July 10, 2004
I was walking across the parking lot at Mission Beach the other day, when this guy comes up to me and says “hey, did you know Jesus loves you?” At first I was just surprised (that’s not exactly what I was expecting him to say), but when I tried (unsuccessfully) to assure him I was also a Christian, his attempts only got more rude and condescending. By the time I got rid of him, I was thoroughly annoyed. It got me to thinking about evangelism, what it means and how it’s supposed to work.
When I was attending the local J.C., I interviewed a handful of non-Christians about their thoughts on evangelism. Their reaction was complete disgust. I discovered that most of them would rather be shot in the foot than have someone hand a track to them. In the few times I’ve gone out to “evangelize” the majority of the people I talked to were highly offended and/or annoyed. It’s amazing that while most Christians get seriously upset with telemarketers, it doesn’t seem to bother them when they’re guilty of the same thing. While I realize that if even one person out of fifty receives salvation then it is “worth it”. I question the method we use to “lead people to Christ”. I also wonder where pastors and evangelists find their views of evangelism in the Bible. I have honestly not been able to find, “accept Jesus into your heart” and “Jesus loves everybody” in my Bible anywhere.
That said, I’m not claiming any authority on the subject. I know that we as Christians should be evangelizing, but I think mainstream American Churches have completely twisted the application of scripture in this area. While I’m not exactly sure what the Bible says about the best method of evangelizing, it is perfectly clear about what evangelism is.
Evangelism means preaching the gospel. It does not necessarily mean handing out tracks or accosting people in the streets, and it certainly doesn’t include telling them that they need to accept Jesus so they can go to heaven. The power, by which people repent and believe, does not rest with the sinner or his/her ability to accept Christ. People are saved and loved by Christ. The gospel is the means by which sinners are saved, given repentance and faith. Their minds and wills have changed and they are irresistibly and beautifully called to Christ. That is what’s found written throughout scripture.
A lot of videos, books and tapes on evangelism completely miss the point of evangelism, because they equate the gospel with accepting Jesus into your life and being saved from hell. All of Scripture is the gospel, because all Scripture reveals Christ. The gospel must be preached everywhere, and evangelism is the mission of the Church, but in a much different way than is commonly being taught.
….and that’s all folks
Until next time…