Reformed Reflections

Why Evangelize?

Is evangelism still necessary in our modern times? On the surface it may not seem necessary. We are people "come of age." We are surrounded by fantastic symbols of wealth and are continually thrilled by the new scientific achievements. The technological advancements have made the world into a village; and, especially in the field of medicine, the modern findings promise to prolong and ease life. Yet, in this time of unlimited opportunities for human advancement, men are gripped by the dread of the future. Racial strife scars many nations. Mental illness takes its toll in this age of greatly increased social security. The breakdown of family life has become a common rather than an unusual factor in society.

Must a Christian evangelize? Yes! The Christian believes that the church must evangelize fervently, as there has never been such a spiritual need as today!

What is evangelism? Evangelism is seriously considered by some to be anything from working with the Red Cross to the Peace Corps. Evangelism is not the building of high-rise apartments in a community. It is not participating in a civil rights march or student

demonstrations. It is not helping an old lady across the street. It is not helping draft dodgers. This new theology of evangelism is not Biblical.

Evangelism "is to relate the saving truths of God to a sinner." It is to bring the message of hope to lost sinners. The evangelical church is convinced that it possesses the only hope for mankind, the hope revealed dynamically in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Christian does not participate in the work of evangelism as a hobby or because he wants to present one solution among the many for the solving of world problems.

A Christian is not a politician but an ambassador for Jesus Christ. He has the duty to tell men what God's message is for today, and not what men like to hear. The message of the Scripture claims to be the only Word for men today. There is no other word of God to men. First, the message of the evangelist is that men need to know their sinful condition, that they are under God's wrath as long as they remain in rebellion to God. Second, men need to know that Jesus Christ is able to save the whole of men. Jesus Christ has come to save men from themselves and the consequences of sin – hell.

Third, Jesus Christ lays claim upon the saved sinners. They are no longer their own but Christ's. Therefore, their outlook on life ought to be Biblically formed.

Evangelism is not only the Christian's duty, but also his privilege. Many people today are whistling in the dark, hoping against hope for a better and a new world under the leadership of "enlightened" men. The Christian's hope is founded upon the fact of Christ's resurrection and the promises of anew life which this fact contains.

Why evangelize? "We have the high privilege of telling others that they, too, may share in this hope if they will agree with God's judgment on their revolt against Him yield completely to the lordship of Jesus Christ, and offer their lives to Him in grateful obedience."

Johan D. Tangelder
April, 1972