What is Evangelism?

2004/06/14 at 15:40

I’ve been moved recently by some blog entries by others about faith. One of them is “The Death of Evangelism” by fellow Pflugervillean and acquaintance of mine Matthew Sturges. In the essay, Matt ponders that term that scares so many mainstream Christians. Matt writes:

By “evangelism,” of course, I’m referring to the practice of spreading the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus. Already you’re cringing even reading the words, perhaps? Don’t feel bad–it’s a natural reaction. I’ll explain why in a moment. What’s important to note if you’re not up on your New Testament is that in three of the four Gospels, Jesus clearly gives a command to his disciples to baptize people and spread his teachings to all the nations of the world. A lot of Christians hate that part. Most of the people I know that consider themselves believers wouldn’t evangelize someone if their life depended on it, and certainly wouldn’t have the audacity to go up to some Buddhist and tell him that he was barrelling down the offramp to perdition.
. . .
So what’s the alternative? . . . The best answer I have, and I am not alone in this sentiment, is that Christians must evangelize by example. If I behave as I think a Christian ought, then my actions and my demeanor will be those of love and peace and acceptance. When people see that I am imbued with these qualities, they may ask me why. Or if they know a little bit about me and they see that I’m neither a strident moralist or an intense maniac, and that the people I know are also not that way, they might wonder if maybe religion isn’t necessarily a bad thing after all. “I mean,” they’ll say, “look at Matt over there. He believes in God, and he’s not a total tool. He’s not brainwashed. He appears to be free from moral absolutism. And he really seems pretty happy. Hmm. Maybe there’s something to this after all.”

In other words, Walk the Walk. Go read Matt’s entire essay; it’s very well written and insightful.