Evangelism: Gospelizing the Gospel
In light of the comments on my last evangelism post, I thought I should elaborate a bit and take it one step further. The main concern I think after reading through the comments is two-fold. One, that evangelism has always existed using words. Which Tom you are right, I worded that poorly. The point I was trying to make was that evangelism it seems has been separated from our actions. So before when it was words and actions, now it seems like just words are ok. The second was by Dom, and he concludes that if you aren’t willing or acting upon the gospel this isn’t a sign of weakness it is a sign that you are not following Jesus.
Great comments. I think both help them strengthen my point. Noticeable in movements such as that with Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron, evangelism has been separated from evangelism as a life. We train our students, our congregations how to defend the faith, argue people into the kingdom, but we fail at teaching them how to live the faith and love people. Obviously I’m making broad comments here. I’m not trying to pin every church down with these posts by any means. I still remember quite clearly growing up in church though how many people were telling me ways I could shut down the abortion, homosexuality and evolution debate. All so I could come out showing them the truth. If I got lucky I would be made fun of and feel as if I was being persecuted for the faith, and then I could run back to my church family and tell them the story and they would be proud of me for not being ashamed.
Dr. Penner at Tyndale in our Greek class last year taught us something that has always stuck out to me. I’ll do my best at explaining it. The Greek word for that we translate into ‘preaching’ euaggelizo (v) comes from the root of the Greek word euaggelion(n) which means the gospel. The (v) and (n) are for verb and noun. He said that when euaggelizo (v) is translated its almost always translated into ‘preach’ (the Greek word is found all over the New Testament. But in actuality, it needs to be thought of as not preaching, but if the English language would allow me to make up a word, well allow Dr. Penner to make up a word, he would say it would more accurately be translated as gospelizing. This is once again, not to discredit words. They come of great value, but I think we need to realize that words alone aren’t and will not cut it.
Instead of just preaching the gospel its time that we start gospelizing the gospel. That sounds awfully redundant but it makes sense. The authors using this word as a verb knew that they weren’t just invoking people to run around and preaching. The authors that used this word knew that what they were saying was directly related to the word that meant the gospel. The authors were not saying to simply go preach. They were telling people to go and gospelize the gospel. This means bringing the good news to the ends of the earth, and sometimes the good news is a lot more than a sermon.