I believe in the proper evangelism to the ends of the earth. I wish I were more evangelistic. I often find myself looking back in hindsight thinking of ways I could have said something differently or transitioned into the Gospel during a casual conversation. I tell you this so that you understand I do not write this to brag about my own evangelistic efforts. With that said, I do want to point out a few things about evangelism and missions.
First, without evangelism and missions we will never fulfill the great commission of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Second, all believers should witness to others. We should not have a mentality that some are called to evangelism while others are not. All Christians should engage in evangelism as one beggar telling another beggar where to find food.
Third, I believe that we should share the Gospel accurately. The Gospel necessarily includes the need for a savior and the love of a God who paid the debt I could not pay. Some overemphasize the love of God without ever mentioning the sinfulness of mankind. Others overemphasize the law and the depravity of mankind without sharing enough about the love which covers our sin. Proper evangelism addresses both our need and Christ’s love. Proper evangelism does not manipulate, but it does invite. Proper evangelism, does not deceive but it does plead.
Fourth, I believe that we have created a false dichotomy between missions and evangelism. I don’t see this distinction in the New Testament and although I readily admit the distinction is logical, I believe that evangelism should take you all over the world and missions cannot occur without evangelism. The two necessarily depend on each other.
Lastly, I believe we have also created a false dichotomy between evangelism and discipleship. Perhaps this distinction led to or relates to the Lordship Salvation controversy. However, the great commission commands us to first “make disciples” which is evangelism. What we usually consider to be discipleship occurs in “teaching them to obey all things that I have commanded you.” Making disciples is evangelism–teaching people to obey all things is sanctification and spiritual maturity.
I have been reading a lot of L.R. Scarborough in preparation for Southwestern Seminary’s 100 year anniversary. His inaugural sermon impressed me greatly. The fact that he considered “calling out the call” (encouraging people to commit to vocation service) part of evangelism enlightened me. The fact that he titled his book Recruits for World Conquests inspired me. His passion for evangelism excited me. He exemplified the “chair of fire” which he held and set an example worth imitating. I pray that God will raise up hundreds of Scarborough’s to reach the world for Christ. I pray that God will help me to be more evangelistic and give our churches a passion for sharing the Gospel all over the world. I pray that we will see the fulfillment of the great commission in my lifetime. These are but a few of the reasons that I believe in proper evangelism to the ends of the earth.