Global Mission and Justice

Author: Dr Dewi Hughes, Theological Advisor, Tearfund

Abstract:

The article below is an edited version of the lectures given by Dr. Hughes at the Redcliffe College World Christianity Lecture delivered at Redcliffe College on 9th November 2010 (ed.)
If the recent Lausanne Congress in Cape Town is a barometer there is much interest in global justice issues among Evangelicals these days. I was involved with the Lausanne Theology Working Group and on day two especially, we considered the theme of „Building the Peace of Christ in our Divided and Broken World.‟
In a Newsletter of ACEV [North East Brazil] received today – a Pentecostal denomination and long term partner of Tearfund, this was said: „This coming weekend will see hundreds of our youth gather for their annual congress held at Green Pastures with the theme: “Thirst for Justice”‟
Some questions that may pop into your mind as you encounter my topic:-
Why this interest in justice?

  • Is this interest the result of a change in theological outlook among Evangelicals?
  • In what sense is working for justice a part of the mission of the church?
  • Is there a danger that the interest in justice issues will distract the church from its crucial global mission of saving souls from their sin through faith in the atoning death of Christ? It grieves me to include this question, but it is still being asked.

I am going to focus on some very practical manifestations of this interest in the second half of this lecture. But first I want to do some historical and theological reflection on the topic. The reason for doing this is to prove that the passion for justice that is being manifested among evangelicals today is no „strange fire‟ in our tradition. To the contrary the „strange fire‟ is the lack of passion for justice.

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