The word “evangelical” is derived from the concept of evangelism or evangelizing, which is communicating the message of Christ. Every professing evangelical should take seriously their responsibility of evangelism. In the New Testament the apostle Paul instructed Timothy to do the work of an evangelist.
Consider Paul’s instructions to Timothy regarding evangelism:
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. ~ 2 Timothy 4:1-5
Paul places emphasis on the preaching of the Word of God for the purpose of sound doctrine in connection to telling Timothy to do the work of an evangelist. It should be noted that Paul’s words to Timothy are instructions for ministry – “make full proof of thy ministry.”
What then is evangelism for the everyday Christian evangelical? The New Testament is saturated with the answer. We are called to live in a manner that is evangelistic. Consider for example, the words of the apostle Peter:
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. ~ 1 Peter 2:11-18
As Christians, we are called to produce good works which those who do not know God will see and thus glorify God on the day of visitation. Peter echoes the words of Jesus from the gospel of Matthew, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:16
As Christians we are called to let our light shine through good works. Peter expounds on exactly what that looks like in our everyday lives as Christians. Unfortunately, many evangelicals have either forgotten or just simply don’t know how to live in a manner that is truly pleasing to God in his desire to redeem the lost.
The politicalization of Christian morality seldom if ever, produced godly fruit. Imagine if instead of weaponizing issues such as abortion through political strife evangelicals took a more evangelistic approach.
The lack of sound doctrine among evangelicals is the number one contributor for the lack of true evangelism. This shamefully reflects on the spiritual condition of many evangelical ministers who promote their political views more than sound wholesome words which lead to godliness
One well known minister claimed that Joe Biden as President is the conspiracy and twisted the word of God in such a manner as to encourage people to reject the legitimacy of Biden’s Presidency. This same minister also said, “I will never accept Joe Biden as President.”
How does such rhetoric promote godliness? How is it consistent with the apostle Peter’s instructions referenced above?
Political strife does not espouse the fragrance of Christ. We are called to love our enemies and not to hate them. Yet hate is exactly what many Christians are displaying in their political passion which was gas lighted by the hardhearted rhetoric of Donald Trump.
Less than 3 weeks ago, from the time of the writing of this article, a mob of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol, chanting death threats and causing chaos and havoc. Some even had the audacity to pray in the Senate Chamber as if God were on their side. If they would have had any sound doctrine in them they would have known the scriptures condemn such behavior. Rioting is a display of the flesh and does not cause the ungodly to glorify God on the day of visitation.
Rioting is not an expression of godliness and is condemned by the New Testament. In fact Paul’s instructions to those who want to lead in ministry include being blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. – Titus 1:6
Unfortunately too many evangelicals, and evangelical ministers approve of the Capitol riots, or at the very least fail to condemned it. That is utterly shameful!
As christians, we are instructed to walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. ~ Romans 13:13-14
All those verses regarding how we are to put on Christ and live godly is the sound doctrine that we are called to live by, and that is New Testament evangelism. The sad reality is the manner in which many evangelicals displayed their support for Donald Trump revealed what was in their hearts.
For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. ~ Mark 7:21-23
These are the kinds of things that Donald Trump stirred up in many of his staunch supporters. And this is why so many who are not Christians marveled at the hypocrisy of evangelicals. Evangelicals who confess to know Jesus displaying political strife is not the fragrance of Christ to the ungodly. When unbelievers see a “Jesus Saves” flag in the midst of rioters committing an insurrection, how should they respond?
It is a sad day when the ungodly need to point out to evangelicals that their behavior is not Christ like. It is a sad day when the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you. ~ Romans 2:24
In view of Paul’s instructions to Timothy to do the work of an evangelist, Paul had previously told Timothy the following:
Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. ~ 1 Timothy 6:1-3
It is a terrible testimony for evangelicals when “the clarion call” is no longer godliness, holiness, purity, righteousness, coupled with love, mercy, and grace for the lost. Instead, the evangelical clarion call has become political strife, hatred for your political opponents, rebellion, and insurrection.
You did not learn such behavior from Christ!