faithpulpit

Sun, Nov 01, 1992

Evangelism That is Theological

Faith Pulpit
Faith Baptist Theological Seminary
Ankeny, Iowa
November 1992

Evangelism That is Theological


Christians hold to various opinions regarding personal evangelism. It is possible for opinions to change. Changes are sometimes based on one's understanding or even one's spiritual condition. Even though the term "evangelism" does not appear in the New Testament, the concept of evangelism is found throughout the Bible. Christians have the unique opportunity and the unequaled responsibility of introducing others to the Savior. The Gospel we proclaim by life and by lip has to do with a Person rather than a program. The Person and work of Jesus Christ should be the substantive message that is proclaimed. There may be various programs that are employed to communicate that message, but the message is Biblical in content.

A question, however, that often arises in a Christian educational setting has to do with balance in understanding. Is a study of evangelism possible without a study of theology? Does the study of theology enhance or destroy the spirit of evangelism?

It is my contention that evangelism is ineffective without theology and that theology is impotent without true evangelism. Evangelism is theology in practice. The heart of the Gospel is theological. Because some theology is presented in a dull or disinteresting way, that should not be the fault of theology. Because some evangelistic efforts appear to be shallow or superficial, that should not be the fault of evangelism. Theology and evangelism are dependent upon each other. Is an educational setting like ours conducive or crippling to personal evangelism? We try to blend study with service so that personal evangelism and personal edification develop together. There is constant need for balance.

Is evangelism a commission to perform or is it a concern to possess? Is it something you do or is it something you feel? Why can it not be both? We need theology that is thoroughly saturated with spiritual experience. We also need experience that is an outgrowth of sound theology. Sharing the gospel through personal experience should be a normal and natural outgrowth of Biblical understanding and spiritual development. Effectiveness in evangelism is more than mere salesmanship.

The message of evangelism may be summarized with 1 Cor. 15:1-4 in the words: "Christ died for our sins ... and rose again," This is the very heart of the Gospel. People need to see their need and then see how God has cared for that need. This message is divine. Mobilization of Christians in evangelistic effort is primarily and practically a theological concern. Emotionalism and trickery have little to do with effective Biblical evangelism, though I'm not against emotion.

The greatest motive in evangelism may be summarized with 2 Cor. 5:14 in the words: "the love of Christ constraineth me . . ." One of the greatest motivating factors is love. God loved the world and He gave His Son. His love for us and for others should motivate us to more effective and aggressive evangelism. If we appreciate our salvation and sense our responsibility to God, we will have a greater burden to tell others about Christ and His power to save. People are not simply ailing spiritually; they are "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1–3). We need a deep conviction that people are lost and need Christ.

Is evangelism possible apart from the local church? Though it may be possible, I have found that unattached and unauthorized evangelism is usually without permanent results. In the New Testament, local churches were the centers of evangelism.

Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary is the kind of school where students are trained in a thoroughly theological frame of reference. It is also a place to develop a deep concern for the spiritual well-being of others. Will you help us perpetuate this kind of balance?