Most of evangelism today is obsessed with getting someone to make a decision; the apostles, however, were obsessed with making disciples. Those two words — decision and disciples — are behind this entire book. Evangelism that focuses on decisions short circuits and — yes, the word is appropriate — aborts the design of the gospel, while evangelism that aims at disciples slows down to offer the full gospel of Jesus and the apostles.
I’m a big fan of Scot and highly recommend just about anything he writes. For those looking for a daily read, Scot is an avid Blogger and will comment on most anything that has created buzz in the larger North American church.
At Redwood we often talk about our desire to present a holistic gospel to those still exploring Christ or their commitment to faith. The idea of demonstrating a holistic gospel has always been core to who we are as part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. A.B. Simpson the founder of the C&MA once said:
We should aim to bring all the work of God within the sphere of the church of Christ. There is room not only for the worship of God, the teaching of sacred truth and the evangelization of the lost, but also for every phase of practical philanthropy and usefulness. There may be, in perfect keeping with the simple order and dignity of the church of God, the most aggressive work for the masses and the widest welcome for every class of sinful men; the ministry of healing for the sick and suffering administered in the name of Jesus; the most complete provision for charitable relief; industrial training and social elevation for the degraded classes; workshops for the unemployed; homes for the orphaned; shelter for the homeless; missions for the heathen; and every agency needed to make the church of God the light of the world and mother of the suffering and lost.
Although this was written almost a hundred years ago and in many way the language itself may seem abrasive to some, the ideas expressed here still excite me.
The idea of a church sharing the Good News of Christ’s coming by demonstrating his love for people by trying to make every part of their lives better rings a profound chord with me. The question then is to what extent are we measuring mission by these expressions of Gospel and to what extent are we measuring mission by other definitions. Scot writes:
I believe the word gospel has been hijacked by what we believe about “personal salvation,” and the gospel itself has been reshaped to facilitate making “decisions.” The result of this hijacking is that the word gospel no longer means in our world what it originally meant to either Jesus or the apostles.
focusing youth events, retreats, and programs on persuading people to make a decision disarms the gospel, distorts numbers, and diminishes the significance of discipleship.
I’d love it if you joined in on this read with me.
Post your questions and comments here or watch for future posts as I interact with specific chapters or sections that get me thinking.