Sunday, June 26, 2011

False Dichotomy of Evangelism and Discipleship

Many times I will hear people say that we must be very simple in our approach to evangelism.  It seems as though people even think that there must be a certain dumbing-down of the Bible in order to be effective in sharing the gospel.  The gospel is simple, but it is not easy.  While it is true that there are some conversations that are better discussed among more mature believers, it also must be realized that a good evangelist will present the whole counsel of God.  Please remember that Timothy was instructed that doing the work of an evangelist involved teaching sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:2-5).  It is also interesting to note that the word euangelion from which we get evangelism is not a verb but a noun.  It means the good news and it is something we do only because it is first something we have.  The command to make disciples however demands action.  It must be lived out and the only way to make disciples is to teach sound doctrine.  I am afraid that in our quest to do evangelism we have created churches full of people who are gathering around the lowest common denominator instead of cherishing the truths of Christ.  We probably do not need to discuss five theories of the Atonement, four views on Creation, or dating the book of Exodus, or argue the points of Dort versus Arminianism (you get the point) with someone to whom we are witnessing, but we must not neglect the whole counsel of God either.  The attributes of God, the sinfulness of man, the person and work of Christ, the truth of Scripture all must be a part of making disciples.  I cannot find anywhere in the Bible that evangelists or prophets were hurriedly attempting to get people to simply repeat some words of prayer after them and then declare those people as saved.  I do think prayer is important and it is good to pray with people who are making a decision to follow Christ, but making disciples is more than that.  I was saved from my sin because Jesus died on the cross for me and He used a preacher who taught the Bible to declare this truth.  As the preacher expositionally taught God's Word I realized that I was a liar and the truth was not in me. He did not shy away from declaring the whole counsel of God's Word.  He taught deep theological truth and never dumbed-down the message.  May we do the same and may the Lord add to our number those who are being saved.

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