Those of us who have been Christians for many years or who have grown up in Christian homes may count the word “evangelism” a regular part of our vocabulary. We may not use it much in our daily conversations, but it’s familiar to us and we’ve heard it often among the members of our church community. Some of us may even say that evangelism is a vital part of our walk with Christ and something in which we participate on a regular to semi-regular basis.
Wherever we are at on this spectrum, it is essential for us to visit or, for some of us, revisit the topic of evangelism. Why do I say “essential?” We will discuss in more detail the reasons why we should concern ourselves with evangelism in subsequent posts. For now it is enough to say that we should reflect carefully on how to define this term for one simple reason: evangelism is the privilege and responsibility of every Christian. Whether you have been a Christian for a few months or a few years, Jesus Christ calls you, through his Word, to practice evangelism for his glory, your neighbor’s salvation, and your joy. Continue reading “What Is Evangelism?”
Death is an intruder. And everything that leads to death—sickness, pain, old-age, heart-attacks, high-blood pressure, brain aneurisms, and cancer—are also all intruders. We live in world that is not the way it’s supposed to be.
But even before any of these intruders entered our existence there was a more primal intruder: sin. It was sin against God that brought about not only physical suffering like cancer and migraines, but inter-personal and social trouble as well. Broken relationships, divorce, hate, murder, racism, bitterness, family disputes, bullying, and betrayal all flow from the same source: sin. What happened? Continue reading “Death the Intruder, Christ the Victor”
There is certainly a place for a public defense of the Christian faith. We should be always ready to engage unbelief with solid, biblical arguments and willing to tear down the strongholds of deception with the weapons of truth. For this reason it is useful for Christians to gain some handle on the most common objections to biblical Christianity and equip themselves with substantive answers. The ability to expose self-refuting arguments and point out inconsistencies in the unbeliever’s worldview is an important tool in the apologist’s tool box, and some knowledge of issues related to science and history can prove helpful.
But all of this effort at defending the faith does little good for the unbeliever unless it is wrapped, at all times, in the gospel. Continue reading “Give Them Shelter: Why We Can Never Separate Apologetics from the Gospel”
What is the Gospel? How can we explain it to others? Mark Dever and Paul Alexander in their book, The Deliberate Church, give a helpful explanation of the gospel:
The most important aspect of evangelism is the evangel—the Gospel, the Good News. If we are not getting the evangel right according to the Word, then whatever we’re doing, it can’t be called evangelism. So what are the essentials of evangelism? We can sum them up in four words: God, man, Christ, and response. God is our holy Creator and righteous Judge. He created us to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever (Genesis 2:7; 16-17; 18:25; Matt.25:31-33). But mankind has rebelled against God by sinning against His holy character and law (Gen. 3:1-7). We’ve all participated in this sinful rebellion, both in Adam as our representative head an in our own individual actions (I Kings 8:46; Rom. 3:23; 5:12, 19; Eph. 2:1-3). As a result, we have alienated ourselves from God and have exposed ourselves to His righteous wrath, which will banish us eternally to hell if we are not forgiven (Eph. 2:12; John 3:36; Rom. 1:18; Matt. 13:50). But God sent Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, to die the death that we deserved for our sins—the righteous for the unrighteous—so that God might both punish our sin in Christ and forgive it in us (John 1:14; Rom 3:21-26; 5:6-8; Eph. 2:4-6). The only saving response to this Good News is repentance and belief (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; Mark 1:15; Luke 3:7-9; John 20:31). We must repent of our sins (turn from them and to God) and believe in Jesus for forgiveness of our sins and reconciliation to God.
God, man, Christ, response. Remember—it’s not evangelism without the evangel (51-52).
We can talk to a lot of people; we can have a lot of discussions over coffee and talk about family, philosophy, the weather, and even the Bible. But if we are not giving people the Gospel, let us not fool ourselves into thinking that we are actually practicing evangelism. Let’s know the Gospel. Let’s preach the Gospel.