Arminian Today

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Measuring Evangelism by Pragmatism

It seems that many want to measure the failure or success of evangelism based purely on numbers.  How many people were saved (said the “sinner’s prayer”) or how many have you added to your church?  Do you think your evangelism is effective?  Do you believe there is a better way to tell others about Christ?  All of these questions are pragmatic in nature and are designed to put the faithful, hungry Christian who is sharing their faith in a corner to which they must answer that their efforts are in vain in comparison to the seeker model or some other pragmatic means.

The pivotal issue is not about the results.  The pivotal issue regarding evangelism is that we must ask ourselves four questions (and I am borrowing these from Jon Speed’s short booklet, Evangelism in the New Testament):

1.  Was the true gospel proclaimed?

2.  Was the true gospel understood?

3.  Was Christ glorified?

4.  Was the attitude of the Christian godly as they communicated the gospel (2 Timothy 2:24-26; cf. 1 Corinthians 13)?

I have been asked about my own forms of evangelism.  I enjoy passing out gospel tracts, doing more one-on-one witnessing (confrontational evangelism) and I am about to start carrying a cross in our town near the busy streets to hopefully do some open air preaching and witnessing.  The first question someone will ask is, “Do you think that is effective?”

But again, I point back to the issue of faithfulness to the gospel.  God is the One who saves the lost (John 6:44) and He is the One who opens the eyes of the unbelievers by His grace.  Salvation is the work of God (John 1:12-13; Ephesians 2:8-9) and He saves those who believe the gospel by His grace.  The Lord is the One who adds to His Church (Acts 2:47).  The Lord is the One who saves and not preachers (1 Corinthians 3:5-9).  The Lord does use the preaching of His Word to save the lost (Romans 10:14-17) and He has commanded His Church to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20) but He is the Savior and not us.  Our duty is to be faithful to Him as Lord.  We are not to measure evangelism by our numbers.  We must allow the Spirit of God to measure the success of our efforts in eternity (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Evangelism is not about building up our churches or our name.  It is about exalting the Lord Jesus.  The Lord Jesus is the One who gave His life for our sins (Galatians 1:4).  Our passion is for His glory and not ours.  Whether I pass out gospel tracts to 10 or to 10,000, I want Jesus to be exalted.  Whether I stand on the corner with my gospel cross and witness to 1 or 100, I only want Jesus to be exalted.  My first and ultimate priority is to be faithful to Jesus and allow Jesus to be exalted through my feeble efforts.  I will not get into the pragmatic questions of whether I am successful or not.  That is not the issue.  If numbers are a sign of success, the cults are doing something right.  However, the ultimate desire for the faithful disciple of Jesus is to be faithful to Him and exalt His name (Philippians 1:20-21).

So my witnessing friends, be faithful (Revelation 2:10).  Focus on pleasing Jesus above all else and make Him your goal, your passion, your gospel.  Let us preach Christ and Him crucified above all else (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).



Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/07/2013 at 2:19 PM

One Response

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  1. What I find fascinating is the number of times Jesus has people more or less begging for Him to tell them about salvation and He just throws bizarre stuff at them. It seems He tries to drive them away many times (John 6-8 comes to mind). I have never seen this tactic proposed in evangelistic books or sermons and I have often wondered why. I suppose it has to do with Jesus knowing hearts or something. “The sinner’s prayer” Gospel is sales and the prayer is the signing of the contract so the evangelist gets his commission. Jesus didn’t seem to come anywhere near this approach.


    07/07/2013 at 6:41 PM

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