October 25, 2012
If I’m honest, I didn’t really understand much of Meredith Kline’s Kingdom Prologue (which is by no means a criticism, possibly quite the opposite!) which was the first reason why one particular sentence, which I did comprehend, stood out.
Since then, the sentence keeps coming back to haunt me. Kline says…
“…in her missionary zeal for her new religion, the woman presented the evil-spell to her husband and made a convert of him (Gen 3:6c)”
It turns out that the first bit of evangelism we see in the Bible has nothing to do with spreading the Good News about Jesus Christ. Eve is evangelistic about sin.
Which got me thinking.
We are often encouraged in our churches, and rightly so, that as Christians we should be evangelists. We should all be involved in telling people the gospel. So we learn ways to explain what God has done for us through Jesus. We practice conversations so that we will be ready to give an explanation for the hope that we have. We organize evangelistic events where we can bring our friends to hear the gospel preached.
And I would be the first to say that all of those things are excellent and praiseworthy.
But the more I thought about Kline’s sentence the more it made me think. What if the real problem is not that we are not being evangelistic enough, but that we’re being evangelistic about the wrong things?
We are so often encouraged to be engaged in evangelism, to be more evangelistic; do we ever stop to think that perhaps we are involved in evangelism all the time, whether we realise it or not?
Eve gave the fruit to Adam. She was evangelistic about eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. With her life and her actions and her words (presumably), she promoted sin to her husband and he, like a sinful idiot, listened and believed.
Until I read that sentence in Kingdom Prologue, it had honestly never occurred to me that we could be evangelistic about anything other than the evangel, the gospel. But of course what Kline points out is that that is simply not true.
We can be evangelistic about anything: our sports team, our political party, our favorite restaurant. In fact, we’re evangelistic about those sorts of things all the time. We are constantly encouraging other people to watch this, or listen to this, or try this.
My point is we are all engaged in evangelism all day, every day. Every day we communicate to the people around us by words or with our actions, what we believe.
So the real issue for Christians is not that we need to be involved in evangelism more. No, the real issue is, are we being evangelistic about Christ, or something else?
You are an evangelist and so am I, whether we like it or not. The way I spend my time, the way I spend my money, the way I dress, live, play, laugh, study, speak, think…they all proclaim a message to the people around me.
You are an evangelist. So what is the evangel you are spreading? Are you preaching the gospel of hard work? Are you preaching the gospel of the American dream? Are you preaching the gospel of the Red Sox, or the Yankees, or the Patriots or some other sports team? Are you preaching the gospel of beauty?
Eve was an evangelist for sin. We are all evangelists for something. The question is, if it’s not Jesus, then what is it?
Dimitri (Dim for short) and his wife, Gayles, moved to the U.S. from England in 2011 to pursue a Master of Divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell. He grew up in a little town in England called Sevenoaks and completed his undergraduate degree in Automobile Design at the University of Coventry. Upon graduation, Dim spent some time as a ski instructor, a church intern and an assistant pastor. When he’s not pretending to study, he’s usually dreaming about skiing.
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