August 11, 2009

Avoiding Evangelism

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:13 am by Editorial Team

I hate the word and everything about it.  I hate doing it.  I hate talking about it.   I hate thinking about it.  I hate evangelism.  And I ask myself why.  I think there are several reasons.

First, evangelism is a loaded word.  Evangelicals have given a very specific connotation to the word that is very repulsive to our culture (and not in a Biblical way).  Our definition of evangelism is incredibly meaningless — Let’s force rhetoric and Biblical text down someone’s throat and threaten them of hell so that they’ll develop a logical reason to turn to God and support the same lifestyle and ideoloy as I do.

It’s easy to whitewash Biblical text into some sense of orthodoxy devoid of any action.  When we don’t allow the Biblical narrative to come alive, we ignore the years of cultivation of relationships and hardships that lead to the growth of God’s kingdom.  Evangelism is only slightly about belief and has everything to do with a way of life, a return to the humanity which God created us for.  That’s why Christ was called the second Adam.  It wasn’t an aberration from God’s plan, but a return to it.

We’ve gotten evangelism wrong.  We’ve focused on arguments and lofty rhetoric in an attempt to point to the existence and love of God.  And it hasn’t worked.  For people to see him, it must be through us.  We must live as Christ — to live and love the gospel out in our own lives.  Then people won’t be able to help but respond to the gospel — when they see what it means to us and the Holy Spirit begins to work in their life, then we have succeeded.

Thus I reach my second reason why I hate the idea of evangelism.  I can’t just walk up to someone, tell them about God and expect them to respond, while comfortably damning them to hell if they do not respond.  I must share my life and expose myself to others.  And in doing so, I expose my imperfections and flaws.  This is not easy.  I must live a life worthy of the calling so that I may be able to share my life and embody the love of Christ.  This form of evangelism requires much more of me, and it leaves me vulnerable.

The first reason I am comfortable with.  The second one, I am not.

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