Monday, March 1, 2010

some thoughts on evangelism

"For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a wordly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin fo rus, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
--2 Corinthians 5:14-21

I'm not going to break this passage apart too much, but I think there are some important things we can get out of it about why we share the good news of Christ. First, exactly like it says: 'For Christ's love compels us.' We share because we are compeled to, because Christ's love for us makes it necessary that we do so. Later, it says 'we implore you.' We beg you, we beseech you.

Compel, implore. This is pretty urgent language. I think this is what was trying to be communicated Friday night, and I agree with that completely. At some point--and probably at many points--we will hear messages about 'what if you wake up tomorrow and get in a car accident?' or 'what if your friend dies suddenly?' and either you've never accepted Christ or your friend hasn't.

BUT--and I think this part is important and needs to be very clear--salvation is the Lord's and the Lord's only. The eternal souls of the people we care about and of anyone are not in our hands. We are called to share the gospel, yes. 'On Christ's behalf.' We are commanded to go and make disciples. If we love our neighbor, we will also share Christ with him, and we do so no because God needs us to, not because if we don't we're condemning people to hell, but because we have a chance to be a part of glorifying God. If we don't, God will still be glorified, his plans will still be made complete and perfect, we just might have forfeited our part there. Like in Luke 19, if no one praises the Lord, then even 'the stones will cry out.'

I don't say this to say that we don't have to evangelize. We do. The Bible is very clear about this. Matthew 28:19-20, 2 Timothy 4:1-5, all through Acts and a bunch of other places. However, if anyone tells you that if you don't do this and this, then so-and-so will reject Christ and it is your fault, then I would respond to him: the Bible does not say that. Yes. We are called to share the gospel. We are compeled to do so. But not out of guilt and fear, and it is no more in our power to condemn than to save. And our God is so much bigger than that. He can't save this person if we don't do this and this? True that they can still reject him, but the only person who can reject God is that person. And in fact, I'd say that God's more about using how imperfectly we share the gospel in our words and how we live. You see? It's not in our power. 2 Cor. 12:9: "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the moer gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

So. Please don't misunderstand me. I thought Friday was wonderful. And I thought the intentions were to glorify the Lord, to call people to share the good news, and these are wonderful things. However, they are because of Christ's love, not out of fear or guilt: "For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." 2 Timothy 1:7 And the great thing about Friday? The message could have been either of those things, it could have been the best message ever or a train wreck and still God would use it! He is, he already is!

And to that I would say: praise God. Praise God that he is working good things out of everything we give him and that he will be glorified. And that's what we want to do. We just want to glorify God.


  1. Sara, i found this very encouraging :) wish i could've been at the Revival!

  2. i'm so glad =) it makes me really happy to read that.

  3. Just letting you know... Dylan didn't mean to scare us into sharing the Gospel with people at UNCW. The point of the surveys were to open people's eyes to what's really going on on our campus. There are hundreds of people that don't know Christ. He wasn't trying to use a scare tactic at all.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Hey Keelee =) Oh goodness, I was worried when I wrote this that someone would think I meant that. I tried to be clear how I wrote it. That's not what I mean at all. I thought the surveys were great. Pneuma does that all the time and I wish more of us did--it's a great way to start conversation. And I thought Dylan's talk was great. He seems like a good speaker and yes yes yes, we have to be sharing the gospel with the campus. The numbers don't lie. I was so glad he shared that.

    I think about stuff with evangelism all the time--it's sort of my job that I don't get paid for, my other job, or whatever you call it--and so I'm particularly sensitive this kind of thing. It was the way he worded it that was a little off to me. Intentional? I don't think so at all. I think the intention was to wake people up, both Christians who aren't sharing the gospel and Christians who are wishy-washy about living what they believe. And I think for most people that's exactly what they heard, which is great. About half the people I talked to felt that way. However, the other half did notice some of the wording. "If you're not this and this, this person will reject Christ and it will be your fault." I remember he was talking to 'wishy washy Christians' here. My objection? God is bigger and we don't share because we're scared people will go to hell, but because God loves them so much. I don't think he was trying to guilt anyone at all. But we can't share because we're afraid that such and such will happen. Love, not fear. Again, I don't think this was intentional, but it's the sort of thing that I believe is super important to be clear about. I hope that makes sense. If not I'd love to have coffee or something sometime, hear what you think and all of that =)

    I'm glad I came. Students here tend to be so passive sometimes so it's so exciting to see a bunch of students passionate and doing something, especially for Jesus.