Category Errors

Thayer:

The word evangelism is a transliteration of euangelizesthai, which is a verb meaning “to proclaim the gospel” (the gospel being euangelion). Where no proclamation has taken place, there has been no evangelism. Where something other than the biblical gospel has been proclaimed, there has been no evangelism.

Good deeds, hard work, dedication, honesty, and kindness are all good things, but they are not evangelism. These other good things may help prepare people to hear the word of salvation (Titus 2:9-10), but until that word has been spoken we have not evangelized.

A farmer needs to prepare his ground. If it is new ground he clears it of trees, rocks, and other obstructions. The ground must then be plowed and harrowed. But the job is not done until he has planted the seed. No matter how well he has plowed, the farmer has no hope of a harvest until he has planted the seed. Likewise, until the gospel word has been presented, the church has no hope of a harvest of souls.

I suspect that the main reason why Christians try to redefine every conceivable act of Christianity as evangelism is due to the fact that a lot of Christians believe in the Satanic doctrine of equality. Consequently, everyone is expected to be an evangelist. Since not everyone actually goes out and literally proclaims the good news of Christ, it stands to reason that many Christians are failing in their supposed duty to evangelize. The problem is that it doesn’t really make sense to condemn otherwise good people for not being active proclaimers and thus it is necessary to redefine Bible words so that everyone can be considered to have done their evangelistic duty.
Consider, however, Paul’s words in I Corinthians 12:27-31:

Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.

Just as not all are called to be apostles, teachers, prophets, miracle-workers and healers, so too is it the case that not everyone is called to be an evangelist. We are not equal to one another (at least in this life), and therefore it is perfectly fine if not every last Christian is an evangelist or evangelizes. Not everyone is called to do that. And that’s just fine.

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