Recently I heard someone say that they were referred to as having a view of passive evangelism. The individual contended on the fact that his view of evangelism is passive and that we can in essence evangelize much better with our testimony rather than any other form of Evangelism. Now could this form of Evangelism possibly be correct? Can a Christian really reap the harvest of souls and lead a soul to the footsteps of Calvary through passive Evangelism? I have also heard others say that our form of Evangelism in our time should change because “it is dangerous to go from house to house knocking on doors?
Now before I get deeper into this discussion, I want to point out what Passive Evangelism is. There are many definitions and terms used today to describe passive evangelism. One word that is widely accepted for passive evangelism is LOVE. Many contend today that we must have a love attitude when it comes down to Evangelism. Now there is no doubt in my mind that this would indeed be a very wise thing to do. Does not the scripture tell us: “…speaking the truth in love…” (Ephesians 4:15) Without love there would be no Evangelism. Because what is the driving force for Evangelism? Love! Love is the ultimate factor for a Christian having the desire to evangelize and take this Gospel into all the world (Matthew 24:14).
Others have used the term “non-judgmental” when it comes down to passive evangelism. Some have said that we must be wise as to not pass judgment on any individual or group of people in order not to offend them. There are many other terms that we can use, but for the sake of space we will stick to these two terms “love” and “non-judgmental” when describing passive Evangelism.
This sort of Evangelism has taken ahold of many Christians and churches today. Many organizations use the tactic of community outreach in order to win souls and get the people from their surrounding areas to see who they are and thus they will be drawn to join them in their church. But do these tactics really work? I believe that many today have a distorted misconception when it comes to Evangelism. We are made to think that community outreach or feeding the homeless or participating in a retirement home will somehow help us gain favor with God and thus we will be fulfilling our duties as Christians.
But have these community outreaches really favored churches today? Have souls really been drawn to a spirit of conviction from their sinful state? Or have we passively evangelized them into feeling a sense of community, but not a sense and desire to leave their sinful life behind and turn to the cross of Christ and redemption through His blood.
The individual mentioned before that he would “rather have his testimony be that tool of evangelism.” This is something that I have heard many Christians say today. Many believe that there is no need for active street evangelism anymore and that because of our busy lives we are called to evangelize in our work places by the lives we live. Now I agree 100% not just in our work places but we are to evangelize with our lives anywhere and everywhere and at all times. There is no better form of evangelism then our lives as a living testimony. But is that all that it takes in order to evangelize? Could it be true that because of the times we live in that active street evangelism is no longer effective? I would disagree 1000% yes one thousand percent.
I believe this form of passive evangelism is very dangerous and if we do not stand against it, it can lead us to become a very non-mission, non-harvest type of Christian and many churches if they haven’t already, will lose a desire to win souls for Christ. Now please don’t misunderstand me, I completely understand that we cannot save a soul, because only Jesus has the power to do so. But we have a message that we are supposed to take to this world. Did not Christ tell us before his departure: “…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:15-16)
Passive evangelism when used as an excuse to not actively evangelize is dangerous! Some that have taken to this “non-judgmental” attitude are like a virus infecting other Christians and thus many churches today have lack of the power of the Holy Ghost because we have no desire to see souls saved. Many of these people that practice passive evangelism share the same notions when it comes to this subject. Many indeed share the desire to see souls saved but without them having to pay a price or sacrifice from their comforts of daily living in order to see this accomplished. Others believe that the old way of evangelizing such as door to door knocking, gospel tracks, crusades, revivals are of no use to the Christian today and that we live in a more intellectual world. Here again I must insert that I disagree 100%.
Furthermore I believe this form of passive evangelism is what will lead many more Christians and churches today toward apostasy. Many use the term today of love so loosely, saying such things as “we must love people and not judge them.” The word “offend” is so widely used in the midst of churches and individuals. Preach the gospel they say “but don’t offend.” Could it be because I am young in age but “old school” at heart? Maybe so or maybe not; all I know is that if we love souls, we will love them enough to tell them the truth of the matter and show them with the Word of God the need to turn from their sinful life towards the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
Some have said that the old school way of preaching “fire & brimstone” is of no avail today and only drove people to fear God instead of accepting his grace. To this notion I say “you are wrong”. Many of us that were raised under this type of preaching experienced, Holy Ghost revivals, divine healings, liberations and a full Gospel with full power. To say that people need the grace of God today is correct but not at the expense of robbing souls of the true experience of reverence to God through His love and mercy and preaching of His full gospel.
Now all this brings me to break down evangelism into three distinct parts that I believe can be applied to us today in these final hours before the coming of Christ. It is important to note that there are many distinct forms of evangelism, but I will just be pointing out these three which in my opinion can help us formulate the effective way evangelism can be used in all aspects of our daily lives.
This sort of evangelism is widely used, because it is seen, heard and accepted while we are in service. Pulpit evangelism is when the preacher or speaker whatever term you desire to use, preaches the Word of God under the anointing of the Holy Ghost when the sole purpose of bringing to the congregation what God desires. This sort of evangelism takes prayer and fasting and the removing oneself from the spot light in order to give way and all authority to the Spirit of God to bring comfort, conviction, edification to the souls present.
The words the Apostle Paul used to express the preparation to evangelize in this format was clearly outlined to young Timothy in his second letter. “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:1-5)
Though Timothy was called to be a Pastor of a local congregation and though this great responsibility fell upon him, it was written for all of us that have experienced the born again experience of salvation. We are to be ready to evangelize at all seasons, instant in season and also out of season. We must be ready to rebuke, (even though many today say “don’t do it, you will offend others”) reprove, exhort and all of this must be done with long suffering and doctrine and let me add with love.
Active & Organized Evangelism
This evangelism calls for one on one interaction. Not all of us have been called to be preachers, evangelists and missionaries, but we have a responsibility to proclaim the truth. Active and Organized evangelism is the purest I believe form of evangelism, because it involves us leaving our comfort zones and moving towards the outside of our communities with the sole purpose of proclaiming the gospel. Now there is indeed a danger of turning this into a community outreach event and thus we tend to lose the fact of the matter. Now don’t get me wrong I am all for community outreach and helping the less fortunate because that is our Samaritan calling as a Christian and follower of Christ. But! We must remember that any event we plan must be with the sole purpose of drawing dyeing souls to Christ. Too much time is spent today in youthful activities and other variations of outing and we tend to forget our sole purpose of being Christians and the message of the cross that must be proclaimed at all times and at all opportunities that may be present to us.
Is it that we have used passive evangelism as a way of demonstrating to Christ that we are ashamed of the Gospel? Do we feel that active and organized evangelism is of no use? Let us look at what the Gospel of Mark had to say concerning this. “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38)
This is pre-planned Evangelism: Planning in agreement with the Holy Spirit to go out literally and approach a total stranger in love to share the Gospel with them. Any time you go out in obedience to God and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others you are acting in love. Why? Because love is not a feeling but a decision of the will. Love is not based on feelings, but is a decision of the will. Jesus said in John 14:15, If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. When the Bible tells us that we are to love God with all our hearts it is not talking about feeling love for God. It means making a deliberate decision against our normal feelings and nature to walk in obedience to God. Paul tells us in the Bible about our human nature:
“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Galatians 5:17).
To plan and take two hours of our time a week to go out and share our faith with total strangers is not only an act of love toward Jesus, but the greatest act of love we can show any man or woman. Why? Because there is a heaven and a Hell and men and women will go to hell if they do not know Jesus. The late Walter Martin, who wrote many books on how to witness to Christian cults, said, “How can a person say he believes in Hell and not take time in his week to go out and share his faith with others?”86 His point was how can we say we believe that heaven and hell are an absolute reality and not warn our fellow men in love of the wrath to come unless we are not really believers? The apostle Paul believed that heaven and hell are absolute realities so much so that speaking about what motivated his life, he wrote,
“We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;” (2 Corinthians 4:13)
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.” (2 Corinthians 5:10-11)
Did you ever wonder why God gave Paul so much space in the Bible? He wanted us to learn from his example and do the same.
Men who do not know Jesus WILL go to hell, FOREVER. Because of this reality, taking time in our busy week to go and share our faith with others is the greatest act of love we can show anyone. Evangelism is the responsibility of all Christians. (1)
The Apostle states “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)
The circumstances of this type of Evangelism is working next to someone eight hours a day. To just come on immediately aggressively with an Evangelism Tract or some other type of Gospel presentation would be awkward, unnatural, and probably received as such by the recipient. To be an effective witness on the job involves the observation and practice of five elements: Work, Pray, Wait, Love, and Witness with positive results.
First, realize that witnessing your faith with fellow employees and employers or a neighbor is a privilege earned, not a right. So we witness first on the job by the way we WORK and relate to them on the natural plane as a Christian. If you are not witnessing Jesus in the way you work and in the way you relate to your fellow employees and employers on the natural plane, your verbal witness will fall on deaf ears.
We earn the right to share our faith with fellow employees and employers by first being a witness through being a good employee. Paul states in Colossians 3:23, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” The writer of Proverbs states in Proverbs 18:9, “He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.” And Jesus said in Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Second, make a prayer list of your fellow employees and employers and begin PRAYING for them that Jesus will tear down the strongholds of Satan over their hearts and minds that are keeping them from seeing that Jesus is the answer to their life and needs and to surrender to Him as Savior and Lord of their lives. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4, 10:3-5).
The Bible teaches us that our struggle is not against flesh and blood. Our battle is not with people but with … but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Therefore, before men will be able to hear what we have to say, we will need to first bind those forces which are blinding them and ask the Lord to uncloud their minds so they can see the truth of the Gospel and recognize their need to accept Jesus as Savior from their sins and as Lord of their lives. Paul wrote,
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12) (2)