Engaging the culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Evangelism: What exactly is it anyway?

I read an article today that was published in a past issue of Christianity Today entitled “What Evangelism Isn’t” .It was published in 2007, but is a must read!

Mark Dever hit the nail on the head when he addressed this topic. It is amazing how when the doctrines of grace are forsaken (whether ignorantly, or intentionally) that other vital areas slip as well. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve either been told that I will not evangelize, or that I am inconsitent if I do evangelize. Those who make this statement show that they have been missinformed concerning the doctrines of grace and what true evangelism is.

As Ernest Reisinger said in addressing the question “Will Calvinism Kill Evangelism“:

“The answer to the question is yes and no. Yes, it will kill unbiblical man-centered evangelism and some of the carnal unbiblical methods employed in man-centered evangelism.

No, it will not kill God-centered evangelism where biblical methods are employed in the great work of carrying out our Lord’s clearest command.”

May God bring His people back to Scripture, and true evangelism!

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2 responses

  1. Hi;

    I just know that we have to share the good news of the gospel. We MUST do it not only because Jesus commanded us to, but also we must feel compelled to share the amazing news of forgiveness of sins and justification before the Father.

    When we understand that if our neighboor, coworker, spouse, uncle, etc; will invevitably spend eternity in Hell IF dying without Christ, it will just be a natural response from our side to share with them!!

    We have to preach the real gospel, and not a man-centered message that promises a “wonderful plan for your life” and “your best life”… we gotta be faithful to the message.

    Thanks for your post and thanks for reading.

    God bless.

    January 7, 2009 at 2:07 pm

  2. commissioned2serve

    I agree that we should preach the gospel and not a man-centered message that uses God as a means to the ends of a better life. But it goes even deeper than that. Not only should our message not be man-centered, but our motive should not be as well. The man-centered philosophy has permeated much farther than “Your best life now!” That is just the tree above ground. Sadly, and much to our shame, the driving force for evangelism today is men, not God’s glory. I agree, along with Paul, that I do not wish to see men go to hell, but when the driving force is primarily man-centered then we will present it that way. Maybe not as blatantly humanistic as “your best life possible” but we will “present Christ” as a gift that they can accept or reject; and their rejecting will be their demise. This fails on so many levels. 1. Men don’t go to hell for rejecting Christ, they go to hell because they are sinful men under God’s wrath. 2. Jesus didn’t die on the cross and hypothetically pay for sins contingent upon our belief in Him. He endured the wrath of God for the sins of His people. He was our substitute, and God was propitiated through Him. It is by the preaching of the gospel that God calls these men/women to faith. 3. Man-centered evangelism leaves God out of the process until after man makes his “decision for Christ”.

    You said, “ We MUST do it not only because Jesus commanded us to…” and I agree that we should not evangelize out of bland, heartless duty, but we should not do so out of a feeling for man’s well being as the driving force either. It is God’s glory. We exalt Christ and His atoning work, He draws men to Himself.

    Man’s well being for eternity is a good motive, but it is not the best and biblical emphasis. I once heard a preacher say “Liberalism says the end of religion is your best life now. Fundamentalism says the end of religion is your best life later. Either way it is humanism!” He is exactly correct. When we dangle Christ out before and sinner and say ”Jesus died to save you. All you have to do is accept Him.” This is not the gospel. The good news of the gospel is not “you could possibly be reconciled to God .” but “Christ has reconciled men to God by His meritorious death and resurrection. Repent of your sin, and cast yourself upon Christ. Rest upon His finished work on Calvary.” God doesn’t offer us the option to repent and believe the gospel, He demands we do it.

    You spoke of feeling compelled to preach the gospel when we see how men will go to hell. If God is not at the center of all we do then our actions, although seemingly good, are man-centered and wicked.

    A. W. Pink stated well. “The gospel is God’s good news concerning His Son, not concerning sinners.”
    Another way to put the motive for evangelism is in the words of John Piper “Missions exists because worship doesn’t.”

    May God bring us back to His Word, and cause all we do to be for His glory.

    January 8, 2009 at 2:32 am

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