Posted by: Jonathan Stepp | December 2, 2007

4 Ways Evangelism has changed

As the reality of the gospel sinks in I find my thoughts about evangelism changing rapidly. Once I began to see the connection between the Son of God and humanity (Acts 17:28; Col. 1:16-17) I could no longer regard anyone from a “human” point view (2 Cor. 5:16.) All have died and risen in Christ (2 Cor. 5:14; Rom. 5:18.)

Here are 4 ways evangelism has changed for me:

1. The message is about who we are, not what we have to do. When I’m talking to someone who doesn’t believe I’m telling him about who he is, as an already adopted and included child of the Father. I’m not telling him what he has to do to get God on his side.

2. There’s no more “us vs. them.” It’s not a question of whether others will join “us”, there are no more divisions between people or between God and humanity (Eph. 2:14-16.) We’re all in this together, with the Father, Son, and Spirit, and this good news is the heart of evangelism.

3. “Believe” means “believe what is already true.” Traditional evangelism supposes that by our belief we have the power to create reality. If we believe then reality changes, we go from being un-adopted to adopted, we go from exclusion to inclusion. Now I realize that inclusion must logically precede belief (J.B. Torrance.) When I tell someone about Jesus I’m asking her to believe what he has already done with her life (Eph. 1:1-5.)

4 . Rejection isn’t the end of anything. Since the Father has adopted humanity into his life, through his Son, by his Spirit, our rejection of our true identity can’t change the truth about ourselves. Even those who don’t believe are still his children, and someday they will believe it (Phil. 2:10-11.)

Finally! Evangelism really feels like sharing good news!

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Responses

  1. My wife and I just returned from attending a Billy Graham School of Evangelism in North Carolina as part of our 5th wedding anniversary celebration trip. Of course, they are coming from a perspective of seeing humanity as “saved” and “lost” spiritually. But beyond that, we were impressed with the heartfelt compassion for people in their blindness today – for the hopelessness of young people that can express itself in horrific violence, or in giving away their bodies to those that are only abusing them for a few minutes of counterfeit intimacy, the only intimacy they think is available. I fully believe that compassion is from Jesus, and I want to give myself to that compassion. When I heard of that six or seven year old girl in Detroit shielding her wounded mother from her ex-boyfriend, taking SIX bullets and SURVIVING, my heart nearly bursts from the hurt of what that child is going through, something NO child should ever face! The Good News is the Good Love that this world needs, and we get the awesome privelege to share it! Jesus WANTS us to be His hands and feet to deliver it, and help wipe away the tears of today.

  2. I couldn’t agree more. Even though we have great hope because we know all are in Christ (Col 1:19-20) we also have a great burden because we know their blindness to that reality is causing tremendous suffering! The realization that all are included in Christ makes me more excited to tell them about their adoption, not less!


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