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Mission or Evangelization?

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In this article, Indian missiologist Jacob Kavunkal notes the ongoing debate about the use of "mission" or "evangelization" to describe the task of the church in the world. One group, especially Europeans, use "mission" to designate the verbal proclamation of the gospel, and "evangelization" to designate other aspects such as social justice work, inculturation and dialogue. Another group, especially those from Latin America, define "mission" and "evangelization" in exactly the opposite way. Kavunkal argues, after a biblical and historical analysis of both terms, that the two terms should mean the same thing. However, mission or evangelization today should not be about the expansion of the church or even primarily an appeal to non-Christians. Rather, the church's evangelizing mission must be lived out in selfless service of the world, in imitation of God's own other-directed nature.

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