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The Missionary

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O thou who camest from above
          The pure celestial fire t'impart,
Kindle a flame of sacred love
          On the mean altar of my heart!

Jesu, confirm my heart's desire
          To work, and speak, and think for thee;
Still let me guard the holy fire,
          And still stir up thy gift in me. . . 

- Hymns, Charles Wesley, 1762

The Evangelical Impulse

BethuneMissionaries are easier to understand than we often imagine. Today's world is full of women, men and children with an evangelical impulse. You are likely one of them. Consider for a moment your aspiration and hope for a troubled friend, a member of your family or for those who struggle with poverty, disease, prejudice and war. How do you imagine relieving the pain of  such circumstances? What is it that organizations and governments might do? What "good news" can you imagine bringing in the midst of struggle? The desire to bring some "good news" is your evangelical impulse and the "good news" you bring is your gospel.

Centre for family literacy logoModern liberal democratic societies are perhaps the most evangelical societies known in human history.League of Indians A small set of ultimate values informs liberal democratic societies wherever we find them. Each of these values is understood to be of great benefit to anyone and everyone who adopts it. Many of these values exist: democracy empowers the whole of the community and frees people from the bondage of tyrants; universal human rights ensure the dignity of minorities and put an end to discrimination based on ethnicity, race, religion, language, gender and sexual preferences; capitalism and socialism stop state or corporate tyranny. 

AberhartHowever, the one value that is most broadly shared is that of universal education, as it is considered to be the pathway to a successful life. Democracy, human rights, capitalism and socialism, and universal education are the gospels of our age because they are seen as an antidote to the ills of the human family.

Bike WallIn the history of religions, the evangelical impulse is central to Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. Within Christianity, the Methodists (both as a movement and as a church), hold the evangelical impulse close to its heart. This impulse has shaped Methodism throughout its 300-year history.

 


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