Evangelism's Meaning
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6. Evangelism's Meaning

Sharing Your Faith

Holy BibleJesus explains the meaning of "evangelism" in the "Great Commission" of Matthew 28.18-20. He says to his disciples, "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." The call to the disciples is to go and evangelize all nations. They spread out, in due time, from Jerusalem into all parts of the Roman Empire.

Meaning of Evangelism

FishermanThe Apostle Paul explains further the personal work of the evangelist in Philemon 1.6. He writes, "I pray that as you share your faith with others, they may see the wealth of good things in you that come from Christ the Lord." The Living Bible version is more transparent, "And I pray that as you share your faith with others, it will grip their lives too, as they see the wealth of good things in you that come from Christ Jesus." Again in 2 Timothy 4.5, Saint Paul writes to his colleague Timothy, "But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry."

Becoming a Christian

WikipediaEvangelism is an activity whereby a Christian presents Jesus' Good News and explains it to a non-Christian to encourage them to commit themselves to become a Christian. "The meaning of 'evangelist' comes from the "Simple Greek" word 'euangelion' and the Latin 'Evangelium.'" The Greek word was the ordinary people's universal language called Koine Greek. Evangelism is, therefore, the process whereby people become Christians!

Sensitively Sharing

Ed HirdThe Rev Ed Hird of St Simon's Anglican Church North Vancouver, British Columbia, writes about Canadian Christian evangelism. "Evangelism is sensitively sharing your faith in Jesus Christ, dead and risen, so that others may be able to accept him as Lord and Savior, in the Church's fellowship." Dr. D. T. Niles of Ceylon (1908-1970) gave us a simple and yet more profound meaning for "evangelism." He wrote that evangelism is "One beggar telling another beggar where there is food." D. T. Niles was born in Northern Ceylon and became a pastor and official in the Ceylon Methodist Church. The 1918 Archbishop's Commission gives us a theological definition of evangelism. It explains, "Evangelism is to present Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit's power, that people should come to put their trust in God through him, to accept him as their Savior, and to serve Him as their King in the church's fellowship." In today's terms, all people, whether men or women, boys or girls, should follow Christ.

God's Saving Act

Rowan WilliamsThe former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams (1950-present), who has interestingly now become Baron Williams of Oystermouth, sums up "evangelism" as, "Finding out what God is doing and joining in." Archbishop Williams speaks three languages and reads nine more! I like his definition most of all! Finally, at the General Synod in Peterborough, Ontario, in 1980, Bishop Conlin explained that evangelism means, "To bring the knowledge of God's saving act in Christ to our neighbor. To do evangelism well, we must ourselves feel the message's importance. We must have the desire to share it, and we must have the skill to say it effectively."

"Evangelism's Meaning"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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