Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

Guilt Evangelism vs. Gospel Evangelism

Over the years I have often fallen prey to guilt evangelism.  I would hear a sermon on the lost and my heart would break and then I would get up, grit my teeth, and go tell someone about Jesus.  I would witness to a few folks and then my love for the lost would grow cold again.  I would read a book on hell and the horrors there and would again want to witness to people to keep them from going to that awful place.  But yet again my love for the lost would grow cold.

The problem with me was that I was motivated to share my faith by guilt and not by love.  I would have told you that I loved the lost and had compassion on them to want them to be saved but in reality, I was just feeling a bit guilty for not doing what I knew God wanted me to do and that was share my faith.   I viewed evangelism as a chore to be done and not as an act of love and mercy enabled by the gospel.

True gospel centered evangelism is not focused on sharing my faith out of guilt.  After all, I am not saved because I share my faith but because of the work of Christ.  When Jesus uttered, “It is finished” (John 19:30), what part was not finished?  He completed the work of salvation that God required and now He commands me to repent and believe the gospel (John 6:29).  God has reconciled me to Himself in His Son (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).  This salvation is based all upon Jesus Christ and His shed blood and not my own works (Ephesians 2:1-10).  While true faith works (James 2:14-26), saving faith focuses all on Jesus and the grace of God motivates me toward service (Titus 2:11-14).  True faith does obey (Matthew 7:21-27) but true faith rests in Jesus and His righteousness and not my own (Philippians 3:7-11).

Guilt evangelism and gospel evangelism are quite easy to differentiate.  Notice the contrasts:

  • Guilt evangelism focuses on numbers; Gospel evangelism focuses on the glory of God.
  • Guilt evangelism focuses on my efforts; Gospel evangelism focuses on the work of the Holy Spirit.
  • Guilt evangelism appeases my flesh and soothes my guilty conscience; Gospel evangelism recognizes that Jesus has saved me by His grace and He uses me by His grace for His glory.
  • Guilt evangelism makes me shed tears for the people; Gospel evangelism makes me shed tears for the blasphemy of God’s holy name and character.
  • Guilt evangelism leads me to sow a few seeds here and there; Gospel evangelism seeks to sow seeds in every place I go for the glory of God.
  • Guilt evangelism is focused on methods; Gospel evangelism is focused on the message of Christ.
  • Guilt evangelism leads me to pray just a bit for the lost; Gospel evangelism leads me to pray for the salvation of souls for the glory of the King.
  • Guilt evangelism places the emphasis on me, myself, and I; Gospel evangelism focuses on God alone.
  • Guilt evangelism is satisfied by witnessing to a few people; Gospel evangelism is concerned that the Lamb may receive the reward of His suffering.
  • Guilt evangelism rests in the ability of flesh; Gospel evangelism rests in the sovereignty of God.

I pray that you and I are motivated by the gospel and not by our flesh to share our faith.  From the overflow of worship of our King comes the desire to see others saved and worshiping the King (Psalm 51:10-17).  The Holy Spirit empowers us to be witnesses for Jesus (Acts 1:8).  This power comes from the Holy Spirit and not from our flesh.  The Holy Spirit enables us to be witnesses for the glory of Jesus so that the world can see our King.  Both the fear of the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:11) and the love of the Lord motivates us to be His witnesses (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).  I pray that we all would be faithful witnesses for Christ our Lord (2 Corinthians 5:20; 1 Peter 3:15-16).

Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:47; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; Romans 15:20-21; Revelation 22:17

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2 Responses

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  1. This is just a cop-out, and so many are going eat this garbage up.

    • How is this garbage? I am not advocating not sharing our faith. I am advocating being passionate about the gospel and about the Lord Jesus to share our faith. In the past I have shared my faith out of guilt with no real thought about truly honoring Christ. I wanted to just check off that I shared my faith but in reality I had no true desire to see people saved or to see Christ exalted. I just wanted to appease my guilt.

      The motivation for true evangelism must flow from hungering to glorify God above all. Do you not agree?


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