The Church and Evangelism
There is no mention of theological or religious questions that involved our world wide evangelism, or how to implement the teachings of Jesus Christ in our daily lives. It was clear that much of our energy is spent in internecine warfare, in arguments and debates that are not only divisive but tend to incapacitate us as we work in the name of Christ (pg.44)
Evangelism is a high priority for the church in general and it is true that many believers get so caught up in doing evangelism only that they do forget certain instructions Jesus gave us through his disciples.
While the observation in those quoted words is poignant and hits to one of the problems involved with evangelism, it is not the whole story. There are quite a few mitigating circumstances involved that lead zealous believers into those debates and arguments.
They should not be condemned as Paul also debated with followers of other religions and many Christian scholars today are involved with very good debates hat help highlight the Christian faith over the arguments rejecting Jesus.
These issues can be solved over time, with a little learning from their own mistakes and wise counsel. There are two other key points that arise when it comes to the topic.
2 Key Issues for Evangelism
First, we need to expect division when it comes to the spreading of the Christian faith. It happened in the early church when Paul explained the division among the early believers as some adhere to his teaching, others to Peter’s and still more to Apollos.
Also, Jesus himself said that he came not to bring peace but a sword. He stated that families would be divided over different issues. There will be divisions among those who claim to be believers.
If believers are not of one mind and not continuing in the disciples’ teaching then expect divisions to crop up. Interpretation ha sits way of leading people away from the truth and keeping people misguided.
Second, in the church today there is a heavy emphasis on evangelizing the lost. The different church leaders take the Great Commission very seriously. It is an honorable objective but often misguided as the great Commission gets elevated over every other instruction and example Jesus gave us.
This misguided elevation leads people to do biblical activities that they are not prepared t handle or were not called to do. If you look at Paul’s teaching on the body of Christ, you will see that he did not state that evangelism was the only office that was to be staffed and operating.
This over-emphasis on evangelism often stifles the growth of the church as the church leaders prefer having everyone out in public evangelizing instead of ministering to the needs of the unbeliever.
Also, this high evangelistic priority robs the church of good people who are gifted to teach and do other church offices found in the body of Christ. The lack of training church members is evident as so many people cannot handle the arguments sent their way by the unbelievers they are trying to reach.
Church members are educationally unfit to handle evangelism in spite of God’s admonition that people obtain knowledge. Knowing their faith is important if a church wants to win souls for Christ.
Then this heavy handed emphasis on evangelism often skips Paul’s instructions concerning how to do evangelism correctly. There are 3 steps involved with doing evangelism correctly
3 Steps of Evangelism
Paul made it clear that mass evangelism or personal evangelism needs the help of all the body of Christ and not just those who are good at evangelizing. The first step involved is the planting of the seed. A gifted waterer or reaper cannot water or sow if the seed is not planted first.
If the seed is not planted, and this can be done in a variety of ways, then there is nothing to reap later on. Second, evangelism takes someone who can water that planted seed. Without God’s word and etc., growing in the life of the unbeliever, then the reaper still has nothing to reap.
Finally, the need for the reaper or a Billy Graham is needed. The reaper’s work is only successful if the first two people have done their job correctly. It takes three people to evangelize although those duties can be found in two or even one person.
But you can’t evangelize without all 3 steps being active in a person’s life.
Why Do Churches Focus on Evangelism Only
Partially, it is in obedience to Christ’s commission to go into all the world to preach the gospel. There is nothing wrong with that unless evangelism takes sole priority of the church.
Another reason for this over-emphasis on evangelism is that it is easier to teach people to give the gospel message to an unbeliever than it is to educate them correctly in history, apologetics, theology and other vital church subjects.
Then it is also easier to preach at a person and walk away when they say no thank you to the gospel message. It is much more difficult to roll up one’s sleeve and get involved in that unbeliever’s life and help them through difficult times and so on.
There is an emotional cost when a believer does the latter and that cost also includes rejection of Jesus on the part of the person helped. It is not an easy cost to bear.
Some Final Words
Evangelism is not an easy task to perform. It is not for everyone and God has made that clear throughout the Bible. It takes hard work to evangelize correctly and evangelism also depends upon the church having great well educated teachers who can instruct the new believers in the ways of God correctly.
Too many new believers are left vulnerable to the attacks of evil because they have not been taught correctly. Good evangelism does not place the Great Commission above every other instruction found in the Bible. It is only part of the Christian life.
It incorporates all the teachings of Jesus correctly making sure that new believers receive the meat of the word so they can grow into strong warriors for Christ.
© 2019 David Thiessen