Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Using Chilcote & Warner chapter 7 write a review on What Position Women had in evangelism in the early Church? Do not be afraid to disagree with Liefeld by using the NT teaching.? 2. | EssayAbode

Using Chilcote & Warner chapter 7 write a review on What Position Women had in evangelism in the early Church? Do not be afraid to disagree with Liefeld by using the NT teaching.? 2.

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1. Using Chilcote & Warner chapter 7 (ATTACHED) write a review on What Position Women had in evangelism in the early Church? Do not be afraid to disagree with Liefeld by using the NT teaching. 

2. Using Chilcote & Warner chapter 8 (ATTACHED) write a review on Evangelism in the Contemporary Life.

CHAPTER 7

Women and Evangelism in the Early Church

Walter L. Liefeld

A clear and balanced view of the involvement of women in the evangelistic mission of the early church requires more than the citation of a few isolated examples. The Christian mission itself was integrated with the life and growth of the church, rather than merely being one of its organizational departments. Likewise the contribution of women was not a detached phenomenon, but a major part of the total life and ministry of the church. Moreover, missionary activity in the post-apostolic period grew naturally out of the explosive missionary activity of the New Testament church.

The New Testament Period

We need, therefore, to gain an appreciation of what was transpiring during the period of Jesus’ ministry and of the apostolic church. At the very beginning of the Gospel narrative the virgin Mary testifies clearly to the great things God did for her and for his people (Luke 1:49- 55). Shortly after the birth of Jesus, two pious Jews, Simeon and Anna, give testimony to his messiahship (Luke 2:25-38). From what we know of the Jewish custom of that time, the establishment of evidence required two witnesses, and the witness of a woman was not acceptable. Nevertheless, at this crucial moment Luke features Anna, who proclaimed the redemption of God through the newborn Christ.

In John 4 the familiar figure of the woman at the well of Samaria reminds us of the importance of a woman’s witness to Christ. “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony” (John 4:39). Another testimony by a woman, however, has gone almost unnoticed. When we think of the disciples’ confession of Jesus as Messiah and the Son of God, we usually call to mind Peter’s theological statement, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16). But Martha’s confession just prior to the raising of Lazarus contains almost identical words: “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God …”(John 11:27).

Women also gave the first testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Each of the four Gospels mentions the women. Luke includes the typical male response, “But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense” (24:11). Many have noted that when Paul provides a list of witnesses to the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15, he does not mention the women. Probably this was because the testimony of women was not acceptable in Paul’s world, and the Corinthians passage was intended to provide acceptable evidence. It is therefore all the more remarkable that the Gospels do relate the role of women

Chilcote, P. W., & Warner, L. C. (Eds.). (2008). The study of evangelism : Exploring a missional practice of the church. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. Created from amridge on 2022-09-21 04:26:50.

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in this first act of witness to the risen Christ. Missionary activity, as is often emphasized, includes the work of those in supporting

roles. We recall, therefore, that several women accompanied Jesus on his missionary travels and supported him financially (Luke 8:1-3).

Paul mentions a number of women who worked with him. We do not know with certainty what role these female workers had. If the names of those whom Paul said “contended” side by side with him “in the cause of the gospel” (Phil. 4:3) had been men, we would have assumed that they were coevangelists doing the very things Paul did himself. They are mentioned “along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers” (v. 3) and the same kind of association appears with regard to the women whom Paul mentions in Romans 16.

The high percentage of women cited along with men in Romans 16 is remarkable, especially considering the usual prominence of men over women in the society of that day. Priscilla and Aquila are mentioned together as Paul’s “fellow workers in Christ Jesus” who “risked their lives for me” (vv. 3-4). One Mary “worked very hard” for the Romans, but Paul does not specify in what sense she did this (v. 6). Tryphena and Tryphosa were “women who worked hard in the Lord” (v. 12). The same is said of “my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord” (v. 12). Again we do not know with certainty what these women were doing, but it would assuredly be wrong to settle into the assumption that they were not engaged in missionary activity along with Paul. Only a few verses later Paul speaks of “Timothy, my fellow worker,” who certainly was involved in full ministry with Paul. We know that other women were also prominent in the expansion of the church. Michael Green observes that “a leading part in the spread of the gospel was undertaken by women; sometimes in public or semi-public, as in the work of a Priscilla, a Lydia, a Phoebe, a Syntyche; and sometimes in the women’s quarters of the home or at the laundry.”1 Given these vignettes, we are left with no doubt that women were intensely active in the spread of the gospel during the period of the New Testament church.

Evaluating Evidence from the Early Church

As noted above, the nature and extent of women’s participation in the evangelistic outreach of the early church cannot be determined merely by citations of isolated examples. This is the case no matter how glowing these examples may be in themselves. We may give several reasons for this. One is that the written records of that period are too sparse to provide a sufficient basis for sweeping conclusions. Another is that it is easily deceptive to view the early centuries from the perspective of our own times, expecting to find essentially similar modes of evangelism. This can be a problem even after discounting such obvious features of our times as radio, TV, literature, and mass crusades in great auditoriums. The differences run far deeper than that. A third reason for caution is that isolated incidents are not necessarily typical examples and therefore may not lead to a balanced conclusion as to the

Chilcote, P. W., & Warner, L. C. (Eds.). (2008). The study of evangelism : Exploring a missional practice of the church. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. Created from amridge on 2022-09-21 04:26:50.

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normal state of affairs. In short, we need to evaluate the contribution of women in terms of the way evangelism and mission were actually carried out in those times.

As regards the paucity of written records, first of all, we are unable to tell whether what has survived provides a fair and balanced picture of the contribution of women. In the early centuries, as well as throughout most of church history, it was men who authored the extant materials. Some suspect that the contributions of women were minimized. We are reluctant to offer an opinion in this regard. One aspect of this matter does, however, require comment. Some contemporary writers have suggested that the book of Acts itself minimizes the contribution of women in the New Testament church.2 They argue that Paul’s writings, despite his restrictions on women, include references to a number of women associates who are unnamed in Acts. But a comparison of Luke’s Gospel with the other Synoptic Gospels shows that Luke’s presentation of women, far from being inadequate or (worse) demeaning, as has sometimes been charged, is equal to or superior to those of Matthew and Mark.3

If that is the case in the Gospel, where Luke can be checked, it is inappropriate to think that in Acts he deliberately skewed the narratives to obliterate traces of women’s ministry. Luke’s literary method involves careful focusing on specific characters. His focus on Peter and Paul, for example, may have been a reason for his giving less attention to their women associates. We cannot, therefore, assume that there were not a good number of women active in evangelism simply because they are not cited by name in Acts. By extension, we cannot assume that the records of the post–New Testament period provide us with all there is to know about women evangelists and missionaries.

The second reason for caution is our tendency to see the first centuries from a modern perspective. Was there a highly visible, unified evangelistic thrust or did the gospel spread largely through relatively simple and unspectacular ways? How would this have affected the participation of women? Balance is needed. Open-air evangelism, for example, did take place, attested to not only by the New Testament but by extrabiblical literature. Celsus’s complaint, cited by Origen, was that Christians showed that they were uncouth by their street-corner approach.4 Not incidentally, Celsus’s taunt included the charge that Christians were able to convince “only the foolish, dishonorable, and stupid, and only slaves, women, and little children.” The marketplace was frequented by itinerant purveyors of every sort imaginable. In addition to the outright entertainers, there were philosophers, especially the Cynics in their deliberately tattered robes, the garish cultic figures, and the crafty “religious” beggars. Christians used these opportunities, although one would be hard-pressed to name famous “evangelists” from the decades following the New Testament period.

MacMullen holds that “after Saint Paul, the church had no mission, it made no organized or official approach to unbelievers; rather it left everything to the individual.”5 These individuals, however, used every practicable means to spread the faith, and open-air evangelism was one such means. Since this was not an “organized or official” activity, however it is viewed, the church would have had no control over whether women used this opportunity. I am not aware of any evidence that they did, and the attitudes then prevailing

Chilcote, P. W., & Warner, L. C. (Eds.). (2008). The study of evangelism : Exploring a missional practice of the church. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. Created from amridge on 2022-09-21 04:26:50.

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concerning women would have made it unlikely that they would have been heard. The Apologists are well known to us for their bold literary warfare, storming the

fortresses of pagan mentality and defending the Christian faith from attack. Yet their literature did not begin to appear until a hundred years after Christ, most of it mid-second- century and later. Relatively few were involved in the literary aspect of Christian mission, but, as we shall see, women were in their number.

Apart from some outstanding instances of direct preaching and writing, however, the advance of the Christian mission seems to have been done largely by personal witnessing accompanied by the vibrant impressive testimony of moral rectitude and deeds of kindness and charity. Even the martyrs were singled out for torture not so much because they were successful evangelists, but because they were faithful witnesses. Tertullian wrote of the way in which a Christian wife of a pagan had to exercise extreme care in her relations with believers, especially men, and in her attempts to attend Christian church services.6 This is in keeping with Peter’s advice to wives as to how to win over a pagan husband by pure and reverent behavior (1 Peter 3:1-4). House churches, no doubt, were held in the larger homes, where the “household” included relatives and many slaves. A Christian hostess would have had considerable influence spiritually.

Along with public and personal methods of witness was the preaching that took place within the church itself. 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 seems to indicate that, just as Gentile “God- fearers” attended synagogues and thereby came into the Jewish faith, so, from the beginning, unbelievers could be found in Christian church services. While it was commonly argued that women should not preside over the Eucharist, there were church functions they did fulfill, including prophesying (Acts 2:17-18; 21:8-9; 1 Cor. 11:5). This fact of the multiple expression of spiritual gifts in the church, together with the 1 Corinthians 14 passage about visiting unbelievers, suggests that even within the church service, at least in the early years of house churches, the ministry of women reached unbelievers.

The third reason for caution is the problem of extrapolating a pattern of women’s evangelistic activity from isolated examples. To cite a contemporary circumstance, it is possible for a Christian organization to feature in its public presentations an instance of some missionary’s successful work that may not be an accurate representation of that organization’s ministry as a whole. This might be useful for motivation, but it would be do insufficient basis for a historian’s evaluation. Thus Foxe’s Book of Martyrs is stirring, but not intended to be a complete, balanced picture of Christian witness in the early church. Nevertheless, there are some outstanding instances of women, and the adoption of a cautious attitude should not rob us of their significance.

The Post-Apostolic Church through the Fourth Century

One of the earliest testimonies to the activity of Christian women comes not from Christian sources but from an official of the Roman Empire. Pliny, governor of Bithynia, wrote the

Chilcote, P. W., & Warner, L. C. (Eds.). (2008). The study of evangelism : Exploring a missional practice of the church. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. Created from amridge on 2022-09-21 04:26:50.

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Emperor Trajan in the year A.D. 111 regarding matters in his province. He mentioned two Christian women slaves whom he had arrested. “I have judged it necessary to obtain information by torture from two serving women called by them ‘deaconesses’.”7 Why did Pliny interrogate women instead of men? Did he consider them weaker and more likely to yield information? Were they well known in the community for their testimony? Were the men unavailable … perhaps deliberately? We do not know what was in his mind, but obviously these women were known for their Christian stand.

Their torture was equaled and surpassed by that of many women in the early church. Some years later Eusebius wrote of a woman named Blandina, who lived at about the same time as the two women just mentioned. Eusebius noted her strength in pain and of the effect of this on her captors. Finally she was hung on a stake and offered as a prey to the wild beasts, encouraging others to live and suffer for the glory of Christ.8

Perhaps the best-known woman martyr from the early years of the church was Vibia Perpetua. Even though the early church spawned many legends of dubious historicity, there is good reason to consider the information about Perpetua essentially reliable. Born into a wealthy family, she, her slave Felicitas, and several men were taken captive during the persecution under Septimius Severus in 202/203. The anxiety of her father, who could not identify with her strong faith, far exceeded her own self-concern. He tried by various ways to convince her that she should yield and save her life. Even more poignant, she had a baby and realized what this would mean for her child. Meanwhile, her slave Felicitas was also pregnant. Since she knew that the tormentors would not kill a pregnant woman, Felicitas prayed that the child would be born quickly. It was, and she submitted herself for execution. The account of their torture and death is vivid, including the detail that Perpetua guided the hand of her executioner so that she would feel the pain of the sword at her throat.9

More stories could be related about women martyrs. One, named Quinta, refused to worship at a pagan temple and was tied by the feet and dragged “through the whole city, over the rough stones of the paved streets, dashing her against the millstones, and scourging her at the same time, until they brought her to the same place, where they stoned her.”10 Another, Saint Apollonia, had all her teeth broken out and then voluntarily jumped into the fire to her death.11 The citation of such accounts not only celebrates the faith of these women but calls attention to the fact that, since martyrdoms were for the most part public events, spectators received an unforgettable witness to Christ.

In strong contrast to this intense, momentary declaration were the various writings that provided a continuing source of Christian teaching. A woman with great literary gift, Proba, wrote a type of literature (called a “cento”) that draws on other works, in this case, that of the Roman poet Virgil. She gave testimony to Christ through such lines as:

because Thy Son descended from the high heaven and time brought to us with our hopes at last succor and the coming of God whom for the first time a woman bearing the guises and habit of a virgin — marvelous to say — brought faith a child not of our race of blood … one with God, the very image of his beloved Sire.12

Chilcote, P. W., & Warner, L. C. (Eds.). (2008). The study of evangelism : Exploring a missional practice of the church. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. Created from amridge on 2022-09-21 04:26:50.

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The famous Christian scholar Jerome wrote of the biblical scholarship of the devout woman Marcella. He had such confidence in her that when he went away, he directed any inquirers who needed “evidence from Scripture” to consult with her.13 Although Marcella’s name is not usually mentioned among those of the great apologists, Jerome said of her, “She was in the front line in condemning the heretics; she brought forth witnesses who earlier had been taught by them and later were set straight from their heretical error. She showed how many of them had been deceived.… She called upon the heretics in frequent letters to defend themselves.”14

Another woman of whom Jerome wrote highly was Paula. She was devoted to good deeds and eventually, with Jerome, established a monastery (they were not yet called convents) for women.15 Paula symbolizes the many women in the early church as well as throughout church history who remained virgins in order to devote themselves to God and to deeds of kindness to others. Like the Christian widows, they gave testimony by life to the reality of God’s grace and the transforming power of Christ in their lives.

The influence of Augustine’s mother, Monica, in turning him to Christ is well known. The great Cappadocian Father, Basil, was also influenced by a woman. His sister Macrina was concerned over his intellectual pride and directed him to a spiritual life. Their brother, Gregory of Nyssa, said of Macrina, “It was a woman who was the subject of our discourse, if indeed you can say ‘a woman’ for I do not know if it is appropriate to call her by a name taken from nature when she surpassed that nature.”16

So it was that in the early years of the church’s evangelistic mission, women as well as men “surpassed,” in a sense, their human nature and devoted themselves spiritually to the advance of the cause of Christ. In the home, ministering in the house churches, maintaining a steadfast witness, willingly being martyred for their faith, writing and teaching the truths of the gospel, embodying the love of Christ in their practical humble deeds of charity, and influencing people in many ways to abandon lives of sin and emptiness — in all these ways and perhaps many others unchronicled for whatever reason — women participated in the fulfilling of the Great Commission.

1. Michael Green, Evangelism and the Early Church (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970), p. 118; citing Origen, Contra Celsum 3.55, along with the biblical passages.

2. Elizabeth Tetlow, Women and Ministry in the New Testament (New York: Paulist, 1980), pp. 107-9; cf. Elizabeth A. Clark, Women in the Early Church (Wilmington: Michael Glazier, 1983) and Jean LaPorte, The Role of Women in the Early Christianity (Lewiston, N.Y.: Mellen, 1982).

3. Ruth A. Tucker and Walter L. Liefeld, Daughters of the Church: A History of Women in Ministry (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1987), Excursus to Chapter One.

4. Origen, Contra Celsum, 3.52; cf. 7.9. 5. Ramsay MacMullen, Christianizing the Roman Empire (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984), p. 34. 6. Tertullian, Ad Uxorem, 2.6 and 5. 7. Pliny, Letter to Trajan, 10.96. 8. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 5.1-61.

Chilcote, P. W., & Warner, L. C. (Eds.). (2008). The study of evangelism : Exploring a missional practice of the church. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. Created from amridge on 2022-09-21 04:26:50.

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,

CHAPTER 8

Evangelism and Contemporary American Life

Bill J. Leonard

“Born Again” … Those words once associated in the popular mind with street preachers, holy rollers, and religious outcasts have in the last decade become the watchword of an evangelical elite in America, a thriving subculture filled with success stories, power politics, and social acceptability. Evangelism and evangelicals appear to have arrived in the American religious and political establishment. Presidents, congressional leaders, executives, and celebrities, along with multitudes of “ordinary” folks, testify to a born again experience. George Gallup, that perennial pulse-taker of the American mood, found in 1976 that 34 percent of Americans (one in three) claimed to be born again.1 Assorted religious leaders anticipate a “third great awakening” in America as citizens return to the “old time gospel” of simple faith in Christ and the almost forsaken values of the Protestant ethic. A new generation of media evangelists challenge (at a respectful distance) Billy Graham for the office of America’s chaplain while reporters offer predictions as to which “electric preacher” will receive Graham’s mantle.2 Mainline denominations, which in the 1960s appeared to reject more traditional styles of evangelical outreach, have turned their attention toward a recovery of a theology of evangelism and a style for doing evangelism in the parish and throughout the nation. “Parachurch” groups blitz college campuses and the armed services while unsuspecting travelers receive an airport witness from traditional evangelicals and cultic devotees alike.

There seems to be no shortage of evangelism or evangelicals in contemporary America. The question may better be asked: Which evangelism and which evangelicals? Is the gospel preached by so-called evangelicals in America reflective of certain biblical norms? How does it shape and how is it shaped by American culture? A number of recent works have asked those or similar questions, seeking to define evangelism and examine the state of evangelical Christianity in America.3 This study is a brief attempt to describe certain factors which have influenced evangelism in America, to characterize various evangelical groups on the contemporary scene, and to evaluate the nature of evangelism in American religion.

Evangelism: A Working Definition

Evangelism, that word most basic to Christian faith, seems elusive in both meaning and application. At its most simple level it may be considered the proclamation that Jesus Christ lived, was crucified, and was resurrected; that he is the way of salvation for those who come to

Chilcote, P. W., & Warner, L. C. (Eds.). (2008). The study of evangelism : Exploring a missional practice of the church. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. Created from amridge on 2022-09-21 04:37:38.

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him by repentance and faith. In a classic study, Evangelism in the Early Church, Michael Green suggests that kerussein (to proclaim) is not the only meaning of evangelism. He stresses three concepts which illustrate a broader biblical and historical basis for defining the story of Jesus in its relation to the world. Those concepts are: “the gospel is good news; it is proclamation; it is witness.”4

Briefly defined, Christian evangelism is the good news that Jesus Christ is the way to God. It is the proclamation of the story of Jesus and the call to follow him. Evangelism also involves the living out of that good news in the world. Herb Miller describes it as a threefold approach:

(1) Being the Word — the influence of the Christian’s spiritual quality and example. (2) Doing the Word — the influence of the Christian’s loving acts toward other people. (3) Saying the Word — the influence of the Christian’s verbal communication with those outside the church.5

American Evangelism: Formative Forces

Historically, the American experience has shaped significantly the directions, methods, and theology of Christian evangelism. Some of the most important influences have come from pluralism, revivalism, nationalism, and fundamentalism.

Pluralism represents a major factor in American society in general and American religion in particular. It is an obvious result of democratic government, personal liberty, and religious freedom. In religion, pluralism has meant that a number of denominations, sects, and cults could exist side by side, each free to proclaim its doctrines without coercion from the state in a society where no one church was officially dominant. Membership in each religious group was based upon the voluntary consent of the individual. Those churches wishing to grow were required to evangelize in order to secure “volunteers” for membership.6 Evangelism, even aggressive evangelism, was therefore both a means of fulfilling a major imperative of the gospel and securing a larger number of constituents. Evangelism and church growth have seemed inseparable in American churches.

Pluralism has also meant that many groups could claim to possess the one “true” gospel without being able to impose that gospel on the entire society. Many demonstrate evangelistic zeal but not the same evangelistic message. Southern Baptists, Campus Crusaders, Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship members, Mormons, and Moonies all demonst

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