How should we attempt to reason with unbelievers? How many points of connection should we hope to make with the unregenerate? I know we need to be ready to give an answer for the reason of the hope that is within us, but does that mean we must justify it on the grounds that unbelievers set forth?
I am all for giving reasons why we believe what we believe, but think we must guard against exalting logic above that of God’s revelation of Himself. When we begin to use logic, in the stead of dependence upon The Holy Spirit, to convert the unbeliever we commit a error – two of which are.
1. We deny what Scripture teaches about the depravity of man, and insist that man is capable of reaching the conclusion that the claims of Scripture are true if he is just given enough intellectual impetus to stop fighting the truth. When we do this, we are actually appealing to a higher standard than Scripture. If the veracity of Scripture is not accepted unless another source verifies it then that other source takes precedence over Scripture. The other sources are useful, and it shows that Scripture is accurate in it’s records – it is not that I am saying we should not employ archeology, history, and the like at all – but outside sources are not to be the determiner of whether we believe Scripture or not. The Word of God is believed to be such by Christians because they hear the voice of The Shepherd in it. The Holy Spirit grants a conviction that it is what it claims to be. Thus when presenting the truth of Scripture to the unregenerate we must proclaim the truths of God as they are – authoritative. To appeal to any outside source to try to convince them to accept the truth we are actually diminishing the truth we are attempting to proclaim.
2. We deny the Holy Spirit’s power to regenerate the unregenerate. This lack of faith has led to inflated stories, or just plain fabrications, in order to sway a person to accept what is being said. We think that unless we can give the unregenerate something he can identify with somehow then he will not believe. Sometimes this desire to identify is so great that we even leave out bits of truth thinking that if we can get them to accept some of the truth we can work in the rest; or we just don’t want to scare them off, so we don’t give them the whole truth.
This can lead to personal issues within the thinking of the believer as well. For once an outside source is set as authoritative over Scripture then all of Scripture must be in a constant state of scrutiny. This is different than our approaching Scripture always with an understanding that our preconceived notions of what it teaches may need to be changed. This scrutiny is of the Bible itself. It is a constant wondering if it is correct seeing as “science” seems to contradict it or at least give seemingly believable explanations for things. Or if we appeal to archeology then there is always not quite enough evidence to “exactly” prove the veracity of Scripture. This leads the Christian on a search to prove what doesn’t need proving. Eventually faith will dissipates and we want explanations for everything and begin to hold Scripture in suspicion unless we can prove to the unbeliever’s satisfaction that it is true.
Extra biblical sources are good, but they are never effective in converting an individual. They may provide hurdles for an unregenerate man to jump over, but he will jump over them. Extra biblical sources provide data that can be interpreted by one’s presupposition. For example – we see order in the universe and patterns in nature. The Biblicists says it evidences it’s Creator, the unregenerate will claim it is a process of billions of years of evolutionary sequences. We see a consistent morality in every human as evidence of God’s law written on their heart, the unregenerate may give evolution as an answer to that, or just social traditions passed down as the reason for morality. We must give them God’s truth as the primary authority.
We are to employ apologetics; we are to reason with men (for our faith is reasonable – contrary to the popular opinion of unbelievers), but we are to reason from the Scriptures. We reason with the Scriptures as our foundation, rather than reason being our starting point in trying to prove the Scriptures true.
The reformers called it “Sola Scriptura”. The Holy Spirit inspired Luke to pen it this way in Acts 17:2: “And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,”
Instead of my writing a post,I want to share a chapter of a book that I have been afraid to read lately. Since beginning to read this chapter today, I have ordered the book. I feel as if my heart is being pushed through a wood chipper, yet simultaneously I am craving to be what this book challenges me to be – a true disciple of Jesus!
Please, at least read this chapter!
In a group discussion a couple days ago, a statement was made that we should not think we have to give reasoned arguments for why we hold something to be true. It was submitted that we should just unashamedly proclaim the truth and not worry as to arguing the veracity of our claims. I believe this to be faulty thinking. As a Calvinist, I firmly believe that those whom God has chosen to save will most certainly be saved in His time – that these believers will NEVER fall away as they are kept by the power of God.
I do not believe that this negates the importance of apologetics (giving a defense or proof or reason of a held position).
Let me substantiate my claim – in other words; permit me to employ apologetics in defending the need for apologetics. (No! This isn’t circular reasoning, rather serves as an illustration in itself.)
– God The Father used apologetics. God’s mode of operation was to give signs for His prophets to perform in the midst of the people they were sent to so as to validate that what they were saying was legitimately “Thus saith The LORD!” Even in Isaiah 40-41 God gives reasons why He is not to be doubted. In chapter 41:21 God then demands of the false gods a defense to substantiate their claim – “’Present your case,’ the LORD says. ‘Bring forward your strong arguments,’”
– Jesus Christ employed apologetics. In John 10:25 He said, “Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me.” Jesus did not just come on the scene and make unsubstantiated claims to Deity. He backed up His words with substantial evidence. Now granted, men must be regenerated before they will believe the truth of Jesus (another topic for another day), and Jesus is fully aware of this; yet He still doesn’t fail to give proof of His claims.
– The apostles employed apologetics. Peter – 2 Peter 1:16, The author of Hebrews – Hebrews 2:4, Paul – 2 Corinthians 12:11-12, Luke cites proof God gave to confirm His message through His apostles – Acts 17:2, John – 1 John 1:1-3. Each of these men gives evidence to support the veracity of what they claim. They don’t expect their audience to believe them just because they say to believe it.
– We are commanded in Scripture to employ apologetics. 1 Peter 3:15 commands us to be prepared to give a defense of the hope that is in us. When people ask us for a reason of belief then we are expected to explain the grounds of our belief. This will increase as we grow in the knowledge of our LORD, but it is something that is expected of us. We are not commanded to convince them by our grounds of belief, but we are commanded to be able to give a defense for them.
– God requires of us that we use our minds. Matthew 22:37 There are two ditches on the intillectual path. One is to rely on nothing save the mind… not a good idea! The other is to so devalue the mind that for one to ask basic questions to learn he is labeled an unbeliever or heretic. How are we to love Him with all our minds when refuse to employ them?
– Christianity is naturally suited for it, as it is founded upon a historical event. Paul makes this very clear in 1 Corinthians 15. If Jesus is not literally resurrected from the dead then we Christians have nothing, but a hollow belief that we will live forever, but nothing substantial to base that on. We are miserably wrong if it isn’t fact; but Paul goes on to assure us that Jesus’ resurrection is a fact
– Intellectual dishonesty is a breach of the 9th commandment. “Thou shalt not bear false witness”. Paul tells the Thessalonians that when an individual said they had a word from God to”examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;” (I Thess. 5:21) It seems that many today are fearful to permit their faith to be examined. A faith that can’t be tested can’t be trusted. God is the creator of all things, so we need not be afraid to engage in scientific research. God is truth, so we need not fear that history, or archeology will ever contradict the Almighty potentate. He is LORD of history. To blindly hold to something without any evidence to support your belief is not spiritual, it’s delusional! To refuse to examine your belief system in light of truth and still claim for it to be true is intellectually dishonest – what you believe may in fact be true regardless, but refusing to hold it to the light out of fear of it not being substantiated and still claim it as such is a lie.
– Faith without evidence is stupidity. 2 Peter 1:16, if I may call on this text again, reminds us that what was being proclaimed to the people was done so upon sound fact. Evidence was cited to encourage the people being addressed that they were not being duped into a lie. Now I’m not advocating that one is not to believe a thing unless absolute certainty is obtained. This negates faith, as well as is self defeating for we never have absolute certainty about anything (apart from faith I might add). We trust the brakes in our vehicle. We know they have not failed us to this point and so we go careening down the interstate at 70 MPH (okay, sometimes more than that) and have faith that our brakes will stop us when we need to do so. Now we don’t actually have 100% certainty that they will work this time. They could fail. Although they haven’t yet, this one time could be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Although we don’t absolutely KNOW they will work when the time comes, we believe that they will. If one were to treat his breaks like skeptics expect all people to treat Christianity then we would never drive anywhere. So it is, with faith. Faith is only as beneficial as the object in which it is placed. And one can tell whether faith is misplaced by evidence. What am I trying to say? It’s a bad idea to trust a liar, and it’s not a good idea to distrust a man who is known for his honesty. Don’t be stupid. But hear me out – I’m not saying that before one can trust in the finished work of Jesus he must be an expert in textual criticism. At regeneration the evidence that convinces one of the veracity of the gospel is the work of The Holy Spirit (His working is also what convinces men to accept other arguments for the truthfulness of Scripture). I’m saying that faith begins like a child believing his father about a matter. The Holy convinces us of it, and although we can’t answer all the critics right off, we do know in our hearts that what God says of us is true and what He says of Christ is true. We believe Him. The working of the Holy Spirit is subjective proof as we can’t manifest that to someone else, yet we know deep down what we have experienced. The external proofs are simply confirmation that encourage us that we are interpreting our internal experience properly.
– Faith is to increase. This can only happen in proportion to the knowledge of the object of one’s faith. Paul cites the stalwart of his faith is Jesus (2 Timothy 1:12). Faith is not this positive feeling we try to cling to that everything will be alright, we just have to stick it out – and when asked how we know this the answer pretty much amounts to an “it has to pan out in the end”. When I speak of faith increasing, I do not mean that fuzzy feeling that day has to break eventually increases. True faith is as firm as the understanding of the object or person that faith is in. For our faith to increase our knowledge of God and His works among the children of men must increase. This is a benefit to studying world history, science, etc. Our faith in God’s Word is increased as we see even more archeological discoveries, and historical documents that verify its recordings. It’s like my child believing God is real and the Bible is God’s Word because I say so. His faith in God, at this stage in his life, is based on his faith in me. He trusts me, that I would not lie to him. If his faith is to grow, he must learn more of the God he believes in, instead. Now it’s not that he didn’t really believe as a child that what I told him was true, it’s that as he becomes older he has to make it more of his own. I suppose it is possible for, “Because my daddy said so” to be the only thing his faith is anchored in, but if there is nothing more for him to cling to then he will be stunted DRASTICALLY; and chances are that if his faith isn’t rooted in substance then he will wilt and die – proving that his faith was spurious to begin with! (Something we see in Jesus’ parable about the varying soils.) I think the apostasy rate in our churches is due, to a large degree, of the fact that we are not teaching people as God would have us do. “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, ” Hebrews 3:12-14 We are never told that a true believer will never doubt, rather we are told that he will persevere. Apologetics is part of that perseverance.
The God that ordains the ends ordains the means to that ends. If a carpenter wishes a nail to be driven into a board, he must use a hammer (or some other tool) to nail it in. If God intends to bring a person to faith then that person must come in contact with the gospel. And if God will not let one of His children fall away, then there is a means by which He keeps them as well. Just as the reason we give the gospel. They must hear before they can respond to it. Apologetics will not argue a man from enmity to reconciliation, but it does serve as a warning sign that if they persist it is due to their own unbelieving heart, not to any lack of evidence on God’s part. The problem isn’t that we don’t have enough light, rather we hate the light. At any rate, we need never cease shining the light – apologetics is a way to do just that.
Also, apologetics has served to strengthen my faith. As I study God’s Word, and see it’s claims not only attested by The Holy Spirit, but also in history, archeology, and the like, my faith is deepened all the more. The more I look at His Word, the more I am assured that my faith is not in vain!
For the reasons given here, I am un-apologetically apologetic.
Current circumstance has brought me into contact with a plethora of skeptics. It seems that I have met more, directly or indirectly, in the past 1.5 yrs than ever before. Of the skeptics/atheists that I meet I am getting the impression that most of the other believers they have spoken with were not able to substantiate their (the believer’s) faith. Now I do not think that one’s ability to substantiate his belief is contingent upon convincing the opposition. The opposition may full well look the facts in the face and refuse to accept them – and that happens often. (Unbelief isn’t proof that something is false.) Nor am I claiming that I have “arrived” and am the model for one who can sufficiently substantiate his own (following Jesus is a lifetime pursuit). I am just wondering, “Have we failed to make disciples?” Jesus commanded us to go into all the world and preach the gospel, but also to make disciples. I know masses of people who were raised in church, and they can’t substantiate their faith. Some are even taught that you shouldn’t!! But as I read the New Testament, I see the apostles claiming that they were eyewitnesses, and that they aren’t duped by some myth or fable (2 Peter 1:16; I John 1:1 for example).
God even tells us in His Word to be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks us for a reason of the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15).
I believe we have fallen asleep on this issue. The alarm of growing apostasy is sounding, telling us of our failure. We need to wake up!
Here is a post that a friend drew my attention to. I encourage you to read it, and may God grant us repentance for forsaking the Great Commission as we have.
Partial obedience is disobedience.
The motive of evangelism:
When speaking to people about the biblical doctrine of unconditional election, almost invariably their reply is something to the effect of “Why evangelize then?” Since this question exposes the heart of the matter that most of the American evangelical community has with the biblical doctrine of God’s sovereign election, and it directly affects our motive for evangelization, I will begin there.
I will assume that most reading this will understand the fundamental statement of the doctrine as “God has, from before the foundation of the world, chosen some out of humanity that He would most certainly save. This choosing is not based on anything in them, or decision they have yet to make, but solely in His own sovereign choice.” As stated above, this raises some questions by many who oppose it. Questions like “Why evangelize if all who will be saved are already chosen?” This question, although I will say can be legitimately asked by the opponent of unconditional election, reveals a gross misunderstanding on the part of the questioner. (Which are what questions do. They either manifest the flaw in the thing being questioned, or the flaw in the understanding of the one asking it.) I’m not saying this in a condescending way, as I too asked this question as I was coming to grips with the truth of unconditional election.
There are two things evidenced by this question. 1. A misunderstanding of God’s Sovereignty in ALL things – how The God Who ordains the ends also ordains the means to that ends. 2. A wrong premise for why one is to evangelize. It is believed by the one asking that one’s motive for evangelizing is destroyed if men are predestined to salvation by God’s sovereign choice. For they seem to think that they are somehow altering mens destinies (which are in the hands of the individual). To them, since God has already chosen all that will be saved, then there is no use in evangelizing. Their premise is man-centered. The driving force is to keep as many men out of hell as possible. This, although not a bad aim, is not to be the primary aim. God’s glory is ALWAYS His primary aim, not the well being of man. We were created for His glory. Christ primary aim in enduring the cross was for His glory (John 17). It is this incorrect motive that I wish to address here.
Biblical-Purpose Driven Evangelism:
The driving force for evangelism, then, is the glory of God. This is exactly what Paul was stating in II Corinthians 2:14-17. This is so contrary to our natural logic that it is nearly always immediately met with rejection. Yet this is the very teaching of Scripture. God even goes so far as to speak of the new covenant in the book of Ezekiel as saying He will move in the hearts of people, not for their sakes, but for the sake of His own name, He was going to save. (Ezekiel 36).
I am not saying that we should not have a desire to see men be saved. Paul, the one who seems to teach unconditional election more strongly than any other of the apostles, in the very same part of his letter (Romans 9) not only teaches that God has chosen , but also an earnest desire to see every one of his Israelite brothers to be saved. We evangelize praying, and longing, for those who hear to respond to the gospel in repentance and faith. But at the same time, this desire should not be preeminent in our hearts. That is reserved for a consuming desire for the glory of God.
The danger of incorrect motives:
Why make all the contention? If we’re evangelizing, what difference does it make why we do it? Again, this question seems valid for one who has as his primary goal anything other than God’s glory. But my aim is to show you how misguided and dangerous this really is. Whatever, or whoever, is the driving force behind our actions is by default to object of our worship. We love what motivates us, and we worship what we love. If we worship anything, or anyone, other than God then we are idolaters. Anything/one we love more than, or equal to, God is an idol. Any primary motive for evangelism other than God’s glory is nothing short of idolatry. Therefore why we do what we do is vital. *(Not only do wrong motives make us idolaters, it also tends to cause us to alter the message, but that is not the point of this post to discuss.)
But doesn’t Ezekiel 33 tell us that if we don’t warn men of coming judgment that their blood will be required at our hands? It absolutely does! But read the text, it doesn’t say they die in their sins because of us. It says they are taken in their iniquity. The whole reason judgment was coming in the first place was because of their sins. The watchman’s failure to warn doesn’t alleviate the wicked from the blame for suffering punishment, it just adds punishment on the watchman. The illustration says if they don’t warn and the people perish then accountability will be exacted, but if the do warn and the people perish, then the watchman has fulfilled his obligation. The watchman’s job is not to get results but to proclaim the truth. Not the motive for proclaiming that truth is the topic of this post.
Again, any action that does not have God as it’s all encompassing passion and motive is a act of idolatry. We are told in Romans 3 that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Lost men build hospitals, but not to God’s glory – they fall short. Wicked men help old ladies cross the street, or give money to a ministry – but not to God’s glory. All these good actions are filthy rags in God’s sight. They are done from a wicked heart and feigned lips. Why? Because we fall short of God’s glory! And we ALWAYS will, apart from the grace of God.
I have been in meetings, and seen things that attempt to get the Christian motivated to evangelize by painting verbal pictures, or using visuals, of loved ones burning in hell and screaming out “Why didn’t you tell me?!” And they attempt to lay the fault for the loved one’s being in hell on the shoulders of the christian how didn’t witness enough, or at all. Now, don’t forget Ez. 33 (I haven’t). The believer who was a poor witness of the gospel will be held accountable for his lack of testimony, but nowhere does Scripture tell us that the christian is the blame for the lost sinner being in hell. We are told the opposite. Romans 1 tells us that all men have rejected the truth they have. John tells us that no man comes to the light. Every man in hell has a conscience he has violated, a Creator he has spurned, etc. They may not have ever heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, but they have had ample opportunity to seek God and refused to do so. Their condemnation is just.
I am not saying we should be nonchalant about the death of wicked men, and most certainly we should never exult in their condemnation (for remember, but for God’s grace you would be right there with them). But there is a motive that far surpasses the well being of man, and that is the glory of God! This should be our primary motive in evangelizing. Staten another way by one of the most humble, God-centered men I have ever heard (John Piper) “Missions exists because worship doesn’t.”
I think I have said enough, so I will close with a few quotes in summation. May God be pleased to use this to reform our thinking back to His Word!
“We do not jettison worship for the sake of evangelism, but evangelize for the sake of the worship.”
R.C. Sproul Jr.
“Evangelism is indeed an act of worship. It is an act of worshipful obedience to the Great Commission of the risen Christ (Matt 28:19-20, cf. Acts 1:8).”
A. Blake White
“I cared not where or how I lived, or what hardships I went through, so that I could but gain souls to Christ.”
“If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms around their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled with the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unsprayed for.”
“The Christian call to evangelism is not simply a call to persuade people to make decisions, but rather to proclaim to them the good news of salvation in Christ, to call them to repentance, and to give God the glory for regeneration and conversion.”
“Evangelism is the spontaneous overflow of a glad and free heart in Jesus Christ.”
“The nature of Christ’s salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present-day evangelist. He announces a Savior from hell rather than a Savior from sin. And that is why so many are fatally deceived, for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of Fire who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness.”
“According to the Bible, good motives for evangelism are a desire to be obedient, a love for the lost, and a love for God.”
I read an article by Al Mohler on the MySpace Generation. He speaks of them as our mission field, and that this is the generation we need to evangelize. I realize that what I am about to say is nothing novel, but I think repeating it would be helpful. There is an entire generation of people who live (and I’m not speaking figuratively either) online. We engage others on their own territory, and this generation is no different. Grant it, it is not a face-to-face discussion, that they cannot hear the passion in your voice, nor see the expression on your face (unless your using video chat); yet God’s TRUTH transcends these communication deficiencies – HE always has. I am certain there are many who are already employing sites like MySpace and FaceBook for this purpose. My reason for writing this is to encourage readers who are not employing these networking tools for God’s glory and the furtherance of HIS kingdom to begin doing so, and for those who are to continue to do so… even more.
All we do, we should do for God’s glory… this includes our employment of the internet.
Soli Deo Gloria
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. ” (Gal 1:6-10)
Man was created to glorify God & Enjoy Him forever
“Worthy are you, our Lord and our God to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things.” (Rev 4:11) “Do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31)
Man has failed to glorify God & is under His just condemnation
“For all have sinned…” (Rom 3:23) The wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23) “These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction” (2 Thes 1:9)
Jesus fully bore the wrath and suffered the punishment sinners deserve
Not wishing that sinners perish forever, God determined to save a people for Himself in the Eternal Son who became a man and lived the life we should have lived and died the death we justly deserve. God loves sinners and sent His Son to be the wrath absorbing sacrifice for their sin (1 John 4:10; John 6:37) he “…gave His life as a ransom for many” (Mk 10:45) & “rose again” from the dead (2 Cor 5:15) on their behalf.
All who, by the grace of God, turn to Jesus in submissive faith are forgiven
If you confess you are a sinner in need of Christ then God has begun to work in you a life-changing, eternally satisfying relationship with Himself! “Repent and believe the gospel (Mk 1:5) “In Your presnece is fullness of Joy (Ps 16:11). If your trust is in Jesus alone for your salvation (that is, you have no hope save for Christ’s mercy) then you can be assured that your sins are forgiven and He has granted you eternal life.
Why evangelize? We are commanded to. We tend to minimize this as a reason, we would often prefer to operate from emotion, confusing that with passion. Yet this is a foundational principle behind evangelism. For if God had not commanded it, then we would not place such an emphasis on it. It is precisely the command that puts us in disobedience for not obeying it. There are people who say Christ’s command to evangelize is not the only reason we should do so, as if there were an equal or higher motive. What if God were to forbid one to evangelize an area, should he rebel and evangelize anyway. Yet if our motives are man-centered and emotionally driven then we will do what we think is best or what makes most sense to us. You may say, “This would never happen, as He told us to go into all the world and preach the gospel!” Yet this very thing happened to Paul “And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.”
( Act 16:6-8 )
A runner keeps his eyes on the prize, so when our motive for evangelizing is man-centered our eyes are on the prize – “Conversion” of men. Although we do desire to see The LORD convert sinners, for our eyes to be on this is idolatry as it puts man as the all consuming reason for evangelism. Idolatry is fuel for pragmatism. When our evangelism is man-centered, we will base the success of our evangelism on decisions made, and since that becomes our measure stick we will do what generates our desired results. Scripture tells us that it is God that converts men, not us or any prescribed formula that we walk them through. The idea that if we get them to make a decision or pray a prayer asking Jesus into their heart, when God has done no work in their heart, accomplishes nothing but mass deception in attempts to achieve our man-centered goal, and alleviate our consciences. This pragmatism will cause us to “offer God” as a way to get out of hell, or to a utopia of an eternity. We have a mass of people who have “made their decisions for Christ” but there is no repentance involved. They simply “chose Him” because it’s naturally more desirable as opposed to burning for eternity, but since there is no conversion, there is no true repentance and faith. Our conscience is eased because we declare them to be saved, and we deceive them because we instruct them to put the certainty of their “conversion” upon an act they committed at a point in time. Jesus becomes nothing more than a ticket we make sure we have to board the train for heaven.
What about compulsion?
Am I saying we should evangelize out of mere duty, with no passion or fervency? Absolutely not! We should find no higher motivation to evangelize than the fact that it is commanded by The Almighty God! For our heart should cry with the Psalmist, “I delight to do Thy will” oh, LORD! Because He has commanded it, we should long to do it. Because He has a people He calls to Himself, and does so through the preaching of His Word, our hearts should be aflame with longing to see Him call out His own. Yes, we rejoice, along with heaven, when one sinner is brought to repentance, but we also can rejoice if none are. For Scripture says, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?” (II Cor. 2:14-16). Every time we give the gospel we exalt God, and for this we can rejoice. Every time we preach the gospel it is successful. We are an aroma to God, and He is glorified. We desire to see God save men, for as He does there will be more true worship offered up to the King of Kings.
So there is a biblical compulsion to evangelism, but it is not a man-centered compulsion. All things with man at it’s center will fail. Bruce Parsons, in speaking of ministry as a whole said, “Without God at the very heart of ministry, ministry is not only a fool’s errand but it is impossible…” So it is with evangelism [a part of ministry]. The compulsion we have is generated by the command. We do what we do because God has told us it pleases Him; and our happiness is found in HIM. We should be so enthralled with Him that when He is pleased, we are pleased. Nothing should bring us any greater pleasure than His pleasure. This is worship!
When our motives are biblical, so will be our methods and message.
Why should we evangelize? Soli Deo Gloria!