WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT IN EVANGELISATION?
By J.N.M. Wijngaards, mhm, in Service and Salvation, Nagpur Theological Conference on Evangelisation, ed. J. Pathraponkal, Bangalore TPI, 1973, pgs 133-147
The Risen Lord, before He was taken up to heaven said to “his apostles:
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses, not only in Jerusalem, but throughout Judea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1,8)
The formulation of the Lord’s commission is typically Lucan. The central position of Jerusalem in salvation history figures as one of the principal themes in Luke’s gospel. Jesus brought his great sacrifice in Jerusalem (Lk 9, 31). His whole life was oriented towards this task in Jerusalem (Lk 9, 51-19, 48). Small wonder that the message of salvation necessarily had to take its beginning from Jerusalem (cf. also Lk 24, 47).1 As Christ had broken the bread for the first time in Jerusalem (Lk 22, 19), so the Church needed to take its beginning in Jerusalem when they had recognized the Lord in the breaking of the bread (cf. Lk 24,30-33).2 Stress on the necessity of the Spirit,3 and the universal purpose of God’s redemption,4 correspond equally well with the basic theses of Luke’s gospel. The words: ‘to the ends of the earth’ is a Lucan interpretation of the phrase ‘to all nations’ (Lk 24, 47) in the sense of the Old Testament prophecy of Is 49, 6 (cf. Acts 13, 47).5 Also the expression that the apostles are to be Christ’s ‘witnesses’ is characteristically Lucan, with the use of a term that is clearly not Aramaic but Greek in origin.6 Even the setting of the evangelizing commission just before the ascension would seem to owe its origin to Luke’s theological presentation: Christ’s ascension to heaven is depicted to express his lordship over the whole Church and over every part of the universe, and so marks the beginning of the Church.7 In other words, the formulation of the Lord’s command in Acts 1, 8 must be ascribed to Luke himself; Luke rephrased the command of Christ in his own words.8
It is not my intention to enter into the question as to whether the Risen Christ himself explicitly formulated the universal mission of the Church, or whether He left the explicitation of the mission to the enlightened minds of his apostles.9 In either case the evangelists could rightly attribute the commission to Christ Himself. Of importance to the reflections I want to make is the fact that, whatever the genesis of the command, the formulation of it in Acts 1, 8 was of Luke’s own making. If so, it must have been a formulation that was relevant to Luke’s audience. Luke surely chose these words because they could be understood by his Greek convert readers, because they contained a meaningful message for them.
In this light it seems to me of particular interest that Luke states that the apostles could be witnesses only after they had received the Holy Spirit. Luke underlines this again when re- counting the events of Pentecost (Acts 2,1-41): the testimony of the apostles is supported by the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. The apostles testified while they were “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2,4), and this led to so many being convinced by their arguments (Acts 2,41). As Luke was undoubtedly speaking in terms that were taken from his own experience and that of his early Christian audience, we may suppose that “being filled with the Holy Spirit” (cf. also Acts 6,3; 7,55; 11,24) was a discernible property for them. We are thus justified to ask: how could the early Christians recognize whether or not a person was “filled with the Holy Spirit”? How did this presence of the Spirit make itself felt in the testimony of the disciples? Is this presence of the Spirit something we have overlooked in our own approach to evangelization?
Inadequate concepts of evangelization
Traditionally we have come to understand the work of evangelization as the combined work of the human evangelizer and God. The evangelizer provides the external word of preaching. God moves the heart internally by grace. It is considered the task of the apostle to preach and teach. The apostle acts as announcer of the good tidings, as witness and as educator. He is also God’s counsel of defence against prejudices and misunderstandings. It is up to him to support Christ’s claims by adducing convincing arguments: Christ’s miracles and resurrection (the so-called ‘historical way’ of apologetics) or the distinguishing marks of the Church (the ’empirical way’). It is, however, readily admitted that all this work of preaching and witnessing will be doomed to failure without God’s compelling action within the soul of the hearer.
It is logical that according to this concept of evangelization, failure can only result from either inefficiency in the preaching (“How can they believe, if they have not heard?”, Rom 10, 14) from a denial of grace on the part of God (“He has mercy on whomsoever He wills”, Rom 9, 15), or from stubbornness on the part of the hearer of the Word (“Lord, how many believed what we proclaimed?”, Rom 10; 16). However, experience in the missionary field throws doubt on the accuracy of this analysis. Quite frequently we have no reason to accuse the non-Christian of a lack of readiness to believe. Still less would it be acceptable to think that God “who wants all men to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2, 4), were to withhold the necessary grace. Moreover, often it seems that we have done everything possible to make our preaching really cogent, and, humanly speaking, there does not seem anything more that we could do. And yet, in spite of the theory, we fail to make our listeners accept the gospel message. How to explain this, failure? Should we blame socio-economic conditions, or other external circumstances? Are we entitled to question whether the Kingdom of God was literally meant to embrace all nations and all individuals, and so question the evangelizing commission itself? 10
I believe that down-to-earth missionary experience would indicate that the failure seems to lie somewhere in the process of evangelization itself. Often we are morally sure that the enquirers – who lack a life of prayer, or a vision that makes life ultimately meaningful, or that revelation of love that becomes ours in Christ – would greatly benefit from the gospel message; often, in fact, we may know they need and secretly long for the redeeming incorporation in Christ. And yet, we fail to convince them. The reason seems to be a deficiency in our witness itself: not in its human efficiency, but in the absence of a compelling divine testimony.
Our traditional concept postulated the distinction between the period of revelation, closed at the death of the last apostle, and the period of evangelization. As far as the completion of the deposit of faith goes, this distinction is valid enough. But as to the process of evangelization, it may have introduced an unwarranted separation between God’s revelation and the preaching of the Church. The hearer of the good tidings cannot be convinced by mere human preaching. “Why did God reveal Himself to the Jews and not to us?” “If Christ expects me to believe, why does He not show me the signs He showed to the apostles? Vox populi vox Dei. The enquirer of today requires a real revelation of God. As one hesitant enquirer put it to me: “I have the right to know that it is truly God who is speaking to me. I am waiting for God to reveal Himself to me.”
Is this such an unreasonable request? An eminent Catholic theologian reminds us:
“Revelation, which is no revelation in my own consciousness, is no revelation for me, even if it would be this a thousand times over for others. If revelation by God is to have real sense; if I intend to express by this term that I have clearly come to know that it is God I am dealing with, God Himself must be ‘revealed’ to my consciousness, by whatever experience or event this may take place.”11
God’s revelation should be accompanied by signs. Even scholastic theology demanded real miracles for the credibility or revelation.
But if this is true, what are the miracles and the signs required to make our testimony – i.e. God’s revelation – credible to the enquirer of today? How can it really become God’s revelation to him? An argument based on miracles that happened thousands of years ago or on characteristics of a Church that is foreign and unknown to the hearer, certainly does not suffice to become the sign of God’s active presence.12
Reflection on our evangelistic experience encourages us to penetrate further into Acts 1,8 and related texts. Is a recognizable presence of the Holy Spirit in the evangelizer the aspect we have overlooked in our concept of evangelization? Could the action of the Holy Spirit be that sign by which our testimony be- comes a real revelation of God to present-day enquirers?
God’s way of revealing Himself
Before we go any further it is necessary to remind ourselves of the fact that we have to distinguish God’s actual self-revelation from two separate channels through which this revelation comes to man: the word of the messenger and the signs of divine intervention. Study of the Scriptures indicates a constant pattern: through the very human, yet inspired teaching of the messenger (element one: the word) the believer is made to see God’s self- revelation (element two: the revealed contents) in events relevant to his life (element three: the sign).
This pattern may be illustrated in the so-called “deuteronomistic history”, the long history of Israel that began with the book of deuteronomy and that also comprised the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings.13 The whole purpose of the history is to underscore God’s claim on being the suzerain of Israel. Yahweh has the right to Israel’s undivided loyalty (Is 6, 4-9; 10, 12-13; Jos 24, 14-15; 1 Sam 12, 20-25; etc.).14 God’s concern for Israel is, however, shown by his interventions in war and politics. God is experienced as the one “who fights for Israel” (Dt 20, 4; Jos 23, 10) and who “liberates Israel from every oppressor” (Judg 6,7-10; 10, 11-14; 1 Sam 12, 6-11; etc.). God’s punishments are felt in military defeats and eventually in exile (Judg 2, 14-15; 2 Kgs 17, 5-18; etc.). This has not to be understood as if God were really interested in war and politics as such. Rather, political freedom was the relevant context in which God’s salvific presence could be understood by the Israelites of that time. Victories won under Yahweh’s guidance or defeats experienced as his punishments, became the signs by which Israel could recognize God’s revelation. 15 These signs were accompanied and explicitated by the incessant preaching of the prophets. The deuteronornistic historians constantly underline that it was God’s word, spoken by his prophets, which ruled and interpreted history. l6
The deuteronomistic writing of history arose from the theological reflection of reformers in the last centuries before the fall of Jerusalem. These men were both believers and realists. They did not fail to recognise the important role exercised by human mediators such as Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Elijah and others. Yet, in their inspired analysis of revelation they kept stressing Israel’s experience of God’s active presence in relevant political and military events. God’s ‘observable’ action in history forced the believer to surrender in faith: “Of all the promises Jahweh had made, not one has failed … ” (Jos 23, 14); “What You promised by your mouth, You carried out by your hand” (1 Kgs 8,24).
In Jesus’ revelation we may discern the same pattern. True, Jesus’ preaching itself is an eschatological sign demanding belief on its own strength (Mk 8, 11-13; Mt 10, 14-15). Yet, Jesus ‘proved’ the divine presence by the miraculous healings He performed. “If you don’t believe Me, believe at least the works that I do” (Jn 10, 25.38; 5, 36; cf. Mt 9, 6; 12, 28; etc.), Nor is it without reason that the signs He performs are mainly cures and healings. Again we would misunderstand revelation if we were to think that by these signs God manifested his interest in medicine as such. Rather, to Jesus’ contemporaries these signs were particularly relevant and would effectively convey the message that He was sent to “take our sicknesses and carry our diseases” (Mt 8, 17). Jesus proved that “God was with Him” by “curing all who had fallen into the power of the devil” and by rising from the dead (Acts 10, 37-42). Through these signs the good news brought by Jesus (Acts 10, 36), namely that “all will have their sins forgiven through his name” (Acts 10, 43), could truly be accepted as a revelation from God.
God’s revelation contains more than a word announced by his messenger. The word is accompanied and supported by God’s visible presence in signs that are relevant to the contemporaries of the messenger. For the Israelites of old God’s revelation was made tangible by His interventions in war. For Jesus’ contemporaries God’s saving action spoke convincingly from Jesus’ dominion over sickness and death. Has no provision been made by God for such tangible signs of his revelation today? Did the birth of the Church eliminate any further attempt on God’s part to make his presence felt in deeds relevant to men of later times? Have the later “heirs of the Kingdom” been given no more compelling evidence than the external word (whether contained in the Scriptures or preached by the Church) and the inner promptings of grace?
Discovering God’s pattern of revelation adds another reason to study carefully whether the presence of the Spirit, as postulated in Acts I, 8 and elsewhere, may not be a far more weighty element in evangelization than has been admitted so far in our day-to-day theology.’ Could it be that this “fulness of the Spirit” should function as the observable sign that makes God present to the hearers of the word?
Jesus’ self-revelation to every believer
It would seem that the New Testament does teach in unmistakable terms that the presence of God (and of Christ) remains a ‘visible’, ‘observable’, ‘palpable’, ‘demonstrable’ fact through the action of the Spirit. The work of the Spirit, mainly by diffusing super-human charity in us, should be, for every believer, the sign of Christ’s presence and the medium of his self-revelation.
John is not tired of repeating that, even after the exaltation of the Lord, we can have a true and direct experience of Christ. We recognise Christ’s presence in us by the fact that our lives have been filled with a new, extraordinary love. Our obedience to Christ demands selfless, boundless love for the neighbour. This love, springing as it does from the fulness of God in us, transforms us into something ‘demonstrably’ higher than what we naturally could be. To ourselves and to others it thus becomes obvious that Christ’s Spirit is living in us.
“His commandments are these: that we believe … and love one another as He told us to. Whoever keeps his commandments lives in God and God lives in him. We know that He (i.e. God) lives in us by the Spirit that He has given us (i.e. by the transformation of charity).” (1 Jn 3, 23-24).
“As long as we love one another, God will live in us and his love will be complete in us. We can know that we are living in Him and He is living in us because He lets us share his Spirit”. (1 Jn 4, 12-13).
John says that we can ‘know’ God’s presence in us. For the early Christians this experience of the Spirit, and through the Spirit of Christ, must have been a palpable reality. It was not something vague or mystical, but a fact, observed in the change of attitudes and habits affecting one’s life. It was the distinguishing mark by which one knew one belonged to Christ:
“Unless you possessed the Spirit of Christ you would not belong to Him … Everyone moved by the Spirit is a son of God. The Spirit you received .. .is the spirit of sons, and it makes us cry: ‘Abba, Father! “The Spirit Himself and our spirit bring united witness that we are children of God … ” (Rom 8, 14-16)
“I believe nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord … All I want is to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and to share in his sufferings by reproducing the pattern of his death … ” (Phil 3, 8. 10)
One should notice that this ‘knowledge’ of Christ was for Paul a deeply religious experience: it was embedded both in his prayer and his action. It was a knowledge that came from ‘living in Christ’ and ‘sharing in his Spirit’ (cf. Phil 2, 1).
In the discourses of the last supper Christ precisely promised to remain with us in this very tangible presence of his Spirit.
“I will ask the Father and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever: that Spirit of truth, whom the world can never receive, since it neither sees nor knows Him. But you know Him, because He is with you. He is in you.” (In 14, 16-17)
Even after his exaltation Christ will remain with us in a ‘visible’ manner. That is the time when the world will no longer see Him, but the disciples will:
“I will not leave you orphans. I will come back to you. In a short time the world will no longer see Me; but you will see Me because I live and you will live” (In 14, 18-19)
We may not restrict this “seeing of the Lord” to the apparitions during the days following immediately on the resurrection. Christ is referring to the whole new dispensation that would take its beginning after his return to the Father.
“On that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in Me and I in you.” (Jn 14, 20)
The knowledge the disciples will have, will not be theoretical or speculative: they will have experiential knowledge of the presence of the Father and the Son. Christ then continues to explain in what this experiential knowledge will actually consist: it will be the awareness of the new life of love and charity that elevates a person above himself.
“Anyone who receives my commandments (i.e. of love; cf. Jn 13,34; 15, 12) and keeps them, will be one who loves Me. And anyone who loves Me will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him and reveal Myself to him.” (Jn 14,21)
The analysis of the above texts shows clearly that believers in the eschatological era are not deprived of a direct revelation from Christ (“I will reveal Myself to him”). The preaching of God’s word that comes to us through the Scriptures and through the ministry of the Church is accompanied and supported by the manifestation of the Spirit who works miracles in our hearts. By this Spirit of charity that transforms us, Christ manifests Himself to us. By it we know that He is in us and we in Him.
It is beyond the scope of this paper to elaborate this point further. But it seems to me that a psychological examination of our Christian experience confirms this truth. However much we may have neglected to search for Christ’s presence in our life, and however much our institutionalised approach may have made us insensitive to the workings of the Spirit, all of us will remember those moments in our life when we went “beyond ourselves” in a real act of charity or generosity.17 On reflection we will find that these moments have had a decisive influence on our attitudes and convictions. They have been moments of real experiential knowledge of Christ and his Spirit.
Our findings about Christ’s ‘visible’ presence in us and his self-revelation to every believer, also confirm once more that we will have to give real importance to the presence of the Spirit in evangelization. If the action of the Spirit is so important to the individual believer, it is not difficult to understand its role in the first acceptance of faith. Here again we find explicit confirmation in the New Testament.
After Peter had proclaimed the good news to Cornelius (Acts 10, 34-43), the Holy Spirit came down on the listeners. It was this element that convinced both the new converts and the missionaries that the moment for baptism had come (Acts 10, 44- 48). Paul refers to the same experience of the Spirit, when he writes to the newly converted Galatians:
“Was it by practising the law (of Moses) that you received the Spirit, or because you believed (the message of Christ) that was preached to you?” (Gal 3, 2)
The new Christians believed not only, and not in the first place, because of the arguments adduced in favour of Jesus’ claim on divinity: his miracles, his resurrection and the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy in his life. They believed because they experienced the power of the Spirit (1 Cor 2, 4). With Paul they could say:
“These are the very things God has revealed to us through the Spirit, for the Spirit reaches the depths of everything, even of God….. We have received the Spirit that comes from God, to teach us to understand the gifts He has given us”. (1 Cor 2, IQ. 12)
Questions that need further study
I believe that the reflections that have been made so far evoke some further questions in the more practical field of evangelization:
(a) How can the “witness of the Spirit” be more directly incorporated in the field of evangelization?
It is far from me to suggest an escape into superficial ‘pentecostal’ practices. But it is my sincere conviction that a new appreciation of the role of the Spirit should lead to tangible and ‘structural’ expression in our actual apostolate. The felt need of the preaching of the external word has led to establishing a worldwide congregation for the evangelization of peoples, to the foundation of missionary societies, to regular collections for the missions, etc. Recognition of the need of interior grace resulted in associations of prayer and in many forms of intercession. In its undying youth the Church has always been able to give concrete expression to its convictions and the needs of the times. It is of prophetic importance that the Second Vatican Council gave due attention to this testimony of the Spirit and of charity in its decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity (Ad Gentes, no 12). This is, however, only the beginning and should be followed by a thorough re-thinking of our theological persuasions and their practical consequences.
One of these consequences may be that we should aim at a different image for the priest. Instead of over-stressing his liturgical and administrational leadership, the Church should find practical ways of expressing once more the priest’s role as “educators in the faith”, as persons able to make others experience God’s revelation:
“As educators in the faith priests must see to it, either by themselves or through others, that the faithful are led individually in the Holy Spirit to a development of their own vocation as required by the gospel, to a sincere and active charity, and to that freedom with which Christ has made us free. Ceremonies however beautiful; or associations however flourishing will be of little value if they are not directed toward educating men in the attainment of Christian maturity.” (Presbyter. Ord., no 6).
Other consequences that suggest themselves would be: that the Church should once more be lived as a truly ‘spiritual’ community, as “the household of God in the Spirit” (Eph 2, 19-22; Lumen Gentium, no 6); that more scope should be given to charisms in the apostolate, with the true “freedom of the Spirit who breathes where He wills” On (Jn 3, 8; cf. Apostolicam Actuositatem, no 3); that the catechumenate should be restored as a true initiation in a profound life of faith and love in preparation for the reception of the Spirit (Ad Gentes, no 14); that Christian worship should again be the spontaneous and natural expression of thanksgiving to God “for his unspeakable gift in Christ Jesus” (2 Cor 9, 15; Sacrosanctum Concilium, no 6).
b) What should be the relationship between Christian Caritas and this (testimony of the Spirit’?
In Ad Gentes no 12 the Church has expressed clearly that there can be no clash between the exercise of Christian charity and evangelization, Christian service, in the field of medicine, education, leadership training, and socio-economic development, flows from the Christian’s duty to love his neighbour and to rebuild the world, These works have to be undertaken for the values they contain in themselves and not as a means of proselitization. If seen in their proper perspective as an expression of God’s charity in signs relevant to contemporary man, these services, even and especially if they are an expression of non-calculating, non-proselitizing service, will – almost paradoxically – play a far greater role in evangelization than is indicated by the recent terms ‘indirect evangelization’ or ‘pre-evangelization’.
But it is here that the practical question arises. The tendency today seems to be to separate intentionally the exercise of these services from one’s Christian witness. Many development agencies have the outspoken policy to present their contributions in purely human and secular terms. The reasons for this tendency lie in the desire to portray a truly selfless image and to facilitate cooperation with government institutions and other secular organizations. However, the Church and the individual Christian cannot surrender their motivation so easily. Christian charity differs fundamentally from a purely humanitarian involvement because it finds the origin of its love in God.18
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes in you, and then you will be my witnesses … to the ends of the earth.”
Many authors have recently reiterated the Church’s duty to evangelise.19 The implication seems to be that there is a danger of a loss of interest or commitment to the missionary task. Personally I do not believe that there is such a loss of interest or commitment on a large scale. Evangelization belongs so essentially to the nature of the church that it will never lose sight of it. I rather think that hesitancy and confusion arise from a justified feeling that our approach in evangelization should be renewed Luke, when transmitting Our Lord’s great commission to his hearers, formulated it in terms meaningful to them. This is the task before theologians and preachers today. Christians and pastors today, need to learn again, in terms meaningful to our world, how they ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’ can be witnesses of Christ to the ends of the earth.
- J. JERVELL, “Das gespaltene Israel und die Heidenvolker. Zur Motivierung der Heidenmission in der Apostelgeschichte,” StudTh 19 (1965) pgs. 68-96.
- M. BRäNDLE, “Auferstehung jesu nach Lukas,” Orientierung 24 (1960) pgs. 85-89.
- J. GNILKA, “Der Missionsauftrag des Herrn nach Mt. 28 und Apg_ 1,” BibLeb 9 (1968) pgs. 1-9.
- P. HEBBLETHWAITE, “Theological Themes in the Lucan Post-Resurrection Narratives,’ CleRev 50 (1965) pgs. 360- 369.
- ]. DUPONT, “Le Salut des Gentils et le livre des Acres,” NTStud 6 (1959/60) pgs. 132-155; esp. 140-141.
- H. STRATHMANN, ‘martureim’, ThWNT wol. IV, English Edition, Grand Rapids 1967, pgs. 474-514; esp. 492-494.
- P. BENOIT, “L’Ascensiondu Christ,” RB 56 (1049) pgs. 161-203; G. WILSON, The Ascension: a critique and an interpretation, ZNTW 59 (1968) pgs. 269-281; J. BLENKINSOPP, “The Ascensions as Mystery of Salvation,” CleRev 50 (1965) pgs. 369-374.
- It is worthwhile noting that the ‘great commission’ has also in the accounts of the other gospels been formulated in the distinctive themes of the respective evangelist. For 28, 16-20 cf.: R.e. TUCK, “The Lord Who Said Go: Some Reflections on Matthew 28,16-20,” AndNewtQuart 7 (1966) pgs. 85-92; G BAUMBACH, “Die Mission in Mathaus- Evangelium,” ThLZ 92 (1967) pgs. 889-893. For Mk 16, 9-20, cf. F. Wagenaars, “Structura Litteraria et Momentum Theologicum Pericopae Mc 16,9-20,” VerbDom 45 (1967) pgs. 19-22;, E. LINNEMANN, “Der ‘wiedergefundene’ Markusschluss,” ZThK 66 (1969) pgs. 255-287. Also In 20,21 uses characteristically johannine terminology.
- The trend of thought seems to veer to the latter opinion cf. D BOSCH Die Heidenmission in der Zukunftschau Jesu, Zurich 1959, esp. pgs. 184-192; F. HAHN, Das Verständnis der Mission im neuen Testament, Neukirchen 1963; Engl. Ed Mission in the New Testament, London 1965, esp. pgs. 48-58; U. LUCK, “Herrenwort und Geschichte in Matth 28, 16-20,” EvTh 27 (1967) pgs, 494-508.
- One such view is the contention that Mt. 28, 16-20 should be understood not as a mission of universal extent, but as requiring Christians to make disciples ‘wherever they happen to be’, cf. R.D. CULVER, “What is the Church’s Commission? Some Exegetical Issues in Matthew 28: 16-20,” BullEvThSoo 10 (1967) pgs. 115-126.
- W.H. van de POL, Het Voortbestaan van Kerk en Christendom, Roermond 1970, pg. 133 (the translation of the passage is my own). See also: L. MONDEN, Faith: Can Man Still Believe? New York, 1969, pgs. 2.3-36.
- I do not wish to deny the importance of historical testimony. Such historical witness of what Jesus said and did is precisely part of the “word” that is a necessary element in God’s revelation.
- M. NOTH, Uberlieferungsgeschichtliche Studiem, vol. 1 Halle 1943; Tűbimgem 1957.
- N. LOHFINK, Das Hauptgebot. Eine Untersucbung litera- rischer Einleitungs-fragem zu Dtn 5-11, Rome 1963; Id., “Bilanz nach der Katastrophe. Das deuteronomistische Ges- chichtswerk,” in Wort und Botschaft, ed. J. SCHREINER, Wiirzburg 1967, pgs. 196-208.
- N. K. GOTTWALD, “Holy War” in Deuteronomy. Analysis and Critique,” Rev Expos 61 (1964) pgs. 296-310.
- G. von RAD, Deuteronomium Studien, Stuttgart 1948; Engl. Ed., Studies in Deuteronomy, London 1953, esp. pgs. 78-84.
- I admit that there is a real danger of self-deception here. Nothing is so difficult as a true ‘discernment of the spirit’, Moreover, even charitable deeds may find their source in a purely human feeling of concern. We enter here the realm of the function of a religious ‘sign’. The Old Testament victories and the cures done by Jesus were also, objectively speaking, open to purely secular interpretations. It is only in the total religious context, within the experience of God’s invitation reaching out to us, that the sign itself can be fully appreciated and recognised as a sign.
- cf. J. NEUNER, “Das christliche Zeugnis,” in Mission nach dem Konzil, Mainz 1967, ed. J. Schűtte; Dutch transl. De Missionierende Kerk, Hilversum 1968, pgs. 180-200.
- Some examples are:
H. van STRAELEN, The Catholic Encounter with World Religions, London 1966;
J. R. W. STOTT, “The Great Commission,” Christ Today 12 (1968) pgs. 723-725; 778-782; 826-829.