Has the church lost its sense of urgency in evangelism? Has it substituted something irrelevant for God’s provision for crisis? Has it misunderstood the nature of the world’s predicament?

The Apostle Paul, writing to his spiritual son, Timothy, says: “Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2). Phillips arrests our attention with this translation, “Never lose your sense of urgency.”

Paul’s appeal for urgency is based on the kingship of Christ, who will judge all men on the return of Christ, which will ring down the curtain of history as we know it; and on the coming of a new kingdom, the kingdom of Christ.

The sense of urgency is heightened, Paul says, by the fact that a time is coming when men will be unwilling to listen to the gospel message: “The time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths” (2 Tim. 4:3,4).

Everywhere today we hear of a world in crisis—race, food, economics, population explosion, conflicting ideologies, all magnified by selfishness, hatred, greed, lust, and other sins of the human heart.

The Church is found at the forefront in this cry of “crisis,” but it seems at times to be merely frenzied about symptoms while oblivious to the source and nature of the crisis.

Picture the emergency ward of a large and well-equipped modern hospital. A man is carried in on a stretcher. His face is contorted with pain, his right leg is flexed, and he places a protective hand on his abdomen.

Nurses and doctors hurry in, and a laboratory technician is called. ...

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