Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Proclaiming the Good News of Jesus

The fifth and last parallel between the church in Acts and the Primitive Methodist movement is proclamation.

As Paul and his mission team journeyed across the regions around the Mediterranean they proclaimed the message of Jesus as Messiah, that he had to suffer and rise from the dead. (Acts 17:3). They proclaimed the gospel in towns and cities like the Roman colony of Philippi, and the Greek cities of Athens and Corinth, to Jew and Gentile alike.

Many became believers, although they stirred up opposition from Jewish groups, violent mobs or tradesmen whose livelihoods were threatened (as in Ephesus, Acts 19:24). They formed churches in many of these places.

The missionary pioneers of the Primitive Methodist movement journeyed from town to town, and village to village. In a ten year span from 1810 to 1820 they “missioned” towns and villages following the course of the River Trent, in the English Midlands from Stoke-on-Trent and going east via Notttingham towards the port city of Hull. In each place they formed chapels.

Their greatest apostle and evangelist, William Clowes, entered the city of Hull in January 1819. The proclamation of the gospel transformed that city. By 1881 there were fourteen chapels with a total capacity of over 12,000.

In a little over 30 years they established chapels across the length and breadth of England. In short they had made an impact on a nation. By the beginning of the 20th century they had formed schools, orphanages, helped found the Trade Union movement and had ten elected MPs.

Can the proclamation of the gospel change our nation, the nation of Australia? I believe it can.

See also Five Characteristics of a Church Planting movement

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