The chief task of the Christian church is to make Jesus Christ known, loved, and obeyed in all the world. When it is put in that way Christians nod their heads in agreement. But that task begins with making him known and loved, which is evangelism, and when we say, “What the church needs is more evangelism,” people begin to back away.
They react in somewhat the same way as the Koreans did to my father in the early days of mission work in Korea. He was a pioneer in North Korea in the days when great sections of the country had never seen a white man before. He had also taken one of the first bicycles into that land, and, dressed in black with his white face, he was a strange sight indeed in a country of white clothes and darker faces. One day, out itinerating, he came to the top of a pass and began to coast down toward a little village that lay at the foot. Some Korean children were playing a game something like hopscotch at the edge of the village, but when they looked up to behold a strange creature in black clothes and white face, coat-tails flapping in the breeze, swooping silently down on them on an infernal machine at an incredible rate of speed, they scattered to the far corners of the village, shouting at the top of their voices, “Look out, look out! Here comes the devil riding on a pair of spectacles!”
There are American Christians who react in much the same way to the coming of the evangelist. Why?
Some are afraid of the evangelist because they say he is too emotional. They are still thinking of evangelism in terms of a Peter Cartwright camp meeting on the great American frontier. They remember the tales of the chroniclers, how the long-haired young dandies would come to the meetings to jeer and to scoff only to be ...1
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