II. THE BIBLICAL AND SYSTEMATIC FOUNDATION OF EVANGELIZATION4
and Pentecostals both point to the biblical foundation of evangelization
of all people. From the very beginning it was promised to Abraham
that through him all generations would be blessed (cf.
Gen 17:1-8). God's covenant with Abraham has a global significance
(cf. Gen 22:18). The prophets show that Israel's election
also has importance for all peoples in that they expected the
gathering of all peoples at Mount Sion at the coming of the
Messiah (cf. Is 23; 49:6-8; Joel 3:1-5). Jesus' ministry
in his earthly life was focused on Israel, not excluding others
in special cases (cf. Mt 15:21-28), but he came for the
salvation of the whole world (cf. Jn 3:15-17; Mt 26:28).
Paul emphasizes the universal and cosmic dimensions of Jesus'
death and resurrection (cf. 2 Cor 5:19; Rom 8:21). Then,
receiving the Spirit from the Father, Jesus pours out that same
Spirit as the agent through whom the work of redemption is being
carried out throughout the whole world until the end of time
(cf. Acts 2:33). Therefore, the biblical mandate for
mission is grounded in the redemptive purpose of God.
content of the message of salvation is Jesus Christ himself,
the way to reconciliation with the Father; he is the Good News
(cf. Gal 1:16), which he entrusted to his disciples (cf.
Mt 28:19f). The Holy Spirit, poured out on all people (cf.
Acts 2:17; Joel 3:1), is to be understood as giving the inner
dynamism of the process of evangelization and salvation. The
transmission of the Christian faith consists in proclaiming
Jesus Christ in order to lead others to faith in him. From the
beginning, the first disciples burned with the desire to proclaim
Christ: "we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard"
(Acts 4:20). And they invite people of every era to enter into
the joy of their communion with Christ and the Father which
is the basis of fellowship among Christians (cf. 1 John
Catholics and Pentecostals agree that the proclamation of Jesus
Christ is necessary for the liberation of humanity from sin
and the attainment of salvation, because all are subject to
"the fall," all are "lost." This condition
results in alienation from God and also in alienation from others.
Deliverance from oppression and domination of "the principalities
and powers," including exorcism in certain cases, is an
important part of Gospel proclamation.
In the process of salvation, God always takes the initiative
through grace which frees human hearts to respond (Acts 2:37).
He acts through the Word and through the exercise of "signs
and wonders" according to his sovereign will (cf.
1 Cor 2:4; Rom 15:18f). The only role humans have in reconciliation
with God is to respond positively and constantly in the power
of the Holy Spirit to God's initiatives through Jesus Christ,
who is the only Mediator (1 Tim 2:5) and the Head of the Church
The ordinary context in which salvation is worked out is the
Church, the community of believers. Koinonia is to be lived
out for the mutual enrichment of the members of the body (1
Cor 12:26), which in turn makes it possible for the Church to
become a servant, gift, and sign to the world. Acknowledging
this and acting accordingly would counteract individualism and
total independence of individual communities on the one hand
and the tendency toward sterile formalism in personal and institutional
life on the other.5
The life of koinonia is empowered by the Holy Spirit;
in recent times many have experienced that power through "the
baptism in the Holy Spirit".6
This presence of the Spirit has been shown in a fresh activity
of biblical charisms, or gifts, (cf. 1 Cor 12:8-11) reminding
all Christians to be open to charisms as the Spirit gives to
everyone individually, whether these gifts are more or less
noticeable. Some of the charisms are given more for personal
edification (cf. 1 Cor 14:4a), while some provide service
to others, and some especially are given to confirm evangelization
(cf. Mk 16:15-20). All of them are intended to help build
up the koinonia.
delivered on this topic by Rev. William Menzies, President
and Professor of Theology at Asia Pacific Theological Seminary,
Baguio City, Philippines (The Biblical Basis for Mission
and Evangelism: An Evangelical, Pentecostal Perspective)
and Rev. Karl Muller, svd, St. Augustin, Germany (The Biblical
and Systematic Foundation of Evangelization).
For a more
complete discussion of koinonia please refer to Perspectives
on koinonia: The Report from the Third Quinquennium
of the Dialogue between the Pontifical Council for Promoting
Christian Unity and some Classical Pentecostal Churches and
on this issue took place in the first phase of the Dialogue.