Editorial : Evangelism The Foundation of Missions 编者语 :布道乃宣教之本

By Dr Stanley Ling (Regional Director, SIM East Asia)
林厚彰博士 ( SIM 东亚区总主任)


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2 Tim 4:2, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction.”

In Matthew 28:19 Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” Central to the Great Commission is ‘making disciples of all nations’. Fundamental to this disciple-making effort is evangelism – the proclamation of the good news (Greek: “euaggelion”) of Jesus Christ by word and deed. That is the starting point of making someone a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through our life testimony and words we share the good news, and those who believe are reconciled to the Creator God. A new relationship can then begin with the enabling of the Holy Spirit.

Likewise, evangelism should be the foundation of missions – with the good news conveyed and expressed in a culturally acceptable and understandable way. There are times when missionaries are so engrossed with doing missions – meeting the tangible needs of people – that they forget to proclaim the good news. While proclamation through deeds is needed, proclamation by words and leading them towards the cross and confession must not be neglected. The advice from Paul in 2 Tim 4:2 should be our motto, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.” It is only when we persistently preach the Word of God that we can challenge the status quo of a person’s relationship with God and people. Evangelism is the foundation of missions!

Churches in Asia are generally serious about evangelism. This partly explains the rapid growth of the Church here. When a church lifts up Jesus and the gospel takes the centre stage of church life, people will be attracted to it. For it is our Saviour and Lord who attracts people to the church, not good programmes and activities.

In 1978, the churches in Singapore held a large evangelistic rally at the National Stadium. Some 337,000 people attended over 5 nights. The speaker was Billy Graham. Forty years on, the churches in Singapore are organising a similar event to reach out to the many unreached people here with the good news of Jesus Christ. It is encouraging to see how churches in Singapore are coming together in unity to work as one body for this significant event. SIM, as part of the Christian community, is praying for this evangelistic rally and working together with the churches in various ways. Refer to the advert on this event and join with us to Pray, Engage and Gather those who have not yet heard the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

One of the statements that Billy Graham made forty years ago continues to inspire Christians in Singapore. He called on Singapore to become the ‘Antioch of Asia’. As a Singaporean, I felt flattered by his statement. But on a serious note, I feel that Singapore churches should indeed pray that we can become one of the many ‘Antioch of Asia’ and continue to send missionaries into cross-cultural settings to bring the gospel and love of God to the people who need it most.

       务要传道,无论得时不得时,总要专心;并用百般的忍耐,各样的教训,责备人、警戒人、劝勉人。” ~ 提摩太后书 4:2

       耶稣说:“所以你们要去,使万民做我的门徒...”(太28:19)。深信大家都认同这是主耶稣基督颁布的大使命,目的是使万民做门徒;而这个使万民做门徒的诫命的基本要素,其实就是布道 - 用言语和行为来传扬耶稣基督的好消息(希腊语为 “Euaggelion” )。这也就是使人成为主耶稣基督门徒的起点。透过我们的生命见证和言语,分享好消息,人们就被吸引来到神的面前,罪得赦免,与创造主重新和好,藉着圣灵的帮助开始建立一个崭新的关系。

       同样,布道应是宣教的基础,其中关键是必须藉着文化上可接受和可理解的方式来传扬和表达好消息。但可惜的是在执行这个任务的时候,有些宣教士却过于忙碌于宣教活动和满足人们的物质需求,却忘了宣扬福音。藉着善行与实际行动来宣扬福音的确是必要的,但绝不因此忽略用言语来宣讲,引导人们走向十字架,认罪悔改。我们必须谨记保罗的座右铭:“*务要传道!无论得时不得时,总要专心,并用百般的忍耐,各样的教训,责备人,警戒人,劝勉人。”(提后4:2)

       可见,唯有坚持传讲神的话语,才能挑战和改变一个人与上帝、人与人之间的关系。故此,布道乃是宣教之本!

       一般上,亚洲教会都很重视传福音,这可说是教会快速增长的部分原因。当一个教会高举耶稣、福音成为教会生活的中心,人们就会被吸引到教会。因为真正吸引人来教会的是我们的救主耶稣,而不是各种不同的项目和活动。

       1978年,新加坡的教会在当时的国家体育场举行了一场大型的布道会,约有三十三万人次参加超过五晚的聚会。讲员是已故葛培里牧师。四十年过去了,新加坡众教会将于今年5月17至19日举办一场类似的布道会(希望与你有约**),以纪念当年这个盛大且成功的布道会。当然,也是为了将耶稣基督的好消息传达给这里许多还没听过的人。令人鼓舞的是,新加坡的教会正团结一致,为这个重大的聚会共同努力;SIM也是这个基督大家庭的一员,我们正为此次盛大的布道会祷告,我们的同工也在自己的教会以各种方式参与其中。我们很荣幸能在今期的杂志中刊登这个消息,鼓励大家一同来参加和代祷。

       葛培理牧师四十年前的证道,今日仍激励着新加坡的教会和基督徒。他呼吁说:新加坡要成为“亚洲的安提阿”!身为新加坡人,我对这句话感到受宠若惊!说实在,我认为新加坡教会的确应该大力祷告,祷告我们能成为“众多亚洲的安提阿之一”,并继续差派宣教士到跨文化的工场中,把神的话语和慈爱带给未曾听过的人。

*务要传道:原文为Preach the Word,直译为“传讲神的话语”。

**希望与你有约:Celebration of HOPE,5月17至19日假新加坡体育城举行。 

SIM East Asia