The new class that I am taking is Personal Evangelism. I am very excited to start this class as I believe it is one of my weaknesses as a follower of Christ. I don’t believe that this class will give me anything new that will make me bolder in my personal evangelism. Yet, it will challenge me to do so. I hope to share on my blog what I am learning from the class in order to, hopefully, help readers become knowledgeable and excited to share the good news of Christ.
What Evangelism is Not:
Evangelism is not MERE PRESENCE
Many people misquote Francis of Assisi and say, “Preach the gospel at all times and use words if necessary”. First, scholars say that he never said this. Second, even if he did say it, he would be wrong.
If this is the method of one’s evangelism, the best a person can understand is that you are a good person or a very religious person. This, of course, is not the gospel.
Evangelism is not SPIRITUAL MUGGING
You cannot beat someone into believing the gospel of Christ. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit in which one comes to believe. You and I have no power over him.
What Evangelism Is
So, what is the definition of evangelism? Well, here are some definitions given in the past:
“To evangelize is so to present Christ Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, that men shall come to put their trust in God through Him, to accept Him as their Saviour, and serve Him as their King in the fellowship of His Church.” -1918 Anglican
The problem that John Stott and J.I. Packer (both were Anglicans) had with this definition was the word “that”. They did not believe that successful evangelism is result based but on proclamation.
“Evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where to get bread.”-D.T. Niles (1951)
“Evangelism is to proclaim Jesus Christ as God and Savior, to persuade people to become his disciples and responsible members of his church.”-Donald McGavran 1977 Church Growth Movement
Again, the problem with this definition is the idea that successful evangelism is based on results and not a proclamation.
“To evangelize is to spread the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures, and that as the reigning Lord he now offers the forgiveness of sins and the liberating gift of the Spirit to all who repent and believe. -Lausanne Covenant 1974
“The nature of evangelization is the communication of the Good News. The purpose of evangelization is to give individuals a valid opportunity to accept Jesus Christ. The goal of evangelization is the persuading of men and women to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and serve Him in the fellowship of His Church.” -John Stott
The definition, according to this class professor, is
“The compassionate sharing of the Good News of Jesus Christ with lost people, in the power of the Holy Spirit, for the purpose of bringing them to Christ as Savior and Lord, that they, in turn, might share Him with others.” Tim Beougher
Let’s break this definition down a bit.
- Spirit of Evangelism – Compassion Matthew 9:36; John 11:35; Luke 19:41
- Method of Evangelism – Sharing Acts 8:35
- The content of Evangelism – Good News of Jesus Christ Luke 2:10
- Recipients of Evangelism – Lost People Luke 19:10
- Power of Evangelism – Holy Spirit Acts 1:8 ; 2 Cor 4:7
- Purpose of Evangelism – Bringing them to Christ as Savior and Lord Acts 16:31
- The perpetuation of Evangelism – They win others 2 Timothy 2:2
I think there is a lot to apply from this definition. First, I think there are many times that I lack compassion. I tend to automatically become hypercritical towards people and place them in a camp.
Obviously sharing is something that I need to work on as well. However, sharing requires that I not only tell people but I need to listen to people as well. I need to hear from people what they believe so that I can intelligently respond to the views and this also shows that I care about them.
The other issue that I see in my own life in light of this definition is that I don’t have a lot of lost friends in my life. This is a problem I need to be around the lost because they need the gospel.
I look forward to growing in this class and looking for opportunities practice evangelism. I will continue to share what I am learning if you want to follow my blog you can click the follow this blog on the side. I hope it will be encouraging to you as much as it is to me.
If you want to know more about the gospel and how to share it, I recommend What Is the Gospel? (9Marks)
If you want to memorize verses with me to help your evangelism, I will be working on these this week: