Thursday, April 15, 2010

Rethinking Evangelism

When you hear the word "evangelism" what enters your mind? You probably think of sharing the good news of Christ's life, death and resurrection, with an unbelieving person (or people) in hopes of another person would be converted and saved by God's grace.

And while I long for this as much as any Christian, I wonder if that understanding of evangelism is too limited. In Romans 1:15 Paul writes, "I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome." The Greek word translated "preach the gospel" is the word euangelizo, which most literally means, "to evangelize." So Paul writes that he is eager to evangelize those who were in Rome.

Nothing extraordinary about that, right? But who exactly is Paul so eager to evangelize? He says, "you also who are in Rome." And he's already told us a good bit about these people: they are loved by God, and have been called to be saints (v.7). They are those whom Paul thanks God for, because their faith is being proclaimed in all the world (v.8). They are those whom Paul is eager to visit so that he might be encouraged by their faith (v.11-12). They are his "brothers" (v.13).

In other words, Paul is eager to evangelize these Christians. The evangel -- the gospel -- is not merely the news people need to be converted and brought to faith. It's also the very same news that Christians need to grow up in faith and be strengthened day by day after their conversion.

So let's be zealous about evangelism, Christians. Only, let's not limit our evangelism to non-believers. You and I need the gospel every bit as much as they do.

3 comments:

  1. I agree, except your definition of the gospel is very limited. The gospel is not just about Christ's life, death,and resurrection. That is the common understanding but that is too simplistic. The gospel or good news is the good news about God's kingdom, which INCLUDES the message of Christ's sacrifice for sin and eternal life, which forms the core and foundation of the gospel message.

    Once we accept Jesus as Savior, our next duty is to learn more about Him, and what He is all about, and how we should live as children of God within God's kingdom, while still here on earth.

    Peace.

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  2. Hillary,

    For clarification on why I speak of Christ's life, death and resurrection as "the gospel", check out the links in this post:

    http://redemptiongroanings.blogspot.com/2009/12/what-is-gospel.html

    Hope these are helpful,

    Larry

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