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The New Facet of Evangelicalism
There is a growing realization and acceptance that the redemptive message of the gospel of Jesus Christ goes hand-in-hand with “good works.”

There is a new facet emerging within evangelicalism in Canada, which could result in a profound impact on people the world over. Actually, this “new” evangelicalism has been around for sometime, but is beginning to gain a foothold in the evangelical mainstream.

There are a number of factors driving this agenda...

What’s happening? There is a growing realization and acceptance – even a newly found passion, that the redemptive message of the gospel of Jesus Christ goes hand-in-hand with “good works.” That is, “Go into all the world and preach the good news of Jesus Christ and while you are at it, extend a helping hand as well" (Ephesians 2:10).

In Canadian evangelical expression let’s not forget the significant and ongoing work from organizations such as The Salvation Army, Mennonite Central Committee and the Christian Reformed Church of Canada along with a host of others who consider this “new evangelicalism” as part of their spiritual DNA.

Why this fresh awakening? There are a number of factors driving this agenda:

  • The growing understanding that there does not have to be a dichotomy between preaching the gospel and social action
  • The growing realization that there are over 2,000 Scripture verses dealing with the issue of poverty
  • The growing awareness of issues that affect people globally
  • The growing influence of young people who are passionately embracing the issues of poverty and care of the environment.

Evangelical leaders in Canada are calling the church to action. The Rev. James Cantelon released his book, When God Stood Up – A Christian Response to AIDS in Africa, endorsed by notable figures such as Dave Toycen, President and CEO of World Vision Canada, which is a call to unite in a common cause to bring relief to suffering of intolerable magnitude. Wesley Campbell and Stephen Court highlight “the battle for mercy and social justice” in Be a Hero and tell us that, “God is challenging you to enlist in the noblest of all battles-the battle for our children – 1.2 billion ‘children at risk’ cannot be ignored.”

Consider also, the Micah Challenge, co-founded by the World Evangelical Alliance and the Micah Network, which is a global network of Christians and Christian organizations united in a deepening commitment to the poor and holding governments accountable to the promises they make. Second only to the United Nations, Micah Challenge International is the world’s largest organization actively promoting the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) as a realistic set of goals to help reduce global poverty. As Christians from the Southern Hemisphere (poorer countries) interact more and more with Christians from the North, there is a growing awareness of how to generously and effectively bring the resources of the North to the identified and declared needs of our Southern brothers and sisters in Christ.

Recently, I attended an amazing event in Washington D.C. when the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) partnered with Micah Challenge USA to host a Global Leaders Forum at which the keynote speaker was the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon. His message: Christians must come together to help eradicate extreme poverty. That the Secretary General of the United Nations came to appeal to and bless the efforts of Evangelicals is truly remarkable.

Younger people are learning, speaking and acting the vision that to do justice and to love mercy requires that the cause of the poor worldwide must be addressed. One such example in Canada is Kings College which established the Micah Centre, to train and equip youth to act out the prophet Micah’s call to act justly, love mercy and to walk humbly with our Lord (see Micah 6:8).

The new evangelicalism reminds me of Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46). This a clear revelation of where Jesus’ heart is in this matter. After rewarding those who did similar works, He turns to those who did not:

 "Then He will say to those on His left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

Real and genuine evangelism models both the words and deeds of Jesus Christ.

Douglas Cryer originally published this article in 2007 when he was serving as director of public policy for The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and as chair of Micah Challenge Canada. Used with permission. Copyright © 2007




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