True evangelism like we have learned from our course is sharing the good news about Jesus Christ with those who are unsaved with the aim of inviting them to accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour so they can become New Creations in Christ and disciples of Jesus Christ. However, a lot of activities are done by the church today in the name of evangelism which are not true evangelism because they do not present the message of the gospel of Christ to the sinner which is a pre-requisite for salvation. People must hear the gospel and then believe the gospel but if the gospel is not preached then there is nothing to believe. Romans 10:13-14 says “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?
Below are a few things that are commonly done today in the name of evangelism but they are not true evangelism.
1. Charitable works like feeding the hungry, giving free treatment to the sick, giving clothes to the poor and even providing educational scholarships to people are very great things to do as Christians and are avenues to share the love of Christ with the world but are not in themselves true evangelism. These kinds of charitable works can be used as channels to enable true evangelism, but they are not in themselves evangelism if we do not use these opportunities to share the gospel of Christ with the beneficiaries of the charitable works. Most times Christians engage in these charitable works as philanthropists, but God didn’t call the church to be a philanthropic organization but a light to a dark world. The light that we are shines through the preaching of the gospel and teaching of the word of God. 1 Corinthians 1:21 says that “it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe”. Without the message being preached, all charitable works are just philanthropy and have no power to save anyone.
2. Inviting people to Church: while this may be very closely tied to evangelism, it is not in itself evangelism. It is possible to invite people to church and they don’t get the gospel of Christ preached to them. In a lot of cases, some “Christians” are fixed on making people members of their church rather than focusing on making people members of the body of Christ. The end goal of true evangelism is making sinners members of the body of Christ and not just members of our church or denomination. This is not to say that inviting people to church is wrong as in many cases, people who are invited to a church where the undiluted word of God is taught eventually get the gospel preached to them and can receive Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. The difference between just inviting people to church and true evangelism is that the focus of the former is just to increase church attendance while the focus of the latter is to increase the number of disciples for the kingdom of God.
3. Preaching about morality: some Christians leave the preaching of the gospel during acts of evangelism and go about condemning peoples’ behaviours and actions. They tell people they can’t keep wearing artificial hair, make-up, trousers, and several other items or else they will go to hell. While it is good to teach modesty, modesty in looks will not make anyone a member of the family of God and so such messages are just a waste of time. Such Christians are focusing on the fruits rather than on the roots which is the unregenerated human spirit. Telling an unbeliever to try and live a holy life is like trying to make a dog walk on his 2 feet always. He may achieve it temporarily but because it is not his nature to do so, he will eventually go down on all fours. Evangelism must be focused on getting people to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ so they can be made new creations in Christ. It is only then that any preaching of holiness is relevant because the power to live holy is now present in them.