Christianity: A Lay Movement

Christianity was from its inception a lay movement, and so it continued for a remarkably long time.  in a sense, the apostles inevitably became ‘professionals’.  But as early as Acts 8 we find that it is not the apostles but the ‘amateur” missionaries, the men evicted from Jerusalem as a result of the persecution which followed Steven’s martyrdom, who took the gospel with them wherever they went.  It was they who traveled along the coastal plain to Phoenicia, over the sea to Cyprus, or struck up north to Antioch.  They were evangelists, just as much as any apostle was.  Indeed it was they who took the two revolutionary steps of preaching to Greeks who had no connection with Judaism and the launching of the Gentile mission from Antioch.  It was an unselfconscious effort.  They were scattered from their base in Jerusalem and they went everywhere spreading the good news which had brought joy, release and a new life to themselves.  This must often have been not formal preaching, but the informal chattering to friends and chance acquaintances, in homes and wine shops, on walks, and around market stalls.  They went everywhere gossiping the gospel; they did it naturally, enthusiastically, and with the conviction of those who are not paid to say that sort of thing.

–Michael Green, Evangelism in the Early Church (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), p 243.

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~ by toddbumgarner on July 10, 2008 5:22 am.

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