Is church for evangelism?

I wonder if Tony Payne has created a reductionist focus in pointing the church to act like a “fellowship of the redeemed” when it gathers (Briefing #362, ‘Is church for evangelism?’). In the descriptive ministry of Jesus, he turned effortlessly to the mix of his listeners (Luke 12). Paul could ask his readers to “examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith” (2 Cor 13:5).

The assembly is always going to be a mixed gathering, and the pastoral role is to know that “faith comes from hearing” (Rom 10:17)—sometimes saving faith and sometimes growing faith.

True, it would be a pity to treat the believers as unbelievers (or the unbelievers as believers), but all can be exhorted to focus on Christ. Let’s not call the two-edged church a single blade, or ask the saints to look ‘in’ but not ‘out’ in their pastoral work. A single focus may be assuming a pure church too soon.

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