Brand New PAOC Gift Book

Gift book

HIS WITNESSES: Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World. 

The PAOC is releasing a new Gift Book in January 2013 for all credential holders. His Witnesses: Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World is the fifth in our series of books that address the core values we share as the Pentecostal family in Canada. It  focuses on our theological understanding that Jesus’ words for His first followers also apply to us—a conviction that shapes our approach to daily living. Externally, spiritual fusion is the reality of our Canadian culture. There is a “made in Canada” blend of post-secular, postmodern, multi-faith, globally influenced spirituality that generates a far more complex environment in which to be His witnesses than in past decades.

Because context matters in sharing the good news, this book offers a number of illustrations of the challenges and opportunities within certain demographic groups. In the end, what matters more than anything else is the condition of our hearts and the level of our obedience.

Watch your mailbox for this gift book from the International Office.  In the meantime, here is an excerpt from one of the chapters by Murray Cornelius that speaks of sharing our faith in a changing landscape:

When I sit on my front porch, I realize that our Canadian landscape has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. To my left live a young couple from Mainland China along with their parents, who have not yet learned English. To the right are Eastern Europeans of Christian orthodox background. On the corner is a Sikh family, and behind us lives a young Muslim family who enjoyed the recent battle we had with a family of raccoons that moved into our attic. Directly across the street lives the guy with the perfect lawn and the immaculate flower garden. He makes the rest of us look bad. His family is originally from the Caribbean islands. But he seems to be the most “Canadian” of us all as he is the only one who was born here. 

We all live in peace and help each other when needed. We share our garden produce with them. There are not many places in the world where you would find this kind of diversity and people from different backgrounds living in such harmony and with such mutual respect. It is a credit to Canadian multicultural values. 

While the world has changed, my responsibility as a witness for Jesus Christ has not. It is not easy to be a witness, given the diverse backgrounds of the people I encounter. Everyone sees the world differently. Not only do I need greater understanding of their various cultures and religions, but also the illuminating power of God’s Spirit in order to have any meaningful impact. Clarity of presentation and good apologetics alone will never break through spiritual bondage. 

The Great Commission is quite clear. Millions of people stand outside the door, outside of a reconciled relationship with God, because they have not come to the Father through Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life. We are asked to be the messengers of this reconciliation “as though God were making his appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:20). We have good news, and we are told by Jesus to make it known to the ends of the earth.  The “ends of the earth” now live next door and across the street as well as around the world. 

The world has changed, but the eternal word has not … I am to stand at the door with a message that has not changed for over 2,000 years. But knowledge of my message is not enough. While I need to be a theologian, I must also be a cultural expert and a good friend. I can’t simply roll out a canned gospel presentation. I must be authentic and real, or my neighbours won’t listen. 

To give definition to this, I believe we must be “engaged exclusivists” with respect to truth and “socially inclusive” with respect to dialogue and everyday life. I have borrowed these concepts from Timothy Tennent and Miroslav Volf, two preeminent theologians today who speak to the issues of witness and contextualization.[1] 

As an engaged exclusivist, I affirm “the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3). I also recognize that God has placed in all people some idea of His Godhead. As a result, most people in this world are religious and aspire to worship the true God but have not come to know him through Jesus Christ. To be engaged therefore implies theological thought and reflection about other worldviews and religions. To be engaged also suggests dialogue and conversation, relationship and community. One of the most important commitments we can make is to overcome our own ignorance of other worldviews and beliefs. 

My neighbours come with different questions and perspectives on life, so the gospel must be presented in a way that makes sense to their context and worldview. All my neighbours deserve to have their questions heard and their perspectives considered. I must listen to their aspirations and dreams so I can help them find the door that leads to a relationship with the Father

–Murray Cornelius, Assistant Superintendent for International Missions

Excerpt from His Witnesses, Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World, published January 2013. © The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.

[1] Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996).



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