From the Editor

Evangelism on Stage

The other night, I had the wonderful pleasure of seeing an extraordinary stage play entitled, “Come From Away.” It was based on the remarkable true story of how residents of the small town of Gander, Newfoundland, hosted 6,700 unexpected visitors from the sky when their commercial airliners were grounded for several days in the aftermath of 9/11.

On stage, and in the midst of great music, acting, singing, and choreography, I witnessed a surprising and heartfelt tribute to The Salvation Army. In response to the crisis, uniformed soldiers had apparently housed, fed, and comforted busloads of world travelers who were confused and worried about their future.

There I was, seated in a secular theater, listening to actors on stage quote Scripture as they reenacted a time when Christians stepped up and made a difference. I thought, am I watching evangelism simultaneously played out on stage and in real life?    

When the word evangelical is used these days, it is usually in the context of a political debate, rather than a spiritual outreach. The phrase “Evangelical Christian” is rarely heard anymore.

Evangelical actually comes from the Greek word evangelion, which means good news or gospel. Historians believe that William Tyndale, a leader in the Protestant reformation, was the first to coin the English word, evangelical. In 1531, Tyndale wrote in a commentary on the book of John, “He exhorteth them to proceed constantly in the evangelical truth.”

In our next issue, we’ll examine evangelical truth in light of today’s world and take a thoughtful look at how Salvationists continue to advance it.

From the Army’s National Seminar on Evangelism, to the Army historically, which has been on the cutting edge of strategic evangelism, we’ll explore how believers are sharing Christ on the stage of life.

— Warren L. Maye, Editor in Chief