A Biblical Foundation for Evangelism

A Biblical Foundations for Evangelism: From Genesis to Revelation

Fr. Luke A. Veronis


All Children of God

What is the first mention of a “spirit of missions” in the Bible?

When this question is asked to many Orthodox Christians, including clergy, the most common response is the Great Commission. “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And remember, I will be with you, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

This commandment, however, is only one teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He offered to His disciples at the end of His earthly ministry. Throughout His life many of His teachings, and in fact, His Incarnation itself, all point to “the spirit of missions,” the spirit to share His good news and to spread His unconditional love and salvation to all people everywhere.

What is surprising for many people, however, is that this universal concern for all people everywhere did not begin in the New Testament. Since God’s nature cannot change, a universal concern and spirit that seems abundantly apparent in the New Testament should be evident in the Old Testament as well. In fact, when one examines the Old Testament carefully, and looks at the overarching perspective of the Almighty and Universal Yahweh, the witness of a “spirit of missions” become clearer.

Let us begin by looking at the creation of the first man and woman, and from them, the beginning of all nations. Read Genesis chapters 1-3 and ask yourself, “What significance do these chapters have in relationship to the missionary mandate of the Church?”

When we remind ourselves that all people come from Adam and Eve, and that all people in every nation are God’s beloved children, than we understand how we are brothers and sisters with one another. We are “our brother’s keeper!” We have a responsibility for the other. The “other” is not my enemy, “my hell” as the atheistic philosopher Satre once stated. The “other” is a part of me, he is my family member, “the other is my salvation” as the Church Fathers would say.

What implication does this hold for the Church and missions? How can the Church stay indifferent to people around the world when we know they are our brothers and sisters? Is it possible to not have a burning desire to share the good that we have discovered with those who have never heard? If we truly see the “other” in Africa, in Asia, in Muslim lands, in atheistic countries, and even in our own secular country as our true family members, than we will surely make it a priority, an essential part of who we are and what we do, to share the greatest treasure of faith with them!

Beginning with the first chapters of Genesis, we understand clearly that our faith should never possess a parochial, close-minded, limited mentality. We should never see the world as “us verses them,” whoever “them” might be. How often we try to separate the world – into Orthodox vs. non-Orthodox Christians, Christians vs. non-Christians, true believers vs. non-believers, or some other ethnic, social, or religious distinction. We must all begin by seeing ourselves as a part of the same family.

Archbishop Anastasios of Albania says, “A Christian should never have enemies. The Church has no enemies… Never call someone a bad communist, a bad atheist, a bad ‘so-and-so.’ All people have the image of God in them, and they are all children of God.”

From the beginning of Scripture, we see the need to develop a universal mindset. All people are God’s children, and deserve to experience His love to the fullest! For sure, we may identify with certain people more closely (i.e. Greek Orthodox with Greek Orthodox, or Orthodox with Orthodox, or Christian with Christian, or American with American), but we must realize and discover that we have something in common with all people everywhere. Humanity is our family and we are called to discover the bonds that draw us together!

Don’t be afraid of those who are different than ourselves. We can learn from everyone, and be enriched by all peoples and cultures, no matter how strange they may initially appear! Unhealthy fundamentalism is based on fear – fear of “the other,” fear of those different than ourselves (whether in belief, in custom, in practice, etc). The healthy perspective of Orthodoxy sees the other as our beloved sibling.

Receive Blessings to Offer Blessings – Genesis 12

One of the greatest examples of a missionary spirit in the Old Testament comes when God calls Abraham in a special way. Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen 12:1-3)

First, we see God calling Abram to leave his country, his family, and all that is familiar to him, and go to an unknown land. Sure, it is a radical calling, and yet from this early in the Scriptures, we see that following God demands a spirit of abandon, an openness to overcome reason and follow God wherever He calls. The person demanding earthly security, safeguards, and assurance will never have the courage to be a faithful follower of God. Abraham understood that ultimately, the greatest security comes from living in the will of God, from obeying God’s call in our lives, and going wherever He leads.

The readiness to follow God wherever He calls is a beginning, but for what purpose?

God makes an incredible promise to Abraham in this calling. “Go… and I will make of you a great nation.” Such a promise holds a serious responsibility. Christ said, “To whom much is given, much is required.” This maxim hold no less truth in the Old Testament as in the New Testament. The Lord promises that Abraham will become a great nation, and will receive His blessing, SO THAT “you will be a blessing… and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

This great nation that begins with Abraham holds the grave responsibility of blessing all the families of the earth. Israel was not to view the other nations as enemies, as pagans or “kindle for the fire.” Instead, God expected them to see the pagan nations as people in need of God’s blessing. Israel was to be that instrument in God’s hand to bless!

We can see this responsibility to bless repeated two other times in Genesis. “I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven, and will give to your offspring all these lands; and all the nations of the earth shall gain blessing for themselves through your offspring.” (Gen 26:4) “Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring.” (Gen 28:14)

The Lord Almighty emphasizes this responsibility years later, in the Mosaic covenant, right before He gives the Israelites the Law and Ten Commandments. “Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. (Ex 19:5-6) What implication does God make when He calls Israel a kingdom of priests?

Priests do not have a responsibility only for themselves. A priest represents God, as well as leads the people towards God. If the nation of Israel is the priest, who are they leading towards God? Obviously, Israel serves as a priest to the nations, blessing the world and leading the other nations towards God.

Being chosen by God offers a great blessing, but also carries a tremendous responsibility! Here is our great temptation and danger – to allow our ego to simply enjoy blessings, and keep them for ourselves. Such egocentrism is an abomination in the eyes of God. We must share His blessings with others, with all! This is our responsibility!

A Universal Vision for God’s Glory – the psalms

“Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage.” (Psalm 2:8)

“The earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it.” (Psalm 24:1)

“I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in all the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)

“Declare his glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples.” (Psalm 96:3)

“All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God” (Psalm 98:3)

“Praise the Lord all you nations! Extol him all you peoples.” (Psalm 117:1)

“Let everything that breathes praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150:6)

The Psalms, the prayer book of the Old Testament, offer a very comprehensible global vision for God’s glory. One cannot read the Psalms without getting a sense of God’s concern for the entire universe. “Let everything that breathes praise the Lord.” No one can limit God’s concern, interest, and love for all nations, all peoples, all the ends of the earth. How can we pray the Psalms without seeing this universal vision?

No parochial worldview that worries only about ethnocentric issues, or is only concerned with our local parish, or even solely our problems of America can be in line with the ecumenical and universal spirit of the Psalms.

We even see a similarity with the Abrahamic blessing in Psalm 67. Each evening, we Orthodox offer the Compline Service as a prayer before we retire for the night. This beautiful service includes a blessing from Psalm 67. “May God bless you and be gracious to you, may His face shine upon you and have mercy on you.” As Archbishop Anastasios has noted, the blessing unfortunately does not include the second verse of Psalm 67, which states, “that your way may be known upon the earth, your saving power among all nations.” (Ps 67:2)

When one reads the second verse in conjunction with the first, we see once again how God blesses us with a purpose, so that we may take His blessing and make it known upon the earth and among all nations!


Throughout the Old Testament, Israel forgets its responsibility to be a “light to the nations,” but remembers solely that it is the chosen people of God. Keeping the blessing but ignoring the responsibility is a common fault of humankind, on an individual or community basis. The Lord tries to remind Israel of its privilege and responsibility by sending prophets. We can see a powerful example of this in Isaiah.

The book of Isaiah begins with the prophet standing before the heavenly throne of God, communing with the Divine. Isaiah hears the angelic voices singing the thrice holy hymn. He sees the seraphim attending to God. Heavenly smoke covers the throne of God, and Isaiah understands that before the Lord, he is but dust and ashes. “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

God comforts this typical response of the saints when they come into contact with the divine, by cleansing Isaiah from all impurity. Once He blesses the prophet in this manner, he immediately expects a response. We are blessed in order to bless others! So the Lord says, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”

Isaiah immediately responds, “Here am I; send me!”

Synergy with God reflects an important aspect of our Orthodox theology. Our Lord looks for hands and feet who will go to proclaim His message. “Whom shall I send and who will go for us?” is a question for every generation of believers. Too often, however, many faithful of God ignore this calling, thinking that someone else will respond. Who is ready to say, with Isaiah, “Here am I. Send me!”

Isaiah did respond positively, and as a result, God filled him with a vision not only for his own people, but for the entire universe! No ethnocentrism can be found in Isaiah’s call. “I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeons, from the prison those who sit in darkness.” (Isa 42:6-7)

“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” (Isa 49:6)

Too often we limit God’s vision with our own prejudiced visions. We attempt too little for God Almighty. We hear in Isaiah a condemnation of any sense of ethnocentrism, a call which the other prophets repeat. God is calling His people to a larger role than only to our own nation and our own people. This is a message just as relevant today, as it was for the people of God thousands of years ago!


To fulfill God’s mission, He even uses servants who seem unwilling and unfit. Take Jonah the Prophet. From childhood, many have read about Jonah and the Whale, but have we understood the missiological principles which this story reveals?

It is noteworthy, first of all, to understand how God called Jonah the Jew to preach in the pagan city of Nineveh! No ethnocentrism seen here as God desires the repentance of the enemy capital city of the Jews. Most people would not blame the unwillingness of Jonah, but would be surprised by the expectations of God. Why be concerned about the enemy? Most Israelite of that time would rejoice if God condemned and destroyed the Ninevites! Despite Jonah’s initial disobedience and lack of love for the “other,” it is important to note how God uses imperfect instruments for His purposes. Even a prophet or a holy person may be limited in their worldview and may still maintain some deep rooted prejudice.

As we all know, Jonah tries to run away from God, going in the opposite direction of Nineveh. Through several miraculous events, including the swallowing of Jonah by a large fish, Jonah comes to his senses. He hears God’s call a second time, “The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord.” (Jonah 3:1-2)

The preaching of Jonah produces great success, with the king down to the lowest person repenting in ashes and sackcloth. One would think that such a positive result would gladden the heart of Jonah, but the story concludes with Jonah pouting outside the city walls. He doesn’t rejoice at the repentance of the Ninevites, but complains about the universal mercy of God! His lack of love for “the other,” his very evident ethnocentrism will not allow him to rejoice with the Ninevites. So God tries to teach him a lesson by sending a large plant that offers shade to Jonah as he sits outside the walls of Nineveh pouting. The plant comforts Jonah from the scorching sun. During the night, however, God destroys the plant, to the remorse of Jonah.

The prophecy of Jonah concludes with these words, “But God said to Jonah, “is it right for you to be angry about the bush? And he said, “Yes, angry enough to die.” Then the Lord said, “You are concerned about the bush, for which you did not labor and which you did not grow; it came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left?” (Jonah 4:9-11)


This very brief overview of selected parts of the Old Testament clearly outlines God’s universal love for all people everywhere. The ‘spirit of missions’ did not begin with the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Surely, Christ is the fulfillment, and the supreme example of God’s unconditional love for the world. We can see roots of this universal love, however, from the beginning of creation and throughout Biblical history.

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Jesus Christ and His Worldview

If we look for the most perfect biblical example of a “mission’s spirit,” one need look no further than our Lord Jesus Christ himself. Why did the Incarnation occur if not because of the love of God for all humanity. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotton Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (Jn 3:16-17)

God became man for all humanity, not only for one particular people. God became man so that all people could become united to Him. God’s unconditional love is precisely that – unconditional. No boundaries, limitations or differences can separate the passionate love of God for His children. “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.” (Lk 2:10) Thus, the Incarnation is the “beginning of our salvation,” as the Dismissal Hymn of the Annunciation proclaims, but also the greatest example of missions. “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (Jn 20:21; 17:18) In one sense, we can look at God the Father as the mission agency sending the perfect missionary, His Son, to the entire world.

Our lesson comes in understanding that God sends a missionary to the world, and what type of missionary the Son is. Jesus Christ is one that identifies completely with the people He goes to serve (Heb 4:15). He is one who humbly serves the people He goes to save, constantly sacrificing for the other even to the point of death (Phil 2:6-11) He represents a life and ministry of unconditional love which proclaims the Kingdom of God in a manner respecting the freedom of His listeners. He will love them if they accept His message, and He will love them if they reject His message. His love is unconditional. Isn’t this the ideal missionary? “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you!” What a humbling command, yet fearful responsibility that is for the Church today!

St. Simeon prophesized the impact of the Incarnation when he proclaimed, “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, for my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.” (Lk 2:29-32)

Jesus Christ came for one purpose – to destroy death itself and open up the gates of paradise. He invited all people to follow Him and discover the path of union with God. His earthly ministry exemplified the universal and unconditional outreach to all humanity. He invited the worst of sinners – whether murderers, thieves, prostitutes, adulterers, tax-collectors, or heretics – to change their ways and follow Him. Sin created no obstacle too great for the love and passion of our Lord to overcome. Ethnicity also proved no hindrance to His message. Whether a “hated” Roman or an “unclean” Canaanite, Jesus offered His love, and allowed the other to choose freely whether to embrace Him or not.

This universal and all-embracing mindset is essential for us to understand St. Paul’s call to adopt “the mind of Christ.” Whenever we try to limit God’s unconditional love to a particular people, whether consciously or unconsciously, we need to ask ourselves if we truly have “the mind of Christ” within us!

Along with the example of His life, Christ also taught his disciples in obvious way about the seriousness of their unique mission. “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Lk 10:2) If we look around the world today, 2000 years after our Lord’s coming, and realize that 1.6 billion people in the world still have never heard of the name of Jesus Christ, can we say we have faithfully followed this command? Twenty six percent of the world has not rejected Christ and His Church consciously, but they simply have not had the opportunity to accept the greatest treasure in the world. Truly, the harvest is plentiful, but few willingly accept to go into the field!

“You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world… Let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Mt 5:13,14, 16) What meaning does salt and light have if not within a missionary context. We don’t receive the light of Christ to keep it within ourselves. Just as in the Old Testament, once again we must understand the issue of being blessed in order to bless. We receive the light of Christ in order to become mirrors reflecting that light throughout the world around us!

Elsewhere Jesus says, I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also.” (Jn 10:16) How will these other folds come to the full knowledge of the truth unless we go and act as the hands and feet of our Lord. Our Orthodox theology emphasizes the importance of synergy – working together with the Lord to fulfill His purposes. We should not say, “God will take care of it.” Instead, we have to say, “Here I am. Send me! Use me as your instrument!”

Christ even connects His call to missions with eschatology when He says, “And this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Mt 24:14) Or look at the Lord’s Prayer itself, when Jesus teaches us to pray “Your kingdom come, Your will be done.”  One interpretation of His kingdom coming implies God’s reign to come upon all the peoples of the earth. How and when can this happen if we stay inactive and uninterested in those throughout the world?

Our Lord’s earthly ministry concludes with His final commandment, often called The Great Commission. “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And remember, I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Mt 28:18-20) This commandment is emphasized, in another form, by the other evangelists as well: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mk 15:15-16) “The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Lk 46-47)

One fruit of the Resurrection was the way the Lord appointed His disciples to begin proclaiming and witnessing the Good News to all nations and peoples. Any pre-resurrectional limitation to the house of Israel clearly changes. His desire for His followers to go forth to all nations was not a request, “If you have time, go.” NO! He reminded His disciples of His authority “in heaven and earth,” and with that authority He firmly commanded his disciples to “go forth to all nations.”

Archbishop Anastasios has noted how we distort Christianity if we pick and choose which commands we want to follow, and which we prefer to ignore. For example, it is not authentic Christianity if we ignore the commandment “to love your enemies” because of its difficulty. We must strive to “love our enemies” even when it seems impossible, and believe that by the grace of the Lord, we can fulfill this command. In like manner, we can’t reject the commandment to “go forth to all nations” because it presents extreme complexities. We can surely enumerate many reasons why we shouldn’t go, but all of these cannot negate our Lord’s commandment “to go forth!”

Many even try to justify their disobedience to “go to the nations” by saying that we have to focus on the needs nearby. The Lord, however, dispels this way of thinking when He offers His final words to His disciples before His Ascension. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) No where does our Lord tell His disciples to focus only in one area, or complete a mission on the homefront. To the contrary, He empowers them with the Holy Spirit and commands them to be witnesses locally, regionally, and globally, all at the same time. As a Church, Christ calls us to offer a simultaneous witness. He does not say “either/or” nor “first/than.” He connects His command with the conjunction “and/and” – as “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea AND Samaria, AND to the ends of the earth.” Our call to offer a witness means starting in our local Church and city AND participating in the ministries and witness of our Metropolis and Archdiocese AND becoming partners with those going to the farthest regions of the world!

Paul and the Apostles did not leave their homeland only after all people were Christian, or even when things were stable with the home church. The Church of Jerusalem faced great dangers and uncertainties, yet some apostles stayed, and others traveled near and far. The same could be said centuries later when the Byzantine Church sent Cyril and Methodios on their historic mission to Moravia. The Church of Constantinople faced great turmoil and immense internal and external problems. This did not stop the mission, however. Some stayed at home and ministered there, while another part of the body of Christ went elsewhere fulfilling its missions throughout the world!

Throughout the ages, parochialism, self-centeredness at the individual, local and national Church level, and other offshoots of the ego have assailed the Church. Our call to mission, however, always stands as an answer to these heresies. Parochialism and a limitation of the Gospel has no place in a vibrant, living, dynamic, authentic Church!


The Acts of the Apostles record both the struggle to break away from this parochialism, as well as the ultimate triumph in proclaiming the Gospel to the center of the then known world, both welcoming Greeks and barbarians, slaves and free, men and women. The entire account is a missionary record of the spread of the early Church. The Acts begin with the two greatest feasts of the Orthodox Church – Pascha and Pentecost. Both of these events definitively imply a universal message: Christ’s destruction and victory over death, and the coming of the Holy Spirit to empower His followers to proclaim this victory to the entire world!

The implication couldn’t be clearer as the disciples enter the streets of Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost speaking in all languages for the world to hear. This deep respect for every language, which became a foundation of any authentic Orthodox missionary work, has its clearest roots on the day of Pentecost. Sts. Cyril and Methodios, eight centuries later, used this fact in their defense against the Frankish missionaries who persecuted them for abandoning the three “holy languages of Latin, Greek, and Aramaic” and instead using the “barbarian Slavic language” among the Moravian peoples. St. Cyril rejected this “trilingual heresy” by pointing to fact that the day of Pentecost established the right for all future generations to hear the gospel in their own language. On that day the Holy Spirit sanctified all languages, and opened the way for every nation to use their mother tongue in their communion with the Creator of all.

When some of the Jewish Christian leaders in the Apostolic Church struggled with this universal vision, God gave an unambiguous message to the Apostle Peter in Acts 10 and 11. Peter’s revelation came through a personal vision and an unexpected interaction with the Roman Centurion Cornelius. Peter came to the difficult yet unmistakable conclusion, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts those from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” (Acts 10:34)

Shortly thereafter, the Apostle Paul takes the mantle as the evangelizer of the pagan world and begins his missionary journeys throughout Asia Minor, Macedonia and Greece. Although Paul struggles until his dying days with those in the Church who fought against the universality of the Gospel, he remained steadfast. “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!... I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the Gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” (1 Cor 9:16,19-23)

Paul understood the necessity to not stay complacent, but to go wherever the Gospel has not been preached. “It has always been my ambition to preach the Gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. Rather, as it is written, ‘Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.’” (Rom 15:20-21) And if someone did not go to such lands, the Apostle also understood the grave consequences. “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” (Rom 10:13-15)

In the end, aren’t all the letters of St. Paul written by a missionary to his newly founded missions churches, or to his disciples who themselves were missionaries? And throughout these letters Paul emphasizes the universal imperative of the Gospel, when he preaches that God “made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment – to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.” (Eph 1:9-10)

We must ask ourselves repeatedly in the Church, do we have this desire and passion to embrace all people everywhere? Are our doors open, and are we ready to “become all things to all people, so that by all means we might save some?” St. Paul is abundantly apparent when he writes, “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:3-4)


Beginning with Genesis but continuing throughout Holy Scriptures we can see this spirit of the Lord loving all people. Revelation, the last book of the New Testament, concludes with a vision that summarizes this entire spirit. “I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” (Rev 7:9)

The Church, as the Body of Christ, must continue the evangelical ministry and witness of our Lord Jesus Christ. We can do this only when we embrace “the mind of Christ” and look at all people everywhere as beloved children who deserve the opportunity to enter into the loving embrace of God their Father and the Church their Mother.