By Jeffrey Walton, Juicy Ecumenism.
Advancing the Kingdom of God includes establishing justice, love and good works, but is not limited to these things, according to speakers at a major conference of Anglican missionaries.
“We also need to ‘tell the story’: minister the power of the Gospel and disciple new believers,” declared Anglican Bishop of Singapore Rennis Ponniah. “It is a story that grips and transforms hearts.”
Ponniah spoke April 9 at the New Wineskins for Global Mission conference, a triennial gathering of more than 1,000 participants near Asheville, North Carolina. Formerly known as the Episcopal Church Missionary Community, the gathering attracts delegations from Episcopal and Anglican churches, seminaries, international missions groups and a sizeable contingent of overseas Christians.
The 2016 conference, themed “Facing a Task Unfinished” called for churches to commit resources and young adults to reach those who had never heard the Gospel. The gathering, which has occurred since 1994, also witnessed a transfer of leadership from longtime Director Sharon Stockdale Steinmiller to incoming Director Jenny Noyes.
“Giving an Unconditional Yes”
“’Kingdom Advance’ involves setting people free from the powers of darkness and the seductions of the world,” Ponniah charged in his address, citing the story of a woman who had been dedicated to a local goddess and was afflicted with physical contortions into “humanly impossible” positions. After hearing the Gospel, “She was set free from spiritual darkness.”
Ponniah, whose diocese includes the Southeast Asian nation of Singapore as well as deaneries in Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Nepal, was joined by others calling for Christian churches to dedicate an increasing amount of their resources – both financial and missionaries – towards evangelizing unreached people groups, populations where few people have heard the Gospel.