Religious news from around the world.

Religious news from around the world.

Evangelism symposium urges simpler gospel presentation

Silver Spring, Maryland, United States—Top administrators, evangelists, and ministerial secretar­ies of the Seventh-day Adventist Church are reprioritizing the role of God’s Spirit and simple Bible truths in public evangelism.


Rather than complicating the gospel or endlessly repackaging it, leaders are advocating a simpler approach. They say preaching basic Bible truths is the most compelling way to present the Adventist hope.

 Ernestine Finley reminds church evangelists and ministerial sec­retaries that baptism is just the beginning. Her spiritual-friendship plan matches new believers with existing church members who share similar interests and back­grounds. [Photo: Ansel Oliver]

“This approach requires admit­ting one’s own vulnerability,” said Shawn Boonstra, associate direc­tor for the Ministerial Association of the church’s North American Division. “The world is tired of reli­gious know-it-alls,” he said, citing a New Testament story in which the apostle Paul identifies with his audience to make a point.

The symposium is a broaden­ing of the church’s Council on Evangelism and Witness to include more regional evangelists and min­isterial secretaries in the discussion. Approximately 40 leaders from each of the church’s 13 divisions met at Adventist world headquarters on November 28–30, 2011, to share resources, exchange ideas, address challenges to evangelism, and pray together.

“Jesus’ mission is to seek and save everyone who is lost, so the number one priority of the church should be to win people to Jesus,” said Jerry Page, secretary of the world church’s Ministerial Association.

“In an increasingly secular world, evangelists can no longer assume their audience is either familiar with Christian principles or biblically literate. I would say my preaching has become more Christ centered, more biblically basic, and certainly ministering more to the felt needs of people,” said veteran evangelist Mark Finley.

Church leaders said a clear, authentic message of truth can even connect with the world’s growing postmodern population—a group of 1.8 billion people worldwide, according to Miroslav Pujic, com­munication director for the church’s Trans-European Division.

“We are realizing that Jesus’ message is exactly what this gen­eration is looking for—the real truth, transparency, and an alternative to the systems and churches they don’t trust,” said Robert Costa, an associ­ate secretary for the world church’s Ministerial Association. [Elizabeth Lechleitner/ANN]

Church missiologist shares the Adventist perspective to Christian mission

Silver Spring, Maryland, United States—“Christ is the mobilizing force for witness and the Bible offers a comprehensive diagnosis and cure to the world’s problems,” a top Seventh-day Adventist missiologist, Ganoune Diop,1 says in a recently published book on Christian mission.
Dr. Diop brings the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s perspective to the book Witnessing to Christ in a Pluralistic Age: Christian Mission Among Other Faiths.2 This book, a product of last year’s Edinburgh World Missionary Conference, also includes perspectives on missions from Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Pentecostal church representatives.

In his essay, “Mission to World Religions and Contemporary World Views: An Adventist Perspective,” Diop calls Christ the “ultimate crite­rion” for assessing a religion’s need for mission.

“The idea that Christ motivates Christian witness lies at the core of Scripture,” Diop says. The Bible is abundantly clear that fellowship with God is restored only through acceptance of God’s love and Jesus’ incarnation, life and teachings, sacri­fice, victory over death, and priestly ministry. “Nowhere but in the Bible do we find this whole chain of truth. What we find is Jesus—who He actually is, His divinity. The Bible provides a comprehensive diag­nosis of human problems and a comprehensive solution. Ultimately that solution is Jesus, who came to cancel all the negatives. He defeated evil and death, and he is com­ing again to restore peace, justice and righteousness. And that we don’t find anywhere else.”

The distinctive­ness of the Adventist faith stands out as some Christians may be tempted to dilute what sets Christ apart to better fit a culture of toler­ance. But today’s notion of tolerance is a misnomer, Diop continues. “There’s a naive assumption that tolerance means endorsement. No. People have the right to life, the right to freedom, the right to expression, the right to their own choices, but that does not make those choices compelling to every­one. Respecting their rights? We must, unquestionably.

We owe every human being respect, dignity, courtesy and decency, but that does not mean accepting, endorsing or embracing their val­ues,” he says.

Diop says that while mission begins with common ground, it must go beyond that. Muslims and Christians can find commonalities between the Koran and the Bible, but ultimately the words they use are caught in what Diop calls “webs of meaning,” or context. “The Jesus of the [Koran] is different from the Jesus in the Bible. He didn’t die on the cross; he’s not God. Muslims and Christians say they are both ‘people of the Book,’ but strictly speaking Christians are not people of the Book. They are people of a person, Jesus Christ.”

Witnessing to Christ in a Pluralistic Age is expected to serve as a text­book for students of missiology worldwide. [Elizabeth Lechleitner/ ANN]


1 Ganoune Diop now serves as an associate director for the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Department as well as its liaison to the United Nations.

2 Lalsangkima Pachuau and Knud Jorgensen, eds., Witnessing to Christ in a Pluralistic Age: Christian Mission Among Other faiths (Edinburgh: Regnum Books, 2010).

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

February 2012

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

A Passion for Revival: An interview with Lee Venden

The author encourages people to spend time each day with God in Bible study and prayer and then share the received blessings with others.

Discerning the Signs of the Times

Have we become so accustomed to the chaos of our time that we cannot see the signs of the times?

Becoming Benevolent Leaders

A church with a heart for benevolence takes its cues from its pastor and other key leaders whose hearts have been softened and broken for the hurting.

Extraordinary Asking

Our special revival and reformation feature.

Is that who I am? The Challenge of Remaining Human in the Midst of the Attraction to be Otherwise

The author claims that the greatest source of grief and disillusionment in ministry today hinges on an unbalanced approach to identity formations and delusions about ministry.

Ministry at the Door

How can the pastor be certain that visitors receive warmth and love as they enter church?

Changing your Management Style: Lessons from the Life of Jethro

Read about Jethro’s principle of management that involves eight fundamental changes.

101 Questions About Ellen White and Her Writings

A useful resource for the busy minister and church member

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - Southern Adv Univ 180x150 - Animated

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - NAD Stewardship (160x600)