In evangelical circles today the word “evangelism” is on everyone’s lips. It is the theme of conventions, conferences, symposiums, panel discussions, books, articles, and sermons. Experts and specialists brief us on new and better ways to reach twentieth-century man.
All agree that evangelism is the main business of the Church. It has often been pointed out that to say the Church should major on evangelism is like saying railroads should major on transportation. Thank God for every evangelist, for the crowds that turn out to hear the Gospel, for every soul won. There is always a backwash of blessing to the Church from even a limited evangelism.
But the top item on the agenda today must be renewal within the Church itself. We are trying hard to evangelize with an unawakened and undedicated church. We stretch our tent pegs far out, but the center pole is unsteady. Where is the prophet among the priests who will call the Church to repentance? In the message of Christ to the churches in Revelation, there is the repeated command, “Repent.” That word remains in force, and repentance will be our duty until he presents to himself “a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.”
To repent means more than merely to change one’s opinion. Repentance means a change of one’s whole inner attitude and involves confession of sin, renunciation and restitution, separation from the world, submission to the Lordship of Christ, and the filling of the Spirit. These in turn produce witnessing, faithfulness in all forms of stewardship, godly living in home and business and society.
For years I have gone up and down the country calling churches to repentance. Sometimes the work is discouraging, and I am tempted to ask, “What’s the ...1
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