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CHAPTER 15

Evangelism and Discipleship: The God Who Calls, the God Who Sends

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Walter Brueggemann

I begin with four affirmations that I will exposit in some detail:

1. The God of the gospel is a God who calls persons and communities to God’s own self, to engage in praise and obedience.

2. The God of the gospel is a God who sends persons and communities to claim many zones of the world for God’s governance of “justice, mercy, and faith” (Matt. 23:23).

3. The God of the gospel lives among and in contestation with many other gods who also call and send, but whose praise and obedience are false, precisely because there is no commitment to “justice, mercy, and faith.”

4. Consequently, the persons and communities called by this God for praise and obedience and sent by this God for justice, mercy, and faith also live among and in contestation with other gods, other loyalties, other authorities. Inescapably, the ones called and sent are always yet again deciding for this one who calls and sends. This endless process of deciding again is accomplished in freedom from all other calling gods and all other sending loyalties. That endless deciding, moreover, requires great passion, imagination, and intentionality.

God Calls

The God of the gospel calls to praise and obedience. This is, we confess, the one true God, who is the giver of all life and who intends that all life should gladly be lived back to God. It is God’s rightful place to invite and expect such a turn back to God in joy and well-being. The characteristic response to the Creator by all creatures is to give praise (that is, exuberant, self- ceding gladness to God), and obedience (that is, active engagement in doing God’s will and making the world to be the creation that God intends). The call of God, in short, is to discipleship, that is, to follow God’s presence and purpose and promise with the disciplines necessary to the project.

1. The God to which the Old Testament bears testimony is a God who calls, who disrupts the lives of settled people, who gives them a vocation that marks life by inconvenience and risk. The ground of the call is the good news of the gospel that God has a powerful intentionality for the world, which, when enacted, will make a decisive difference for good in

Chilcote, P. W., & Warner, L. C. (Eds.). (2008). The study of evangelism : Exploring a missional practice of the church. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. Created from amridge on 2022-10-21 04:02:18.

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the world. Of the Old Testament’s many calls to the disciplines of praise and obedience, I will mention only two.

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