What is evangelism? The dictionary gives the definition of an evangel:
[Middle English evaungel, from Late Latin vangelium, from Greek euangelion, good news, from euangelos, bringing good news : eu-, eu- + angelos, messenger.]
In reference to recent posts by Territorial Bloggings, Here We Stand and Bunnie Diehl, I would like to explain my thoughts on evangelism. Before sharing my learned thoughts on witnessing Christ to others, let me explain that I spent over twenty years attending only "Bible" churches and furiously taking notes, buying and reading books and numerous publications on how to witness to others, watching many videos, listening to many famous speakers, taking weekend workshops and spending my days counting my worth by how many souls I had led to the Lord. To my knowledge, I led no one. About two years ago, I became an Evangelical Lutheran. I threw out all my books on how to be a better Christian and how to be a good witness for Christ (seriously - go look for them at Goodwill). I began to reeducate myself and discovered a well-hidden secret:
I am a sinner. You are, too. Together we are hopeless and will keep sinning for the rest of our lives. We are bound for hell because we can't enter heaven unless we are perfect. However, God still loves me and you and desires us to spend eternity with Him in heaven. In an incredible and unfathomable act of love and grace, He gave us His son, Jesus Christ, as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. We have been saved! Rejoice! We can now enter heaven! Believe and be baptized! Share this good news with others!
I didn't learn any of the above from any of the further above-mentioned witness training aids. I learned this secret from the Bible and from a pastor who preaches from it. Because of his accurate proclamation of the good news of our redemption, I was able to pass that good news on to my children, husband, my grandfather, my parents, my parents-in-law, my sister-in-law, my neices and nephews, my brothers and my sister.
What is the difference between my well-trained, but hopelessly futile efforts before and my complete lack of effort with moderate success now? I removed myself from the act of evangelism. I am no witness for Christ other than to simply to give an accurate account for the hope that I have in my heart despite my total worthlessness apart from Christ. I wouldn't dream of driving around with a bumper sticker that says defiantly, "I'm not perfect. Just forgiven." I can't even claim to love Jesus as much as I ought to, as Chris Williams recently and eloquently wrote. My faithless heart forgets Christ on a daily basis. I can't even listen to one sermon without daydreaming for a short while. Only in accepting my perpetual state of sin can I cling to Christ and, with gratitude, shout out the good news to others. That is evangelism.
What we have earned and deserve is death. "The wages paid by sin is death." (Romans 6:23)
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God... (1 Peter 3:18)
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear... (1 Peter 3:15)
This post was inspired by the many reader comments to a post by Michael Spencer, It's Not Easy Talking About Jesus, on Boars Head Tavern.
To learn more about who Jesus is, check out Learn About Jesus.