A People of Hope

Church, Evangelism

Evangelism takes time. But for a people of hope, it is precisely time that we have been given.  That is why hope is subversive in a world that is cynical and stoic about the way things are.  That is also why an evangelism formed by that great imposter of hope, despair (even when it is thinly veiled as hope in Christian preaching).  For despair, like hope, is oriented toward the future; indeed, it is preoccupied with the future.  But where an eschatology of despair grants to the powers of this world a triumph that can be reversed only in a distant heaven, the virtue of hope is rooted in a confidence that Christ’s victory has brought something new into our place and time of which the church is an imperfect but real foretaste.  The task of evangelism is to make that foretaste available to the world even while pointing forward to the full consummation of Christ’s victory, the rule of peace.

Bryan Stone (Evangelism After Christendom, 294-5)

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