Brueggemann on Evangelism

I have been reflecting on the mission of the Church. I often hear that one of the roles is the Church is ‘win the lost’. I know what this means in certain places, but I offer up one of my favorite definitions of evangelism by biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann:

Evangelism is no safe church activity that will sustain a conventional church, nor a routine enterprise that will support a societal status quo. Evangelism as here understood is an activity of transformed consciousness that results in an altered perception of the world, neighbor, and self, and an authorization to live differently in that world. The news that God has triumphed means that a transformed life, i.e., one changed by the hearing of the news, works to bring more and more of life, personal and public, under the rule of this world-transforming, slave-liberating, covenant-making, promise-keeping, justice-commanding God. (p. 129, from Biblical Perspectives on Evangelism)


4 thoughts on “Brueggemann on Evangelism

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  1. i guess i don’t quite get how evangelism is “an activity of transformed consciousness.” does this mean that evangelism is a changing of one’s own awareness, or the activity of changing another’s awareness? if it means the transformation of one’s own awareness, how does this definition carry any etymological similarity to a classic/traditional definition of evangelism? if it is taken to be the activity of changing another’s awareness, in which way has God triumphed and why would someone want to become aware of or pay attention to news of that sort?

    personally, i agree at Bruggemann’s point that the conversion of one to Christianity through evangelism (although to me as traditionally understood) will in fact result in a change of worldview; however, this particular listed definition seems wanting in some very specific yet highly important concepts.

  2. glenn,

    thanks for responding to my post here. you asked if one changes their awareness. in the quote here Brueggemann says this:

    “The news that God has triumphed means that a transformed life, i.e., one changed by the hearing of the news”

    I guess Brueggemann is saying that one is changed at the hearing of the ‘good news’. And of course we would say that the ‘good news’ is the power of God unto salvation. So I would say in conjunction with Brueggemann that God transforms people through the hearing of God’s message of good news. This in turn creates people with an alternative perspective, consciousness, and with different habits in the world.

    I don’t think Brueggemann was offering what is traditionally titled an “order of salvation”. This is just a brief thought on the enterprise of evangelism.



  3. As an Evangelical, I totally agree with your post. I feel that any Evangelical would agree with this post. Winning the lost is contained in these. Personal, life changing, transformed consciousness by Believing with all of your heart that Jesus is Lord and is risen. This Faith is transforming like you say.

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