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The Philosophy of EvangelismIntroduction
Evangelism is to proclaim the good news of the Gospel and to invite non-believers to the kingdom of God and to live a life (to emulate Jesus Christ) worthy of being called, making disciples and bringing glory to God with such witnessing.Theology of Evangelism
A lot of people believe that evangelism has to do with telling people about the good news of the gospel. They emphasize on the term 'go' in the great commission (Matthew 28:19) and overlook the importance of 'making disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that Jesus had commanded us' (Matthew 28:19, 20). Our God is a Triune God who reaches out to us (Luke 19:10) and invites us to have a living relationship with Him, a relationship that was broken by the sin of Adam and restored by the obedience of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:12-19). To accept this invitation is to become the children of God. To accept this invitation is to enter the kingdom of God (Matthew 13).
Sadly, according to statistics, more than two-thirds of Christians in America consider themselves to be born-again Christians, but 97% of these "born-again Christian" have the same world view as non-Christians. This tells us that the term "born-again Christian" is only a label without much substance. Christians continue to live lives that are indifferent in conduct and behavior from the non-Christians, but still claim to be born again. We are living in a culture which tells us that one truth is as good as another, that there is no absolute truth, that we should accept everyone's view. If this were indeed the case, what is the need for evangelism? After all, all truths are "god's" truth and all paths lead to heaven. No wonder Christian evangelism has been so weak. From this, we see that understanding and accepting the Biblical truth as the only truth and the word of God is of vital importance for evangelism to be effective. The Bible teaches that all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16). Peter also reminds us that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:18, 19). And the same Bible also teaches that there is only one way to be saved; there is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved (Acts 4:12). Unfortunately, most people are offended by this Biblical truth. James Adams  reported that more than two-thirds of Protestant baby boomers who have left church disagreed with the notion that the absolute truth for humankind is in Jesus Christ. He goes on to say that Christians are required to hold the position that Jesus is not the only way to God but rather the way to God that they have chosen . Bryan Stone, who agrees with Adams and the Pluralism point of view, regards the conventional evangelism approach as arrogant and exclusive . While Christians should never be exclusive and arrogant in practicing evangelism, Jesus as the only way to be saved is indeed the teaching of the Bible. If we only stress the important of conduct and obedience aside from the Biblical truth that Christ died for our sin, how are we different from other religions like Buddhism, Muslim and Judaism with members of good conduct also?
Besides Pluralism, another modern approach is that of Secularism. This approach focuses on finding new ways to reach secular people. While the basic intension behind this approach is good, we should not compromise the truth of the gospel just to lure people to join the church. Adams claims that we must not be afraid to adjust the message for the sake of the mission, and adapt Christianity to popular ways of thinking . He goes as far as saying if people doubt resurrection, then we should treat resurrection as a metaphor. However, resurrection is another uncompromising truth of Christianity, for Paul reminds us that if we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in our heart that God has raised Him from the dead, then we will be saved (Romans 10:9). Others like the seeker friendly approach of Rich Warren, secularizes the message of the gospel to avoid mentioning sin, for it is perceived as turning people off. However, as we have seen earlier, the issue of repentance is of vital importance in evangelism. Christ preached, "repent, for the kingdom of God is near" (Matthew 4:17). Thus, how can one invite people into the kingdom of God, to have an everlasting relationship with the living God by hiding the requirement of what's acceptable to God? Jesus never hid the cost of following Him. Knowing that the sin of the young man who wanted to follow him was in idolizing his possessions, Christ asked him to sell his possessions, give to the poor, and follow him (Matthew 19:16-21). Christ never sugar-coated the gospel in order to attract more people to follow Him. As a matter of fact, He did exactly the opposite and avoided the crowd (Matthew 6:2, 3). The Bible teaches that the gate leading to the kingdom of God is a narrow one and only few would find it (Matthew 7:13, 14). Thus one can't help but wonder whether these so-called seeker friendly or secularization approaches is Biblical.Practice of Evangelism
However, if we see ourselves as better than others, we can become arrogant and hypocoristic. Therefore, although our goal is to eventually convert people, we should not aim at instant conversion. First of all, it is the Holy Spirit who convicts us (John 16:8-10) so that we can accept Christ. Thus if we insist on instant conversion, we are relying too much on our own capability and we overlook God's time table. The important issue is to invite people to join the kingdom of God and not to worry about when exactly someone is converted. Billy Graham says in his book "The Holy Spirit" , that a lot of people tend to walk the aisle or come forward to the altar three or four times in his evangelistic crusades before truly coming to faith. Thus evangelism should not stop at "conversion" but should invite people to live the Christian life so that we can be accountable to each other and grow together. Every time I taught a Sunday-School class on the Holy Spirit, there were bound to be a number of students who would tell me that they became Christian without even knowing the true meaning of salvation. Therefore, although people may raise their hands, walk the aisle, or come forward to the altar, it does not mean that they are truly converted. This is exactly what we are seeing in churches nowadays with 97% of people holding secular world views, and the divorce rates in Christian families surpassing that of the non-Christians. The number of such 'conversions' has no meaning. Bryan Stone  reminds us that it is the internal goods (transformation) rather than the external goods (quantitative church growth) that we should be after. If we emphasize too much on quantity and church growth, we lose sight of the real issue of picking up our own cross and follow Christ (Mark 8:34). Bryan Stone proceeds to compare mass conversions with the historic coerciveness of Constantinian Christianity. However, I don't quite agree with him on this point. Mass evangelism itself is not bad, but we need emphasize on the true meaning of salvation and confession of sin, and not on instant conversion. I also don't agree with Bryan Stone that conversion is a process, for we are convicted by the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-11) and justified by God. However, the process which leads to conversion may not be instantaneous.
Another important topic on evangelism is that of culture. We live in a world of tolerance and political correctness. We are taught to accept all views, including that of homosexuality and gay-marriage. If Christian would open up our mouths and tell people what the Bible teach on these subjects, we will immediately be labeled as being intolerant or hateful. In a less extent, this also applies to culture. Although we should definitely appreciate and respect culture , we should never compromise the truth of the gospel. Paul spent quite a bit of time in rebuking Jews who wanted to stick to the old tradition and culture (Galatians 5:2-3). Although Paul might have appeared to adopt Athens' culture of the unknown god, there are reasons to believe that he wasn't too successful at Athens (Acts 17:32, 33) and later said that he resolved to nothing but Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2).A Plan for the Practice of Evangelism
Church Evangelism- A solid plan of evangelism starts with the body of Christ with fundamental teaching of salvation, the importance of confession of sin and what does it mean to become a Christian. By being a Christian, we not only accept Christ as our savior, we also accept Him as our Lord with obedience. This way, we prepare the environment (church) for new comers to join the kingdom of God. We also educate brothers and sisters who are already in church, so that they will be good witnesses for the new comers.
Other Evangelism Activities- We should also plan long and short-term missionary activities. However, we should not spend so much time on missionary that we forget the need of the lost souls in our own "backyard". Social works like that of feeding and providing shelter for the poor and homeless are effective evangelistic approaches. We should also promote evangelistic events like traditional sermons, dramas, musical shows, etc. Although we should not be influence by culture of the world, we can adopt the different multimedia means of communication. The goal is to reach as many audiences as possible with a Biblical and non-compromising message of the gospel. This multimedia includes movies, visual aids, music, internet, cell phones, etc. As mentioned above, mass evangelism  activities are not bad, as long as we don't aim at instant conversions, but invite people to the kingdom of God and join a local church.Conclusions:
The philosophy of evangelism is discussed in this paper by analyzing its theory and practice. The intention is not to tell people the good news so that they can be converted. Rather, it is to invite people to join the Kingdom of God, so that we can influence them by being good witnesses and living out our Christian lives. A good plan of evangelism includes educating brothers and sisters on a sound doctrine and an uncompromising gospel. This is supported by an open worship which center on Christ and exalt God. We should use multimedia to spread the Gospel which includes mass evangelism. However, our aim should not be on external goods of numbers, but rather the internal goods of spiritual growth and discipleship , bringing the glory to God.References:
Bible, Christmas Trees and Easter
Is the Burning Hell Real
Love Romantic and Wedding Poems
A Painless Method of Suicide
Purpose Driven Life
The Record of Virgin Mary and Suicide Blue
The Seeker Friendly Church (Sensitive Movement)
Teenage Suicide (Teen Suicide, Teenager Suicide)
Is the Burning Hell Real
What's the Will of God Why Does God Allow Suffering?
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