There are so many “isms” in this modern world. Some are glorious. Others are evil. Many are misunderstood. There is one particular “ism” that seems to strike a raw nerve amongst many Christians. I’m speaking of “evangelism.” Webster, (a fine Christian fellow), tells us that evangelism is n. 1. the preaching or promulgation of the Christian gospel. 2. the work of an evangelist. 3. missionary zeal, purpose or activity.
Let’s go a bit deeper. To promulgate is v. 1. to put a law or decree into operation. 2. to publicly teach a creed or doctrine. 3. to make known. An evangelist is n. 1. a preacher of the Christian gospel. 2. a revivalist. Zeal is n. 1. fervor for a person, cause, or object. 2. eager desire, enthusiastic diligence.
So why the vocabulary lesson? You know what evangelism is as well as I do but the fact remains that there are Christians who wax cold at the mention of it. Call me crazy but words like guilt, fear, and dread come to mind. Some feel guilt because they have never participated in evangelism (except for the tract they left at the diner that one night). Others experience fear because of the risk of rejection, anxiety about what to say, and the courage to get started. And there are others who dread the worst; “I don’t want to look like a nut from some cult,” or “I don’t want to push my beliefs on other people.” Then there are those who recite Ephesians 4:11 and are convinced that evangelism is a special calling for a chosen few.
To make things worse, evangelism is suffering from a lot of bad press. Some people have been terribly traumatized by throat stuffers, while others have been badly bruised by Bible bangers. On the other end of the spectrum, there are believers who leave thirsty people parched because they view faith as being too personal. Too personal? I grew up with that nonsense. Nobody mentioned God because nobody had anything to say about God. How can you fall in love and not tell anybody? How can you have knowledge of a cure and not share it with those who are in pain? How dare we minimize what Jesus accomplished on the cross? The Son of God hung nailed, naked, and battered.
Unfortunately, we have all witnessed the angry Christian sharing anything BUT love with the potential convert. The average American TV viewer surfs the remote and hence, is able to observe a wide range of evangelical “styles.” In spite of the blows televangelism suffered in the past , I have great respect for most televangelists. However, a few need to get off the air and back into the prayer closet. I personally struggle with the guys who add a syllable to the Lord’s name…”Jeees-us-uh”… and with those whose hairpieces need revival.
Continue reading this article at, “Evangelism, Anyone? – Part II“