Has the Church Lost Its Way?

Doing a second read on “THE CELTIC WAY OF EVANGELISM” (George Hunter, Abingdon Press, 2000) and this quote pushed its way to my consciousness. (The context is an analysis of the problems St. Patrick faced from his superiors one decade in to his 28 year mission to Ireland. Hunter then draws a parallel to the modern church with this concluding quote:

“No major denomination in the United States regards apostolic ministry to pre-Christian outsiders as its ‘priority’ or even as ‘normal’ ministry.”

First thought: Is that true?

Second thought: I think it might be.

So I read on.

“[Patrick] defended his calling in terms of biblical warrants for priority outreach to pre-Christian populations. Patrick explains that he has devoted his life to helping Irish populations be ‘reborn in God’  and ‘redeemed from the ends of the earth’  because the Church is placed in the world ‘as a light among the nations’  to ‘fish well’  and to ‘spread our nets so that we can catch a great . . . multitude for God.’  The Church, he reminded them, is commanded by the risen Christ to go into ‘all the world,’ and ‘to preach the gospel to all creation,’  and to ‘teach all nations’ in anticipation of ‘the last days’  when the Lord ‘will pour out [his] spirit over all flesh’  and make peoples who were not his into ‘children of the living God.'”

p. 24-25 (italic emphasis added)

What do you think? I look forward to your comments, corrections and questions.


2 thoughts on “Has the Church Lost Its Way?

  1. I love this book. Taught a class using it as my guide. When I led Alpha at the church a few years later, I realized Alpha was following Patrick’s model (with modifications since we weren’t living in community surrounded by wilderness and clans!)…..still, it’s the best roadmap I know of to teach the congregation how to become an inviting, supportive environment in which to explore the Faith.

    Alpha prioritises reaching Pre-Christians. It’s a lifestyle for a church to embrace and not a program. (Not surprisingly, Alpha was developed in London using Cru material at St Michael’s Chester Square Church, before it became famous and moved over to Holy Trinity Brompton Church with a different Vicar as leader.) What I found at our church, using Alpha, was that when the pastor supported it wholeheartedly the members stepped up and became involved. Once the pastor backed out the thing died out.


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