One of the significant features of the Christian situation today is the awakening consciousness of the church to the claimant challenge of evangelism. There was a time, and that not so very long ago, when evangelism, in Professor James Denney’s phrase, was “the disinterested interest” of a comparative few. But now it is taking its rightful place at the head of the church’s priorities. It has become, as the Bishop of Rochester has recently pointed out, “a live and foremost issue in the outlook, planning and strategy of the whole church.” We have, therefore, a new climate ecclesiastically for evangelism.
Technique Not The Secret
Much has been written of late concerning the technique of evangelism. It is indeed an encouraging sign of our times that so much attention should be paid to this vital subject. But perhaps the hour has struck for a warning to be issued against the perils involved in too great a reliance upon method. It is the temptation of this pragmatic age to presume that technique is the secret of evangelism. It cannot be too firmly emphasized, however, that mere methods, mere schemes, mere endeavors will not in themselves produce the desired effect. Without the tide of the Holy Spirit running through them they may prove as futile as the frenzied activism of Elijah’s rivals on Mount Carmel. “And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice; no one answered, no one heeded” (1 Kings 18:28,29, R.S.V.). Method is of secondary importance compared with the primacy of the Spirit and the Word. ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.