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Social Change Theories and Evangelism

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Introduction

Defining social change has proved to be the one of the most challenging task within the scientific study of change. This is because it involves the frequently avoided query of determining the kind and degree of change in what is to be considered social change. Theorists of social change, agree that, in the most distinct sense of the term change, every social system is changing all the time. The composition of the population changes through the life cycle and thus the occupancy of roles change.

Society members are experiencing physiological change, the constant interactions between these members also modify expectations and attitudes, and at the same time new knowledge is continually being acquired and transmitted. Social change can therefore, be described as the structural alteration of the current social, political and economic arrangement, for the purpose of establishing a more equitable and just society (Ferris & Stein, 2010). Some of the main targets in this process includes the sources of critical social problems e.g. homelessness, poverty and discrimination.

Evangelism can be described as the delightful witness of God’s people to his saving power, which advocates for repentance and reconciliation to the super-natural mighty God and to one another through faith in the one and only son Christ Jesus, who lived, was crucified and died, and on the third day raised from the dead. As a result of the restoration with Jesus, believers are usually empowered by the Holy Spirit and integrated into the church for fellowship and nurturing (Sider, 1993).

Talking about the integration of social change theories and evangelism, it is vital to address the issue concerning the question of how to connect Sunday worship to work during the rest of the week. How can is it possible to proclaim God not only in the churches but also in the everyday lives of both believers and non-believers. Another question to consider is how would the church that is normally gathered on Sunday impact on the society the rest of the week, as the members scatter and how can they carry the values of their faith into the public arena, social and workplaces, as well as into family life. How believers show love to their neighbors, seek justice and peace everyday play a very important role in integrating evangelism to the process of social change.

In the nineteenth century, sociologists employed the Darwin’s work on evolution to social change theories. According to the evolutionary theory, Darwin suggests that society usually moves in a specific direction. Since time immemorial, sociologists have suggested that the society tends to advance to higher and higher levels. As a result of this, their cultural attitudes and behavior have become more advanced than it was in the earlier societies (Boudon, 1986). Societies have been going through a series of stages of evolution to get to a similar destiny. It can also be said that they have moved from a simple social structure to a complex one with time (Boudon, 1986). Most societies have moved from the traditional religious beliefs and practices that they once believed in and embraced, to a more advanced Christian beliefs and practices.

The church is used by Christians to refer to the followers of Christ, whom can also be described as a community. The church is a vital part of the whole Christianity concept because Christ does not save people in isolation. Something that has to be essentially restored here is ones relationship with other people, and this can only be done by the community as a whole. This is because restoration of a relationship with a community enhances evangelism. Through this kind of evangelism, one can reach out to the society with the message of Christianity that does not only advocate Jesus Christ, but also social morals and norms (Sider, 1993).

God mostly reaches out to community through other people e.g. mother Theresa. Christians have a responsibility of encouraging their brothers and sister with whom they share the belief to progress in their spiritual walk, and to represent their faith by their behavior and how they carry out themselves. This should both through their ethics as well as their good work. Being an example is one of the most effective mediums of evangelism that can impact on a person directly (Sider, 1993).         

Functionalists usually stress on the point of society maintenance, rather than what really changes it. This group of sociologists may appear to have little to contribute as far as social change is concerned. However, it must be noted that the society seem to appear stable and balanced as evident in the current times we are living in. the few social problems that the society is experiencing today characterize nothing but some temporary rifts in the social order (Boudon, 1986). Christ referred to himself as the vine and his followers as the branches, as well as his body. This was a way of stressing that his followers were spiritually connected to him and at the same time, with other people in their environment.

Conflict theorists argue that, the current society is one whereby it’s wealthy and powerful group always does everything within their power to ensure that they maintain the status quo in which social institutions and practices favor them (Boudon, 1986). In such a society, change essential in correcting such social inequalities and injustices. Christians who are involved in evangelism have a very important role to play in the process of remedying the social inequalities and injustices that, a majority of the members our societies are experiencing.

It is true to say that, societies develop along a specific direction. However, it is not necessarily a must that each successive stage offers and improvement in standards of living over the previous one. History has always repeated itself, showing that the rich have continually ensured that they exploit the poor, the weak and the less privileged members of the society. In fact there is not much difference between the slaves in the ancient Rome and the working class of the modern day who share the same basic exploitations.

Social change is proactive and requires and presents told for people who desire to take control and reclaim their freedom (Ferris & Stein, 2010). Evangelism is one of the tools that can be used to empower the masses with information not only regarding the salvation in Christ, but also on the principle teachings of Christianity like equality, respect of humanity, love, kindness, honesty, and truth (Sider, 1993). Conflict is very necessary in order to instigate change and free people from social injustices, greed and inequality (Boudon, 1986).

Conclusion

Social change is the structural alteration of the current social, political and economic arrangement, which is for the purpose of establishing a more equitable and just society. Some of the main targets in this process include the sources of critical social problems such as homelessness, poverty and discrimination. Evangelism can be described as the delightful witness of God’s people to his saving power, which advocates for repentance and reconciliation. Both of these concepts advocate for the unity of the society in a just and equal system. Both encourage change that can facilitate a peaceful coexistence within the society for the betterment of peoples’ lives.

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