For the better part of a decade, I have served in evangelistic ministries. My range of activity has spanned from knocking on doors, going to college campuses, speaking at events, and street-preaching. With that background, you’d guess that I would have no trouble with evangelism or thinking through the Gospel. Actually, that’s about as true as saying the sun is dark. A back-pack full of stones has weighed me down throughout these years as I struggled to connect what I was doing with what the Bible teaches.
One weight that I burdened me was the meaning of faith. I wondered about what essential concepts Christians need to believe in to be saved. At first, I considered that we believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus? While that’s central (1 Cor 15), how does faith and repentance fit in, and why does the Bible talk so much about the kingdom of God. Actually, Jesus preaches the Gospel about the kingdom according to the Gospels (Matt 4:17, 23). But I never for a minute preached about a kingdom—I told people to believe and repent in the Gospel. Yet that was the problem, for I couldn’t quite grasp just what the Gospel was. Continue reading
Anyone who reads the book of Acts comes away with the realization that Paul lived to evangelize the world. This is especially true, because Jesus himself appointed him to this task. When the risen Jesus appeared to Paul on the Damascus road, his life was forever changed. The Book of Acts recounts this event three times, with each retelling highlighting Jesus’ commissioning of Paul to evangelize the Gentiles (Acts 9:15, 22:21, 26:16–18). Because of Paul’s apostolic mission, his greatest desire was to go Rome to preach the Gospel, and then use Rome as a home base his missionary work in Spain (Rom 1:13; 15:24, 28).
This is why it so surprising that he chooses to strengthen the church in Jerusalem instead of taking advantage of evangelistic opportunities in Rome and beyond. Listen to what Paul says in 15:25–27.
At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints. For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings.
Paul chooses to go to Jerusalem, help the poor there, and to strengthen the unity between the Gentile church in Macedonia and Achaia and the Jewish church in Jerusalem. For a man controlled by his evangelistic mission this seems contrary to his life’s purpose. However, the reason Paul delayed evangelistic opportunities was because he knew that it is through a healthy and united church that the Gospel is made known to the nations (cf. Eph 3:10). Continue reading
The Cambridge Definition preamble states in part: ” the word “evangelical” has become so inclusive as to have lost its meaning. We face the peril of losing the unity it has taken centuries to achieve” (link). This crises of unity began as a small crack through asking a simple question: “Should evangelical Christians have a narrow, or broad view of partnership and cooperation for evangelism with regard to individuals or organizations that expressly deny the gospel, which evangelicals are defined by?”. That is the question raised by Billy Graham and the “cooperative Evangelism” scandal that came to divide the evangelical movement in the mid 1950’s. What was the story, and what lessons can it teach us today? Continue reading
Do you have a passion to share your faith? You do well. But do it with Discernment. One of our Elders processed the recent interaction on thecripplegate.com (one of my favourite blogs), regarding the Way of the Master, and the friendly critique it received at the 2012 Shepherd’s Conference. It is such a great example of careful reasoning and analysis that I asked him to share it with us here:
Having listened to Jesse, read all the Cripplegate articles, and now Ray Comfort’s response (all here), I thought I’d like to pass some thoughts on. Continue reading