Proclaiming Mercy, Practicing Salvation: St. Basil’s Practical Theology of Evangelism and Social Action


  • Jerry Ireland


Basil of Caesarea (329-379) offers a unique take on the church’s evangelistic and social mandates. He does this by making mercy a frequent topic of his sermons and by locating compassionate action as evidence of salvation. Whereas contemporary debates tend to locate compassion as an outflow of the gospel, or as a byproduct, for Basil compassion and mercy are central to it. And rather than defining salvation as mere ascent to a set of beliefs, for Basil, salvation is evidenced perhaps especially in how one treats the poor and needy. The goal of this study will be not only to provide a general overview of certain key texts related to Basil’s approach to both communicating the gospel and encouraging social action, but to also tease out a few applications for modern mission practice.