Cynical About Evangelism

If you’ve grown a bit tired of or even a bit cynical about traditional public evangelism, read on because I can certainly relate. It was not until I had been in ministry many years that I preached my first series of meetings. Having recently completed another series, I’ve been contemplating three reasons why I support the Great Commission to “go into all the world and preach the gospel." They are profoundly simple yet simply profound.

Practical and Credible

After studying and preaching again our basic fundamental beliefs, I stand back in awe and say, “Wow, praise God, they are fantastic!” C.S. Lewis said that the thing he disliked the most with the Bible was the concept of an everlasting hell—but he couldn’t get past it. And we’ve got the answer. A world view of the great controversy with a victorious loving God. And whether it is our belief of death being a sleep, or the Sabbath rest, or the ministry of Christ in a heavenly sanctuary, or any of the other Biblical concepts, one must agree they are practical and credible. It may be time to personally discover these wonderful beliefs again...for the first time.

Theological Cafeteria

All of our 27 fundamental beliefs (soon to be 28) logically tie together. Or as Ellen G. White said, there is a “golden thread” that connects our doctrines. Each one builds upon another. Take away one, and they lose their united power. Many were rediscovered reformation truths under further guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is not some great theological cafeteria with 27 dishes to pick and choose from. They must hang together, or our message will lose its power.

Teamed with God

Finally, during my recent series, an incredible realization hit me. If I were God and had a 10,000 voice choir, would I use local musicians to sing my praises? If I were God and had angel artists that could color a sunset or paint a mountain landscape, would I use computer graphics? If I were God and had Moses and Elijah, would I allow people like me to faltingly share my final message of hope to a world headed for destruction? I must respond and humbly say, "Thank you God for allowing us the privilege of being a part of Your evangelistic team."

Personal Commitment

It is exciting to see the renewed commitment to evangelism by Northwest Adventists overseas and here at home. Part of that support I am certain comes from the realization that today’s public evangelism is Christ-centered, dynamically illustrated and culturally sensitive. I encourage you to be supportive of public evangelism as one successful way God is still using to build His kingdom.

One of our great evangelists of yesteryear, Fordyce Detamore, was once encouraging people not to be deterred by the critics of public evangelism. He quipped, “Don’t let the crabs discourage you from pulling in the nets.” Still good counsel today as we renew our support of evangelism.

June 01, 2004 / Editorial