The word evangelism evokes strong reactions among Christians. Conflict about what it is, whether to do it, how to go about it, and the desired results divides churches and demonstrates the need for new theologies and methods that address today’s religiously pluralistic and secular contexts.
A new book by seasoned evangelism scholar Frances S. Adeney offers a new mission statement for evangelism based on biblical models, mission trends, and contemporary practice.
Graceful Evangelism: Christian Witness in a Complex World (Baker Academic Publishing, 2010) shows that understanding different contexts and approaches to evangelism and accepting the views of others on this crucial topic can help replace the “evangelism wars” (social action vs. proclamation) with a more graceful approach to sharing God’s good news with the world.
Dr. Adeney, the William A. Benfield Jr. Professor of Evangelism and Global Mission at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, will comment on her new book, at a booksigning on Thursday, February 17, 2011, 12:30 p.m., in the Seminary’s Winn Center (1044 Alta Vista Road, 40205). Remarks by other scholars will be shared about the book, which is available for purchase in the Seminary bookstore. The event is free of charge, and the public is invited to attend.
As a professor of evangelism and global mission at Louisville Seminary since 1999, Adeney specializes in issues of Christianity and culture, and more specifically, the place of religion in the social world and the implications for ethics in the interactions between religion and society. She believes that one issue facing the church and society today is mission.
"The church faces a critical need to move beyond divisive views of evangelism and mission and develop broad understandings that celebrate diversity – ethnic, cultural, theological and geographical,” she says.
Adeney served in a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission assignment in Indonesia for seven years, during which she served as a professor and as a national delegate for the 100 Years: World Parliament of Religions, held in conjunction with the Chicago World Parliament meeting.
Before coming to Louisville Seminary, she held appointments at the University of Southern California, Satya Wacana Christian University in Indonesia, Jakarta Theological Seminary, and New College, Berkeley. She has been visiting professor at the Graduate Theological Union in California; St. John’s School of Theology in Collegeville, Minn.; Asia Theological Seminary in Manila, Philippines; Fuller Seminary; and St. Edmund’s College of Cambridge University. She also taught World Religions at Trinity Theological College in Singapore.
Adeney’s publications also include Christianity Encountering World Religions: The Practice of Mission in the Twenty-First Century (Baker, 2009), co-written with Terry Muck addressing the challenges of mission in a global context and present the church with ways to interact with other religions while affirming the centrality of the gospel to Christian faith; Christianity and Human Rights: Influences and Issues (SUNY Press, 2007), co-edited with Arvind Sharma; Christian Women in Indonesia: A Narrative Study Gender and Religion (Syracuse University Press, 2003); “Feet First: How Practices Have Shaped My Theology of Evangelism and Mission” in Teaching Mission in a Global Context (Westminster, 2001), and contributions to Gospel Bearers, Gender Barriers: Missionary Women in the Twentieth Century, edited by Dana Robert (Orbis, 2002), and Ethics and World Religions (Orbis, 1999).