“The Church is always one generation away from extinction”: Rev Miles Toulmin
by Rachel Phua // September 28, 2018, 7:18 pm
Evangelism is necessary to improve both society and the Church, said Vicar of Holy Trinity Bukit Bintang Reverend Miles Toulmin at this year’s Alpha Workplace Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Friday, 28 September.
To kick off the first day of the conference, the pastor, who is also the executive director of Alpha Asia-Pacific, gave a theological overview on why evangelism matters.
Fulfilling the Great Commission is to steward creation – in other words, to worship the Lord.
Stewardship should not just be seen as preserving what God has created, but multiplying what God has given.
“To transform society, we don’t just implement the principles of Jesus, such as do to others as you would have them do to you, or love your enemies,” he said. “Just bringing those principles into life will only go so far.
“What we need to do is to bring the person of Jesus to work. We can’t control people’s behaviour, but it is the transformation of the heart through Jesus Christ that will change them.”
He cited parallels between the mandates given in Matthew 28:19-20 and Genesis 1:28. Both the disciples and men were called to lead God’s creation, bring order to the chaos and fill the earth.
In the two cases, God was with them – walking with Adam in the garden (Genesis 3:8), and through the Holy Spirit among the disciples.
Stewardship should not just be seen as preserving what God has created. It means to multiply what God has given, Pastor Toulmin said, referencing the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30).
The servant who chose to stick to the status quo was called “wicked and slothful” (Matthew 25:26).
Doing our part to proclaim the Gospel is also part of Jesus’ recreation process (Revelation 21:5), as people who come to Christ experience a new spiritual birth.
Evangelism revitalises the Church
Evangelism is important in revitalising the body of believers as well, Pastor Toulmin said. Without effort to spread the Gospel, it is only a matter of time before a church dies out.
Evangelism protects the church, as we have to be sure about the chief tenets of our faith, such as who Jesus is, what the Bible is.
“The Church is always one generation away from extinction.”
Talking about God ensures that the Church remains orthodox. When churches become inward looking, they begin to believe in “very odd things”, he pointed out. But evangelism protects the parish as they have to be sure about the chief tenets of their faith, such as who Jesus is, what the Bible is, and what the Gospel means.
“Evangelism is also critical in bringing about unity in the Church,” Pastor Toulmin said towards the end of his session.
Churches have different theological emphases and interpretations, but every believer agrees on the need to fulfil the Great Commission.
Becoming partners in the Gospel will empower the Church, and it is this unity that will further strengthen the evangelistic cause, he added, quoting John 13:35: “By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”