Christian mission

Principal symbol of Christianity
Christian cross
A Christian mission is an organized effort to spread Christianity. Missions often involve sending individuals and groups, called missionaries, across boundaries, most commonly geographical boundaries, for the purpose of proselytism (conversion to Christianity, or from one Christian tradition to another). This involves evangelism (preaching a set of beliefs for the purpose of conversion), and humanitarian work, especially among the poor and disadvantaged. There are a few different kinds of mission trips: short-term, long-term, relational and ones meant simply for helping people in need. Some might choose to dedicate their whole lives to missions as well. Missionaries have the authority to preach the Christian faith (and sometimes to administer sacraments), and provide humanitarian work to improve economic development, literacy, education, health care, and orphanages. Christian doctrines (such as the "Doctrine of Love" professed by many missions) permit the provision of aid without requiring religious conversion.

The earliest Christian mission, then, the Great Commission and Dispersion of the Apostles, was active within Second Temple Judaism, as Christianity had not yet split from Judaism. Whether a Jewish proselytism existed or not that would have served as a model for the early Christians is unclear, see Circumcision controversy in early Christianity#Jewish background for details. Soon, the expansion of the Christian mission beyond Judaism to those who were not Jewish became a contested issue, notably at the Council of Jerusalem. The Apostle Paul was an early proponent of this expansion, and contextualized the Christian message for the Greek and Roman cultures, allowing it to reach beyond its Hebrew and Jewish roots.

From Late Antiquity onward, much missionary activity was carried out by members of religious orders. Monasteries followed disciplines and supported missions, libraries, and practical research, all of which were perceived as works to reduce human misery and suffering and glorify the Christian God. For example, Nestorian communities evangelized parts of Central Asia, as well as Tibet, China, and India. Cistercians evangelized much of Northern Europe, as well as developing most of European agriculture's classic techniques. St Patrick evangelized many in Ireland. St David was active in Wales.

During the Middle Ages, Ramon Llull (c. 1232 – c. 1315) advanced the concept of preaching to Muslims and converting them to Christianity by means of non-violent argument. A vision for large-scale mission to Muslims would die with him, not to be revived until the 19th Century.

Additional events can be found at the timeline of Christian missions.

During the Middle Ages Christian monasteries and missionaries such as Saint Patrick, and Adalbert of Prague propagated learning and religion beyond the boundaries of the old Roman Empire. In the seventh century Gregory the Great sent missionaries, including Augustine of Canterbury, into England. The Hiberno-Scottish mission began in 563.

This page was last edited on 14 May 2018, at 06:44.
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_mission under CC BY-SA license.

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