. For this push by Jesus and his followers to endure resulted into the growth of Christianity into the largest religion in the World, which is a remarkable feat. The same sentiments could be said of the Gentile mission. The early evangelists' readiness to comprehend the thinking of the day and then to package the gospel 'delivery' accordingly, is probably what rescued the Gentile mission from the fate of the Jewish one[footnoteRef:5]. [5:

Douglas, In Green, Michael. Evangelism in the Early Church. 15-16]

Malphurs, Aubrey. Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Books, 1999.

Malphurs in his work, 'Advanced Strategic Planning', notes how North America, along with much of the rest of the world, is exploding with fast and frightening change. He refers to this as 'megachange'. He further notes that it has affected almost every institution, including governments, businesses, churches, and schools -- and it is occurring across different levels-individual, corporate, and national. I agree with the author that the result of this kind of change is a revolution occurring all around us that is likely to have a huge impact, like any other revolution in the past[footnoteRef:6]. Based on his studies and consultations with churches that have ministries, Malphurs was convinced that the typical church...

...

Even in cases where a church has some understanding of these implications, it does not have any idea of how to respond using effective ministry to the people being affected by this post-modern paradigm. Statistics indicate that the North American church is not in a plateau as many thought but in a decline. I disagree with him that the North American church is on a decline. That it is facing a huge growth challenge. That it has passed through the life cycle hump and is now on a steady downward trend[footnoteRef:7]. [6:

Aubrey Malphurs, Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders, Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Books, 1999, 7] [7:

Aubrey Malphurs, Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders, 8]

The sigmoid's curve represents normal development of an individual life cycle and relationships. It also represents the normal development of biological systems, worldviews, civilizations, institutions, and organizations such as the church. In terms of the church, the sigmoid curve basically represents its lifecycle trend. Similar to human beings, churches have lifecycles too. Essentially a church is founded and/or 'born', and it grows over time. In the end it reaches a plateau and then it begins to decline. If no action is taken to stop the decline the church dies. This analogy using the's curve helps show that all good and bad things come to an end. In a world of constant and often turbulent change many organizations and relationships do not last. The trend is that they wax and eventually wane.

What has changed my perspective on his statement that even institutions such as churches will, in due time, plateau and die, is that a church is not a normal institution. Though it physically exists in our world, it supersedes our physical world and is anchored on a spiritual foundation. Thus, the power of God, through the Holy Spirit can sustain churches, since it was God's pledge that His Gospel shall reach all corners of the world. While it is important to study specific factors causing the downward trend in churches, the main point is, it will happen anyway. This was what exactly happened in the spiritually strong, but not so strong early churches in the first century. The S curve thus causes an important point for the North American church to ponder. Malphurs in his work notes that a 21st century church can at least put off or circumvent their eventual death. First, gifted church leaders and denominations ought to start their own new S curves. Secondly, these churches need a strategic planning approach that will enable them to initiate new sigmoid curves. These churches need 21st century thought processes and actions[footnoteRef:8]. [8:

Aubrey Malphurs, Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders, 10-11]

Reid, Alvin L., Larry S. McDonald, and Matt Queen. A Passion for the Great Commission: Essays in Honor of Alvin L. Reid. Bloomington, IN: Cross Books Publishers, 2013.

In today's environment of a never ending darkness, no challenge is more important than that of Jesus compelling Christians forward to take the good news to all corners of our lost and dying world. This continues to be the purpose and burning passion of professor and evangelist Alvin Reid. This moving festschrift that was written in Reid's honor details and explores subjects that were related to personal ministry, as a motivation to ignite within God's people the duty and responsibility to carry out Christ's great commission. Within 'A Passion for the Great Commission', acclaimed Christian scholars and leaders tackle issues related to the Great Commission's history, strategy, visions, and leadership which have characterized Professors Reid's lifework. I slightly disagree with the authors that this book fully captures the legacy of Reid's lifework, for it fails to capture the souls he ministered to and the way he impacted on individuals' lives. However, I agree with the authors that this collection of writings continues to ignite the flame of conquest for minds and hearts of an unbelieving world. And that the theme of these writings is of critical at this time. The book is divided into four major sections. The first addresses the resurgence of the Great Commission; the second deals with spiritual resurgence in a historical…

Sources Used in Documents:

Bibliography

DeCelle Douglas. In Green, Michael. Evangelism in the Early Church. Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub, 1970.

Green, Michael. Evangelism in the Early Church. Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub, 2004.

Malphurs, Aubrey. Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Books, 1999.

Packer, J.I. Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Books, 2012. <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nlebk&db=nlabk&AN=577685>.
Piper, John, David Mathis, David Platt, Ed Stetzer, Louie Giglio, Michael Oh, and Michael Ramsden. Finish the Mission Bringing the Gospel to the Unreached and Unengaged. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012. <http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=1062318>.
Ritzman, Carolyn T., Claude King, and W. Oscar Thompson. Concentric Circles of Concern From Self to Others Through Life-Style Evangelism. Nashville: B & H. Pub. Group, 1999. <http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=794128>.


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