Note: This is part of our current series “Correcting our Misconceptions about Evangelism” adapted from Larry Moyer’s book 21 Things God Never Said. See also: “Only Those with an Evangelism Gift Need to Evangelize (Part 1).”
Misconception: Not all believers are expected to evangelize, just those gifted in evangelism.
In my last post, I discussed the common misconception that only those gifted in evangelism need to evangelize. To understand this misconception, five questions need to be answered. I answered questions 1–3 in my last post and today I’ll answer questions 4–5.
4. In light of the biblical evidence indicating otherwise, why would anyone deny the need to be involved in evangelism?
Why then would a person say, “Not all believers are expected to evangelize—just those gifted in evangelism?” One reason, as we’ve observed, is a misapplication of Ephesians 4:11. Experience has taught me, though, that there is a more prominent reason.
Many feel guilty for not evangelizing and are fearful of doing it. They attempt to ease their conscience by saying, “God does not expect all of us to evangelize.” That seldom works.
Wouldn’t it be more honoring to God to face what hinders us in evangelism and learn to evangelize? When believers learn how to share Christ with clarity and boldness, evangelism is a desire, not a demand.
Instead of a bitter pill, it becomes a chocolate mousse! We ought not hide behind excuses such as “God does not expect all of us to evangelize.” With proper training we can look forward to opportunities to evangelize instead of dreading them.
5. Aren’t there related issues?
If one says, “God does not expect all of us to evangelize,” he ought to ask four common sense questions.
Question #1: What if the person who shared the gospel with us had that thinking? If we feel no need to approach someone about their eternal destiny, would we have wanted the person who led us to Christ to have the same attitude?
Question #2: If eternal life is the greatest gift, why not pass it on to others? Suppose someone gave you a million dollars. He then says that anyone you know can receive that same gift. Wouldn’t you feel compelled to tell others? How can we not tell people how they too can receive the greatest gift imaginable—eternal life?
Question #3: What is the only thing we can take with us to heaven? The answer is a friend or acquaintance—whether it be someone we’ve known for 30 minutes or 30 years. Rewards for faithfulness Christians earn on earth are received when we enter His presence. The only thing we can take with us from earth to heaven is a friend. Why not take as many along as possible so those who are friends on earth will be friends for eternity? If we don’t tell them how they can be with us in heaven, we should question the depth of our concern for them.
Question #4: Can we claim to be growing as Christians if we do not desire to see people saved? When we become close to someone, what they are enthusiastic about rubs off on us. I’ve never had a desire to water ski. In fact, I had a paralyzing fear of water. A good friend was so enthusiastic about it, I started to think I was missing out on something. It was like a cool drink I had never tasted, a Mercedes I had never driven, a best friend I had not met. I had to overcome my fear and learn to water ski. I did! Christ’s heart is for the lost. Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.” Mark 10:45 reads, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” We ought to ask, “Are we really growing close to Christ if what excites Him does not excite us?”
The idea that not all believers are expected to evangelize—just those gifted in evangelism—is a misconception. Those with the gift of evangelism are to equip others so that the entire body of Christ can be involved in reaching the lost. Introducing others to Christ is part of discipleship. Getting close to the heart of Christ and following after Him means we must be involved in some way in evangelism.
In addition to the biblical issue, there are other issues. We are to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. If we are grateful someone reached out to us with the gospel, we ought to reach out to others. As we learn how to do so, we increase our skills and overcome fear in evangelism.
Christians who wish to be His disciples must in some way be involved in evangelism.