A clear apprehension of the biblical revelation of man bears more significantly on the character of evangelism than is often recognized. Many extravagances, weaknesses, and failures in present-day evangelism come from a deficient understanding of biblical anthropology—the doctrine of man. To be successful the physician must know the nature of the human body. An evangelist has to know the nature of the human soul. And he who would serve the Church in the task of evangelism must evaluate that soul in the light of revealed truth. However much the books of nature and history can reveal of man, Scripture stands as the infallible source of true knowledge. To neglect such a basic text is indolence of the worst order.
What a minister believes about man determines the nature of his preparation, the content of his message, and method of appeal. Component parts of public worship are often selected with a view to the character of man, particularly in evangelistic services. The depth and passion of the preacher’s prayers reveal his comprehension of man’s natural condition. Important consequences—good or evil—depend in great measure on the evangelist’s comprehension of the true nature of the human soul.
The doctrine of man, revealed in Scripture, vividly sets forth the tremendous and difficult task of evangelism. We observed that a physician ceases to work when life leaves the body of his patient. But the evangelist begins with something that is dead; for according to Scripture, man is dead in trespasses and sin (Eph. 2:1), he is of the flesh (John 3:6), shapen in iniquity (Ps. 51:5), his heart is deceitful above all things and is desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9), in his condition he is unable to receive the things of ...1
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