Are your colleagues at work seeking you out for the words of life? Are your neighbors pestering you to tell them about the Gospel? Are you being bombarded with requests by people who want to attend church with you?
If you are in the same boat with most of us evangelicals, these questions are ludicrous! Most of us are haunted by an overwhelming sense of ineffectiveness in this task called evangelism. We are becoming increasingly aware that our lives are not drawing people to Christ. Our message is just not getting through.
Some Christians, of course, are not conscious of their ineffectiveness. They are so busy in their church work and evangelistic campaigns that they haven’t noticed the obvious—that, for example, probably 99 per cent of those who attend an evangelistic service already profess to be Christians. These Christians who are unaware of their ineffectiveness deserve our pity (though I must admit that once in a while I get the urge to bestow on them a few other things, to wake them up).
In an attempt to become more effective in evangelism, some evangelicals have decided that what they need to do is to give their presentation of the Gospel the light touch, a flair, a bit of Hollywood—Christian showmanship, we could call it. But it is tough to compete with Hollywood and television. Sensationalism has a short sell, anyway; you have to keep peddling gaudier and gaudier forms to keep up interest.
It seems to me that such approaches to evangelism have a superficial and egotistical ring. Neither the Gospel nor the problems of human existence can be dealt with so glibly. Crooning singers, trumpet trios, and good looks don’t do justice either to the problems of man or to the profundity of the Christian answer. The world today, ...1
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