By Rev. Dr. Vahan H. Tootikian
ARMENIAN EVANGELICAL MOVEMENT—History, Faith and Mission is the sixth volume from the pen of Rev. Barkev N. Darakjian, a highly respected veteran minister, a distinguished intellectual, and a former editor of four Armenian Evangelical publications here and abroad. It is an anthology of the author’s scholarly lectures on the Armenian Evangelical Movement delivered or published on various occasions, as well as his erudite articles and editorials that have appeared in the AEUNA Forum during the past three decades.
Published by the Armenian Missionary Association of America, through the generosity of Drs. Nazareth and Ani Darakjian, and dedicated to his wife, Dr. Agnes Darakjian, this book consists of two parts: Armenian Evangelical Movement and General Articles, a total of 249 pages.
In the first part of this informative and instructive book, Rev. Darakjian moves through a series of interrelated essays exploring topics on the Armenian Evangelical Church. He calls on his broad knowledge of Armenian Evangelicalism past and present to provide new insights and illuminations.
The author believes that the calling of the Armenian Evangelical Church today remains the same as those embraced by its founders, i.e. “re-evangelizing the Armenian nation and strengthening the evangelistic arm of the Mother Church both in Armenia and the Diaspora” (p.6).
Rev. Darakjian categorically rejects the claim of some Armenian scholars that the Paulician movement, (a medieval polemical sect established in Armenia), might have been the progenitor of the Armenian Evangelical Church (pp.129-132). He states that the Armenian Evangelical Movement was an authentic religious movement that was born in the bosom of the Armenian Apostolic Church in the second quarter of the 19th century.
Darakjian also makes an interesting distinction between evangelism and proselytism. He states that evangelism is carrying out the Great Commission of Jesus Christ given to his followers to go and preach the Gospel, while proselytism means the conversion of people from one religion to another. Based on this definition, he emphatically rejects the accusation that the Armenian Evangelicals are proselytes and are engaged in proselytism. His contention is that throughout their history, the Armenian Evangelicals have never proselytized but only evangelized (pp.62-65).
Rev. Darakjian examines Armenian Evangelicalism and the ways it has made, and continues to make, a difference in people’s lives. In an enlightening way, he writes of his pride in being a part of a church that has left its impact on the Armenian community life.
In the second part of the book, the topics he treats cover a broad spectrum—spiritual, theological, social, patriotic, and community matters—blending an authentically biblical perspective with insights from personal experience, contemporary life, and Christian theologians and writers, always respectful of the sacred text and always relevant to the needs of his readers.
I am confident that the readers of this book—American Armenians, Armenian Evangelical and non-Evangelicals, clergy and laity alike—can read it with great pleasure and enduring profit.
To obtain a copy please call AMAA at 201.265.2607 or e-mail: [email protected] Each book costs $15.00.