Here is another part of the big Evangelism Paper. It was 19 pages double-spaced so I will release parts of it over the next week or two. This is a short discussion on Modernism and how it has affected the practice of evangelism.
Evangelism and Modernism
Much has been written and said about Modernism and its effects on the modern world. One can trace the roots of modernism to the period of the Enlightenment. But just as with any movement of thought whose effects are felt along a broad range of schools of thought this distinguishment is fluid at best. In terms of its effects on religious experience and the ontological understanding of religion one is met with a number of hurdles to overcome in order to understand modernity as a movement of thought and not the ultimate end of thinking. First, modernism has all but successfully abandoned any conception of history outside of its own. This notion of history has placed humanity front and center in the course of history and has helped humanity enjoy the illusion that it is, indeed, humans that make and can overcome history. This construct of history through the lens of the modernist point of view (many would argue through a purely Kantian point of view) holds the assumption that there is one set of universal and unchangeable principles that govern the affairs of humanity. Many learned scholars will contest the point of modernity was to remove God from the center of the conception of life and replace God with humans. Much time and argument was done by many orthodox Christians at the end of the 19th and early 20th Century as this conception of history took its foothold and science emerged as a conceptual way of understanding life instead of religion. Oddly enough, however, those who argued against the prominence of science and in favor of the providence of God did so (and often continue to do so) through the very same rules of engagement as that of the Kantian modernist. If religion has been taken out of the center of life and pushed to the margins it has, inevitably, become an activity of the individual engaged in by personal choice. By this logic salvation is transformed into an essentially private affair and evangelism, inevitably, becomes a practice based on individual persuasion, an attempt to “make a personal decision for Jesus” or to join the church. One need not go any further than the work and emphasis of televangelists and churches whose evangelical charge is for a “personal decision” in order that one may, for example, “know where they are going when they die.” The irony of the Modern story is that the very groups who fought so voraciously to save religion from the grip of the secular modernist movement have, in the end, given in to the very premise of the movement and taken those premises to their logical conclusion.
 Pacini, David. “The Cunning of Modern Religious Thought” (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1986) p. 89
 Ibid, 94-95
 Abraham, William. “The Logic of Evangelism” (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989) p. 188
 Stone, Bryan. Evangelism After Christendom: The Theology and Practice of Christian. (Brazos Press: Grand Rapids Michigan, 2007) p. 138