Tony Payne’s six propositions on the biblical relationship between evangelism and social action:

  1. Evangelism and social action are distinct activities
  2. Prayerful proclamation is central to the work of the Lord
  3. Evangelism and social action are inseparable
  4. Social action is unconditional love, not a tactic
  5. Social action is not a magic evangelistic bullet
  6. The Great Commission is to make and to teach

See the post for an explanation of each.

For more elaboration, see this essay by Tim Chester (in which he makes the case for both Christian social involvement and the case for the centrality of gospel proclamation) and this follow-up essay by Chester and Payne on the relationship between the two in Christian ministry and mission.

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8 thoughts on “The Relationship Between Evangelism and Social Action”

  1. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Very good stuff.

    Bears on the discussion-debate between 1K and 2K/R2K theology.

  2. Kevin DeYoung says:

    This is helpful. Thanks for finding all this good stuff JT.

  3. Paul C says:

    This was a very good article, especially with the proper focus on proclaiming God’s word, and not minimizing this.

  4. Gunner says:

    JT,

    Thanks for this, and for your hard work in finding good content. I especially appreciate #4 (“Social action is unconditional love, not a tactic”) because I often hear compassion presented mainly as a method for evangelism instead of a true and right response to the gospel. Compassion can certainly help win people to Christ (which is our primary concern) but it’s not wasted if they don’t believe.

    Gunner

  5. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    FWIW,

    I think pro-life activism in all its multi-faceted forms constitutes evangelism and social action.

    I also hold that pro-biblical marriage in all its multi-faceted forms constitutes evangelism and social action.

  6. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    I also hold that the term “social action” or “social justice” means very different things between conservative evangelicals and liberal evangelicals, between conservative Protestants and liberal Protestants.

  7. dgh says:

    Miss TUAD, now you’re sounding like Glenn Beck.

  8. RL Keener says:

    JT: Have you seen Jason Stellman’s alternate theses from a 2K perspective at Creed Code Cult?

    http://www.creedcodecult.com/2010/03/six-two-kingdoms-propositions.html

    RL Keener

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Justin Taylor


Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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