Sunday, 14 September 2008

A Simple Theology of Evangelism

Right, so evangelism is basically light & darkness
Creation proclaims this to you everyday - first there is evening, then there is morning

You are in darkness, the Son comes, there is the light, the darkness & the light separate:

Matthew 4:15-16 15 "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles - 16 the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned."

- those that want to follow the Son, STAY in the light
- those that do not want to follow the Son, resist the Holy Spirit & flee into the darkness - why? because they love the darkness

Anyway:

So then.. how do I carry out effective evangelism?

1. Make the light shine clearly
- preach the gospel
- live a holy life like Jesus
- do this corporately (e.g. John 13:34-34)

The more we talk about Jesus, talk like Jesus, do what Jesus does, and the more people that do it, the brighter the light shines

Now if that fails - what do I do next?

2. Make the darkness be seen for what it is
- in some sense this is already done by you living a holy life - opposing the wicked lives of others
- God blinds the minds, the hearts, sends the fallen angels, the law, etc...
- all to make hearts darker - so that the light may shine brighter
- ex-communication is a handing over to Satan - this follows the same logic
- you are sent to stumble not so that you fall, but so that you repent

Ephesians 5:7-11 7 Therefore do not associate with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
- think John the Baptist & Herod
- Robert Murray M'Cheyne - "The greatest need of my people is my personal holiness"


What not to do:
- do not attempt to make the Light similar to 'worldly lights'
- this is cultural evangelism
- if you make Jesus seem really 'cool' and 'relevant' - you do not make Him shine brighter, in fact you make Him invisible!
- you end up with no one coming to Jesus and churches full of people who will not stand on the day of judgement!


Arguments against this way of thinking:
1. Jesus was culturally relevant to the Jews
- this is ridiculous because the Jews are a culture created by God for God - totally 'separate' from any other nation!!

2. Paul's speech at the Aeropagus
- this is hardly an attempt to pander to culture, in fact it is a rebuke of culture if anything
- the early church fathers practised only one type of apologetics - the offensive type - they would study every practise of the culture around them to show them HOW WICKED IT IS and to convict them of hypocrisy and sin!

3. 1 Cor 9:20-22
- as far as I know, all Paul means is that he does not unnecessary push people away - i.e. He upheld the law by the gospel to prove to the Jews that the law was about the gospel, He showed the Gentiles that they don't NEED the law to get to the gospel, He showed the weak Christians that he would not force them into his mature faith but was prepared not to let them be, but to encourage them to grow


Why is it Christians don't just go and preach the gospel?

1. We don't want to live holy lives - the cost is too great
2. We fear man not God
3. We don't actually love our neighbour - i.e. we don't actually love God
- so as an excuse we put all the pressure on techniques and church buildings and on paid workers so that we don't actually have to go and love people - a thing that should be our joy

Result:
People die & are sent to Hell for all eternity

4 comments:

Fredrick Harland said...

Simple, short and to the point! Preach it! May God use it to encourage Christians to evangelize! Have you heard of the Way of the Master by Ray Comfort? God also provided us a tool to evangelize through the Law of God! http://teamtruth.com/articles/art_thelawtoolsforevangelism.htm

Anonymous said...

Hi Dev,
came to your blog and i just thought i point out a few things about this entry. Firstly, a great reminder of the importance of the evangelism. I sincerely hope people remember the commands given by God to spread the word and to make disciples of all nations.
However, i am rather uncomfortable with your last two sentences that seem to suggest that it is the preaching and reaching out that saves people. My thinking was that it is the spirit alone who saves people and how we've all been elect before the creation of the world (Eph 1). And how salvation is an act of the spirit and even the response of a person in faith is an act of grace and mercy of the spirit in revealing and enabling the person to understand the Gospel. As John Calvin has rightly taught, we are totally depraved and have no means of responding at all. But rather it is the grace of God that saves us, not evangelism. (:

This is not to say that Christians can be slack and not want to evangelize. The NT instead says," how shall they believe on the one they have not heard and how shall they hear unless ... " Yep, You get the gist. We have been elected and God says... go forth and preach!
Just a subtle point in check.

yemsee said...

Hi Fredrick, no I've never heard of Ray Comfort...

but yea, the Puritans used to 'lash people with the law' if they did not want to respond to the truth about Jesus - but always present Jesus first and most clearly


Hi anonymous...
Yes I am very much aware that it is the Spirit that saves, for it is He that parts the waters, grafts the branches, opens the blind eyes etc...
but I am also aware that God will not do any evangelism without His body, the church - He has chosen to only use His hands and His feet to present what His mouth has said

This does not detract from total depravity in any way - and it is very much based on the unity and love of the church for one another and for God that people are saved - this is what Jesus prays for..

John 13:34-35 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

John 17:23 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

Most of the church has this very strange opinion that they don't really need to care about dying every day for Christ and everything will be nice and rosy since 'God is in control' - whatever strange understanding they have on the sovereignty of God

I recommend you go to theologynetwork.org and read Paul Blackham's article on that subject

eringrace said...

phwoar...

very succinctly put. sounds like a sermon to me!