Evangelism is the hardest thing in the world & the most important thing in the world

Evangelism is probably the hardest thing in the world, and ironically, the most important thing in the world too! What a paradox in life. Most Christians feel tightened and uncomfortable when we talk about evangelism and yet we know we should be doing more evangelism. Why? Because the society is so hostile towards Christian values and faith, let alone listening to you evangelizing, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many Christians have opted for the passive Christian lifestyle evangelism. It’s like I am living out the godly life, and I show compassion to non-believers, kindness to them, and hopefully by my kind deeds, they will be open to the gospel and asked about our faith. Doesn’t that sound lame? And yet, that’s the most comfortable posture default in our lives, and we hope we can alleviate then the guilt of not fulfilling the Great Commission as in Matthew 28 :28-30 “Go and make disciples of all nations…” How can we go and make disciples, if we sit still in our posture, social life? And if we socialize, we can’t even mention God and religion in our workplace in America, because that’d be too sensitive. So where does that leave us? Christian faith has been pushed to the edges about to fall off the cliff! That’s why there are talks that its actually easier to evangelize in the third world, before the enlightenment of Europe hits a country. 

There is really nowhere to turn practically and realistically. And most have such sentiments. Except we learn the skills of bringing up God organically, naturally like Elizabeth Pippert says in her book “Stay Salt”. 

I like to take a road back to Jesus and the early church and see how they evangelized and how Christianity grew so rapidly. 

Jesus evangelized rapidly and he is a class of his own, unmatchable. His miracles drew big crowds. He doesn’t need Alfa course, he doesn’t need the 3 spiritual laws, he doesn’t need the friendship evangelism, his feeding of 5000 men and women broke the straw, his raising up the crippled on sabbath rocked the boat, his cleansing the leper shook the very fabric of the Jewish society, and the list goes on. In a passage, folks were running everywhere bringing the sick, the lame, to Jesus for him to heal them. You see, physical needs come first in everyone’s mind. One parent begged Jesus to heal his seizure boy, and he got what he wanted; one woman with years of bleeding problem and pushed her way through a crowd of men to touch Jesus only to be healed, and she did. The woman by the well, when told by Jesus that she had 5 husbands, and the man she lives with now is not her husband, was so stunned by him that she went around and told every that she’s met the Messiah! The healed, the touched, were the most effective and powerful agents of evangelism and spreading the gospel for Jesus! That’s the kind of supernatural power that spreads his name wide and deep. He needs no crusade; he needs no website announcement. His healings is the announcements, better than all Google and Facebook and Twitter combined can ever do. We the church today needs to recover that to some degree!

Then comes his amazing stunning teaching packed with authority, he speaks as one with authority, the crowds said. There is one time, Jesus went up to take the scroll and read “I have come to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord”, and then he sat down, saying today in your hearing this scripture has been fulfilled. The congregation in the synagogue was stunned, as he spoke as one with authority. You see Jesus didn’t say this is going to be fulfilled, he is saying I am the fulfillment! He is God incarnated.

There is no way for us to do what Jesus did. We can’t even agree doctrinally to believe in the gifts of healing, between the cessation’s, and the continuist. Many with great doctrinal knowledge and minds, do not believe in the gift of healing, sad. The only group that’s probably believing and exercising the gift of healing is the Pentecostal or charismatic group.  But even among them, it’s also not too easy to see healings too, though they do happen at least. People’s greatest and number one longing is their needs met. And many times, their physical and emotional needs demand the first and foremost attention.And meeting needs evangelism is actually Jesus style of evangelism, but with such power and authority! Don’t talk about the gospel, if you can’t meet their needs. And that’s why Pentecostal churches are the fastest growing churches in the world, the global south!  But of course, now that I am in seminary learning all the richness of reformed theology, I will not be satisfied with just a big size church with no depth of Christ centered teachings, cross centered teachings. 

Then we have the early church. How did they do? Did the signs and wonders stop after the 12 apostles? Did the early fathers and churches, bishops, experience miracles signs and wonders? Of course they did. 

Augustine

“In the same city of Carthage lived Innocentia, a very devout woman of the highest rank in the state. She had cancer in one of her breasts, a disease which, as physicians say, is incurable. . . . This lady we speak of had been advised by a skillful physician, who was intimate with her family, and she betook herself to God alone in prayer. On the approach of Easter, she was instructed in a dream to wait for the first woman that came out of the baptistery after being baptized and to have her make the sign of Christ upon the sore. She did so and was immediately cured” (The City of God 22:8 [A.D. 419]). [1]

Jerome

On coming thither he made the sign of the cross over the bed and fevered limbs of each [child] and called upon the name of Jesus. Marvelous efficacy of the name! . . . In that very hour they took food, recognized the mourning mother, and with thanks to God warmly kissed the saint’s hands” (Life of St. Hilarion 14 [A.D. 390]). [2]

Ambrose of Milan

During the translation a blind man was healed. . . . [Arians] deny that the blind man received sight, but he denies not that he is healed. He says: ‘I, who could not see, now see,’ and proves it by the fact. . . . He declares that when he touched the hem of the robe of the martyrs, wherewith the sacred relics were covered, his sight was restored” (Letters 22:1–2, 17 [A.D. 388]).[3]

Tertullian

“[When a scorpion stings someone’s heel] we have faith for a defense, if we are not smitten with distrust itself also, in immediately making the sign [of the cross] and adjuring and besmearing the heel with the beast. Finally, we often aid in this way even the heathen, seeing we have been endowed by God with that power which the apostle [Paul] first used when he despised the viper’s bite [Acts 28:3-5]” (Antidote Against the Scorpion 1 [A.D. 211]).[4]

Eusebius of Caesarea

This being immediately done he prayed over the water and with firm faith in the Lord commanded them to pour it into the lamps. And when they had done so, contrary to all expectation, by a wonderful and divine power the nature of the water was changed into that of oil. A small portion of it has been preserved even to our day by many of the brethren there as a memento of the wonder” (Church History 6:9:1–3 [A.D. 312]).[5]

The list goes on. Need we anymore early church proofs where early fathers opened eyes of the blind, change water into oil? Healed the sick instantly, cast out demons? All these were done not by the apostles, but by bishops, leaders, theologians like Augustine, Tertullian, Ambrose, Eusebius! Contra the Reformed teachings that says miracles and signs were works of the apostles, and after them they ceased like the canon is closed. I disagree. Tongues didn’t ceased. Healings of modern days go on, and yes Jesus says:

John 14 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Their evangelism is powered by miracles too! 


[1] https://www.catholic.com/tract/do-miracles-still-occur

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

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