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Evangelism - Myers Mott Maggay Linthicum        

Padilla on the Gospel in a Consumer Society 

"Behind the materialism which characterises consumer society lie the powers of destruction to which the New Testament refers. ... The world is a system in which evil is organized to opposition to Good. Nevertheless, it is its connection with Satan and his forces which gives it that character. Satan is 'the god of this world' (2 Cor. 4:4; cf. Jn 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 1 Jn 5:19); his forces are 'the powers that rule this world; (1 Cor. 2:6 TEV), 'the cosmic powers ... the authorities and potentates of this dark world' (Eph. 6:12 NEB), 'the elemental spirits of the universe' (Gal. 4:3, 9; Col. 2:8, 20). This apocalyptic vision of the world permeates the Pauline epistles and points to a cosmic dimension or not only sin, but also Christian redemption. The work of Jesus Christ cannot be understood apart from this background. 
   The demonic powers enslave man in the world through the structures and systems which he treats as absolutes. ...in Galatians 4:8 ff. the apostle Paul is warning his readers not only against legalism, but against a return to their slavery to spiritual powers which exercise their dominion over men through organised religion, against a return to gods who in their essential nature are no-gods. ...(211)

"To speak of the world is to speak of an oppressive system governed by the powers of evil who enslave men through idolatry. ... Those who limit the workings of the evil powers to the occult, demon possession and astrology, as well as those who consider the New Testament references to those powers as a sort of mythological shell from which the biblical message must be extracted, reduce the evil in the world to a personal problem, and Christian redemption to merely a personal experience. A better alternative is to accept the realism of the biblical description and understand man's situation in the world in terms of an enslavement to a spiritual realm from which he must be liberated. ... (212)

"The church is an eschatological reality - it belongs to the era of fulfilment introduced by Jesus Christ; ... In the period between the resurrection and second coming of Christ the new era supersedes the old and eschatology operates in the very stream of history. The resulting eschatological tension colours the whole life and mission of the church. The Lausanne Covenant refers to one of the most important aspects of that tension: 'we believe that we are engaged in constant spiritual warfare with the principalities and powers of evil, who are seeking to overthrow the church and frustrate its task of world evangelisation.' (213)

from The New Face of Evangelicalism edited by C. Rene Padilla

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