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Social Action and Evanglism

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Submitted By Dwiglett
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What is the relationship between social action and evangelism?
I believe some people wish to make a false dichotomy between Social action and Evangelism when the issue is brought up, as if one cannot meet the physical needs of others and speak of the gospel at the same time. Surely it’s not impossible for to go and build a house for a man and tell him, “Today I shall build you an earthly house, so that you may know the comfort of a home, but l tell you that as I build this home there is an even greater builder constructing you a mansion, one that will be eternal, and the builder is Christ…” and etc. I see no reason why when you construct homes for the homeless one cannot bring up 2 Corinthians 5:1, or John 4:13-14 when you feed them and leap from there.
Of course there may be times when the pangs from someone’s physical hunger stifle the growls of their spiritual hunger and the same with pain. Or there will be times when someone’s spiritual hunger will affect them physically. I like to compare Social Action, Evangelism, and Fellowship/Worship to be like a tripod for a camera you have to adjust all the legs to find the proper balance, at times a leg may be far shorter than the others or one longer than the rest, but it’s what is need.
Should evangelism take precedence over other types of ministry?
As I mentioned above evangelism is only a single part of everything Christianity has to offer, it is just the beginning of everything that Christ has to offer. It is in fact, an offer to Christ an outreached hand to Christianity. I agree with Hugh Moffett when he claims “Evangelism is not the whole of the Christian Mission.” (Hawthorne 598) Of course, it shouldn’t be consider anything like “Baby’s first step” or anything like that just like the mind and body make up a Man, Evangelism is only a small bit of ministry and has its place. And in certain times it may not be what is needed in that area, while other times it is, but it shouldn’t be the sole focus. The best analogy I can think of is that we shouldn’t focus on the Son only to forget the Spirit, though that might not be the best.
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Perspectives on the world Christian movement winter, Hawthorne editors fourth edition published 2009

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