Evangelism in a “Christianized” Culture: Reflecting on Careless Gospel Articulation
While we can loose balance in our evangelism by expecting someone to be a theologian before he can become a Christian, we tend to go the other way, by failing to really communicate the gospel, and then rushing people to make a decision. Remember, the gospel we preach will become the object of our “converts” faith. And a person’s world view does not radically change in a moment. Time is our friend in evangelism, not our enemy. Time spent with people, enables us to teach them these distinct elements of the gospel, and confronts them with the primary tool the Spirit uses to bring them to conversion. Most passionate evangelists, desire to see the instant results of Peter’s message at Pentecost; however they fail to remember that John the Baptist, Christ, and Christ’s seventy “apostles” preached the message of the Kingdom for three and a half years before Pentecost. This period of time laid the foundation for the three thousand souls that were converted on that day. We also fail to consider the uniqueness of Christ’s ministry, that He is God, that He performed all the miracles recorded in the gospels as well as others not recorded authenticating the message they preached, and the tremendous Biblical literacy in Israel during the time of Christ. While this was an unprecedented period of ministry, how many people were gathered with the disciples? It was only 120 people! Perhaps we should reflect more deeply on the importance of patient plodding in our evangelism.
It is very easy or us to agree with my previous statements reflecting the importance of precise gospel articulation; however, when we are guilty of careless evangelism, we usually do not recognize it. The following questions are designed to help us honestly ask: “Am I precisely articulating the gospel?” Here is the list:
- Have they sensed the seriousness of their sin and the implications of rebellion against a holy God?
- Do they view their current situation as grave?
- Do they view their current belief system as wrong?
- Do they understand who Christ is?
- Do they understand that Christ rose from the dead?
- Do they recognize that this is the only way?
- Do they desire to delivered from their sin?
- Have I manipulated their emotions, or has the Spirit really drawn them?
- Am I using artificial means to invoke response?
- Am I calling them to make a decision about something I have not really addressed?
Our next several posts will develop and meditate on the following questions.