The Great Commission is so big a subject that most Christians ignore it by default. Yet the logic is inescapable: if our faith is true, we have no option but to share it. Through the centuries this conviction has led outstanding men and women to turn their backs on home and security for the sake of the Gospel. Rose Dowsett begins this study by considering the biblical and theological evidence. Far from relying on a few key purple passages, the Commission is rooted in the character of God, who reaches out time after time to his disobedient people, a process culminating in the coming of Christ the Redeemer. She then provides a succinct overview of mission history following the Acts of the Apostles: the rise of Christendom, the monastic movements, Celtic missions, Catholic missions, the Puritan movement, the Moravians, the rise of European Protestant missions and the more recent flowing of Pentecostalism. Then come the hard questions. Western dominance and cultural imperialism. Freedom for indigenous churches. New models of “church”. Western decadence and liberalism contrasting with evangelical fervour abroad: who teaches whom? Social action. War. Ecology. The rise of nationalism. Relations with other world faiths. Having painted her spacious canvas, Rose offers a challenge. Can we, ourselves, in our own corner, play a part in fulfilling the Great Commission?
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