Does The Bible Teach That All Christians Must Evangelize?

Discussion in 'Evangelism' started by ThinkingChristian, Apr 20, 2014.

  1. Maybe i should have started in an earlier verse:

    2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (KJV)
    Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

    Yes Paul is referring to himself and all of "us". The subject is "any man in Christ" then "And" the collective body. Don't forget Jesus' own words:

    Mark 16:15 (KJV)
    And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

    This commission isn't just to humans, but all of creation so that all men can hear the Good News, even those hiding in the bushes. :D
  2. Hi MichaelH
    The 1 Peter 3:15 appears to suggests a principle of prepardness to respond to questions about our faith. This may align with earlier comments that all be prepared to evanglise if opportunities arise, whether or not we have a particular ministry of evangelism.
    Yes, 2 Timothy 4:2 was written to someone recognised as having an evangelistic ministry (4:4). Not sure if 4:2 is about preaching to believers to keep them from straying away from the truth, or whether targets non-believers or both. Either way I'm not sure it supports the universal evangelism position.
    The Isa 50:4 and Prov 15:23 appear to be referring to wisdom of what to say and when to say it. Good general advice and no doubt applicable to evangelism also.
    2 Tim 2:15 appears to be referring to good preparation once again, which could help in ministry to believers and evangelism to non-believers.
    Athough I cannot see how any of these might support the universal evangelism doctrine, they are all useful verses that support an idea of all being adequately prepared for opportunities, and wise in delivery. And for Timothy, he was expected to be diligent in his ministry of evanglism.
    Thanks Michael, some good verses.
  3. Hi JG27
    Thank you for this verse. This is perhaps the most commonly cited verse to support the notion that all Christians are commanded to evangelise. It's called the Great Commission, although this term is never actually mentioned anywhere in Scripture (to my knowledge).
    I have some questions in relation to this.
    1. Who in particular was Jesus addressing this directive to?
    2. Where is there anything in this verse that explicitly or strongly implicitly suggests the directive is universal for all believers?
    Many thanks
  4. 1. Jesus first directed this to His disciples. From there they went out and spread the good news. That's how I understand it.

    2. " Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations" Jesus had only them to talk to, but as it is written He means all of us believers. After the disciples spread the word it snowballed with new believers and so forth to where we r 2 day. Makes sense to me , how bout you?
  5. Hi Abdicate
    The 2 Cor 5:17 'us' may well include the Corinthians. If this verse is referring to the entire Corinthian congregation, and if it is reflecting a general principle, I think this could be possibly the strongest support to date for a universal obligation.

    Mark 16:15 there is some doubt over this text whether it was a later insertion into the Bible. However, assuming it might be genuine - who is Jesus addressing as he made this statement? What might be the evidence that he is stating this as a universal directive for all Christians?
  6. Thanks JG27
    1. I can follow your answer to the first question. I can't quite see how you arrived at "He means all of us believers" from this verse. How do you come to this conclusion?
    2. If we are to take it as a universal directive for all believers, why do Christians emphasise what might be implicitly implied (proclaiming the Gospel to unbelievers), but tend not to be encouraged to obey what is explicitely stated - discipling, baptising, and teaching?
  7. Yes MichaelH. Jesus said we 'are the light' and we 'do produce fruit'. We cannot help but do so if we have the Spirit living in us. And this is observed by non-believers and is a witness to them. Totally agree.
  8. Hi Sal
    You are correct. God can use whomever He chooses, as a ministry, from specific prompting, or from opportunities as they arise. My question is around whether all Christians have a duty to evangelise as a default. It's a position that gets pushed onto people that makes Christians feel guilty, but I'm just trying to understand if there is a basis for this position Scripturally.
  9. Amen, lets keep in Mind Satan's 3rd and last attempt to steal the Word from us by which we are to study and show ourselves approved.

    And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
    (Mar 4:18-19)

    The lust of other things in Greek means our own wants. It can even be scriptural, but if the Lord never said start doing it, then it is something your doing under your own power. It will just wear you out and take you out of what your suppose to be doing.

    The cares of the word is another one. Christians will pull on us to do this or that because of their own convictions. They can come and get me and tell me to come witness with them door to door, but If I have not heard the Lord about it first, I am out. I don't go where God is not involved and I don't waste My time or God's on someone elses idea.

    A Pastor I worked with felt he had to start a drug help program. It sounds good, sounds scriptural, but it was a horrible flop and cost him lots of money. He was pretty down about it and I asked............. Did the Lord tell you to start that program?

    He went on to say it sounded good, He thought God said to do it........

    I asked again............ Did the Lord tell you to start a Drug program?

    He said no, I guess not directly.

    We have to watch getting caught up in to many things because of the pull from others. We only have so much energy, and so much to give each day. We all have a part, and there is grace and strength to do our part.

    Look at Peter.............. He said Lord if that be you, bid me to come out on the Water. Jesus said come out. Now with that command and direction came the grace and ability to walk on the water.

    We do not want to get involved with stuff just because it "Sounds" good. The Lord always will deal with us first in our heart before we are asked.

    If I not heard from the Lord about it first, then my answer is always go on without me.

    If Satan can't just steal the word, Can't bring some circumstance through persecution to make us think the Word is not working, getting offended, then his last effort is to get us directed off into other things we don't need to be involved in. Wanting Money, Wanting our own thing (Bad or good) or taking up the cares of everyone else and the things of the World.

    Stay Spirit Led.

  10. Well if you ignore the letters only for those to whom it was written, why read any of the bible? OT to the Jews, NT to the various non-existent churches today. When you start selecting verses, chapters, or books that "don't apply" then you know how we got 41,000 ineffective denominations. Have you asked the Holy Spirit to teach you rather than men? (I John 2:27)
    Waggles likes this.
  11. Yes Abdicate, one needs to ask the question - was the original author intending this as a universal truth, or was it primarily for a more specific audience. We shouldn't automatically jump to conclusions either way. And as you highlight, the Holy Spirit is the ultimate interpreter of the Scriptures. I think if people teach things as a universal obligation for Christians, they do need explicit Scriptural justification, as a number of the letters do highlight issues of people trying to impose beliefs of individual conscience onto others, and I suspect they probably used Scripture to justify these impositions. My question is whether the universal evangelist doctrine is an example of what you are highlighting - selecting a verse here and there, and now we can expect everyone to evangelise. The burden of proof is on those who promote this viewpoint. For my purposes, I am simply trying to understand if there is a strong Scriptural case or whether this teaching is based more on reading these ideas into Scriptures, albeit well-intentioned.
  12. I can't help you there. Every one of the disciples apostles and followers of Christ cannot contain themselves, they speak of the Good News and there's no one verse that says this other than what I've already stated, but in fact, it's the entire Scriptures that speak of the Glory of God to the unlearned and ungodly. Not everyone is a preacher, but we are all ambassadors.
  13. I think the "Makes us feel guilty" part is a very good indication it's WRONG. We are all not suppose to be going out and evangelizing. That is not scripture.

    I use to have this thought that I needed to talk to so many people a week, a day, whatever about Jesus. I felt bad if I just did not get around to enough people.
    I have learned it's best to be directed by the Holy Spirit now and talk to those God tells me. I leave everyone else alone. I also support with money and prayer my own Church and do help lots because God brings them into my path. You can stay very busy if you stay in the Word to study yourself approved and just go do what God said.

    Just my Trip to UT last week brought so many people in my path the Lord had a word for them or they just needed encouraged. God brought them to me, I just was standing around and ready in case. One guy I sowed 40.00 to so he could get some food, another the Lord had a Word about what to do for a home situation.

    The heart to be ready to speak and answer for God is good enough and it will keep us very busy at times.

    When others "PULL" on me to do things, I shut them out.

  14. I think we evangelize through our way of life and how we react to the various curve balls God throws at us. When people see that we are different and we don't react as the world does then they are going to want what we have. The bible says by its fruits you shall know not by how much you now but by the fruit. To me that means that by my fruit people will know that am a Christian and when they open the door of their hearts that when am going to take advantage and plant the seed of Christ.
    SHB, Waggles, Huntingteckel and 1 other person say Amen and like this.
  15. Yep, same horn I have been Sounding. No condemnation, but what The Lord directs us to do.
  16. Thanks for your responses. Yeah, I'm not sure that guilt and obligation are healthy motivators to share the good news. Certainly willing obedience to God is a good motivator and also love and concern for the lost are.

    Does anyone know of any other Bible verses that are used to promote the universal evangelism doctrine?
  17. "Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38"Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest" (Matthew 9:37).

    I do both. Purposeful evangelizing (God will say where and when) and being open to God's will everywhere I go. Why? Because people are dying and going to hell. We might be the only one they meet that tells them and takes the time to speak to them about the gospel. If you are in the Holy Spirit, I can't imagine that God would never give you burning compassion for others. Look at the verse, "they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd."

    The first thing is are you resting in God's love so that you feel compelled to share His love? Don't you want to know God more? He came to save people and if you are abiding in Him you will be moved to love. If you are moved by His love you feel compelled to love others. You will see the need. You will want to act. Not by self will but by a living desire from God working through you. If you don't have this then you need to ask Him to reveal that love to you so you will know His love which is greater than everything. If you are not experiencing that love you are missing out.

    You don't need to know anything but how to get saved. God when you are submitted to Him will often work words through you. Just be open and friendly wherever you go and God will direct you from a simple conversation that maybe you started.

    I don't think bible verses on spreading the gospel is what you really need. Instead trust God by faith and ask Him to reveal His love so you don't go out doing works, but rather go living His love moment to moment.
  18. Life for the believer is learning to be in God's love.
  19. 2Co 3:2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:
    2Co 3:3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

    Preaching the gospel without saying a word. The life of a Christian is known and read by all men. Living the life of Christ shouts louder than any words could.
  20. I had a discussion with my colleague at work during lunch a few weeks ago. He works in our Church Relations department. I asked him if he could sum up, in the most simple way possible, the difference between evangelism and apologetics he said this:

    "Evangelism is the proclamation of the faith. Apologetics is the defense of the faith."

    I also found this verse interesting in 1 Corinthians 12:27-28:
    "Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues."

    I do think we are all called to proclaim the name of God, but I think many of us also have gifts that might be directed in a different direction in service to God.

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