Thoughts on Evangelism


For my current Apologetics and Outreach class at Covenant Seminary, we are required to read The Heart of Evangelism, by the professor teaching the class, Jerram Barrs.  In the few lectures we have had thus far, this book seems mirror in large part the content of the lectures.  Here is a personal thought about speaking to different groups about the Gospel: I have always been put off by the street evangelism style that seemed to train its evangelists to learn a single memorized presentation of the Gospel as a one-size-fits-all method.  Guys tried to recruit me into this style in bible studies or other settings but I never felt comfortable with that tactic.  In the chapter about Memorized Summaries of the Gospel, Prof. Barrs covered some of the differences in evangelizing to different groups of people.  We have good biblical precedent to be prepared to speak to different groups of people about the Gospel in different ways that are tailored to the particulars of that audience.  Of course there is a core of the Gospel that is unchanged from audience to audience but surely the significance of certain aspects of Christ’s salvation are going to need more emphasis when talking to a Jew versus a Mormon, versus a Muslim, versus a Wiccan, etcetera!  I have discussed the Gospel just enough with people of other faiths to know that preparing to talk to one of these versus another is a very different process in regards to which particular aspects of orthodox faith in Christ need to be brushed up on before discussion.  Sun Tzu is popularly quoted as having said, “know thy enemy.” [1]  I would adapt this for Christian purposes to say, “know thy neighbor.” I am reminded that evangelism should be as relationally specific as the rest of our lives.  Say our neighbor needs a shovel.  We would be unwise to then offer a rake.  It is not a particularly loving thing to do to not take the time to recognize his need and seek to meet it accordingly.

[1] The quote is actually “know [the] other” not enemy but in context, the word enemy can be inferred.

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About JJardin

Jesus, family, friends, music, food, movies, video games...yep, that about covers it.
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2 Responses to Thoughts on Evangelism

  1. Dj Shape says:

    I am just getting to chapter 26 “memorizing summaries of the gospel” … I agree that it is important to give you neighbor a shovel when he wants a shovel – but I think it is also important not to predetermine our neighbors needs. Barrs stresses the different was of simply loving our neighbor first. I don’t have very much evangelism experience so I am not good on this yet– but I do know how it feels when people think they know something about me before they know me — if that makes sense. I might simply add “love thy neighbor to know him.”

    Thanks for the post! Great insight.

    • hallsofgreen says:

      Good point Steve! You are right about the emphasis of Barrs. This is kind of a trickle down thought for me. I want to try to act in motivation of love for my neighbor. If I love him, I want to recognize his need and if possible, meet his need where it is and hopefully not just where I feel like helping. Predetermining our neighbors need is most definitely a bad idea and pretty inconsiderate. Thanks for stopping by brother!

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