• by Ralph D. Winter

Three Mission Eras and the Loss and Recovery of Kingdom Mission

At the top of the page the three-century diagram begins with the 1700s, during which time the transformative Evangelical Awakening in both England and America began to demonstrate both a spiritual and secular impact.

A direct result of that profound Spiritual Awakening was, first, the English Industrial Revolution, and a little later the symbolic beginning of Protestant mission awareness just before the year 1800.

From that point on the three "Eras" of Protestant mission strategy then correspond roughly to three phases of Evangelical insight into Kingdom Mission.

Church Mission is the mission to extend the Church of Jesus Christ by an urgent, strategic, relentless campaign of personal conversion and church planting. Kingdom Mission goes beyond Church Mission to press for God's will and His glory beyond the Church, in this world.

Thus, when a whole series of bad things happened between the Civil War and the Second World War, the expansive, optimistic, full-blown Biblical Kingdom Mission extensively gave way to mere Church Mission, even on the mission fields of the world. Universities were no longer established, vast nationwide educational and medical schemes were less frequent. Mission still retained the all-important basic stress on personal transformation. Social transformation was not only not as fervently pursued by missionaries, but those still seeking to change society often were labeled "liberals" or "modernists" whether or not that was true.

However, this was not only a theological polarization, it was a rarely mentioned social-level divergence. Just as soon as Evangelicals became college and university graduates, professors, members of Congress, etc., new, bigger and more optimistic forms of Kingdom Mission have reemerged.

—Ralph D. Winter, W1660C.11. 10/19/08

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