WITNESSING IN WORD AND DEED IN THE CONTEXT OF RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION
by PHILIP TACHIN in Vol. 1 No. 1-2 / Fall 2015
Witnessing in word and deed in the context of religious persecution is a challenge. The issue of “word and deed gospel” concerns not only the living of blameless lives; it also involves extending active love towards unbelievers. To show charity towards a harmless unbeliever is easier than to do the same towards a harmful one. In other words, we are asking, can we truly love a harmful unbeliever to the extent of demonstrating good deeds to him or her, or are we permitted simply to maintain a disposition of non-hatred towards that person? This question can be restated as the questions answered by this research: Is it possible to witness in love by word and deed under religious persecution? What are the theological foundations for “word and deed” evangelism in the context of persecution? What are the preconditions for effective witness under persecution? The argument for the necessity of both word and deed in evangelism is built on the Christological structures of the person and work of Christ and the specific teachings of Christ that our deeds are as critical as our words in the proclamation of the gospel, even in the current context of global religious terrorism. The purpose of this research is to deepen our understanding of the truth that witnessing in word and deed is the most comprehensive evangelistic approach, even in hostile environments. The goal of this perspective is to inspire zeal and courage for a deliberate pursuit of the mission of God until his kingdom is fully realized.