Evangelism: The Church in Relation to Society

Lesson 1997?
Tags: Church; Evangelism; The world
Excerpted from An Introduction to Local Church Ministry
Related Resources: The Christian Message

The third objective of the church—pertaining to the church’s relation to the world—is evangelism. Evangelism consists of the communication of the good news of the gospel. In Mark 16.15, Christ instructs his disciples to “preach the gospel to every creature.” This corroborates with the command in Matthew 28.19 to “teach [literally, make disciples of] all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Saucy comments:

“The primary purpose of the church in relation to the world is evangelization. . . . According to the instruction of the Scriptures and the example of the early church in Acts, the witness of the church is accomplished through the total life of the members of the church, both in word and act, as a community and as individuals.” Saucy, Robert L. The Church in God’s Program. Chicago: Moody Press, 1972, p. 91.

It should be noted that it is not the task of the church to convert the whole world to Jesus Christ. Rather, the church is to present faithfully the message of the gospel, recognizing that the results of evangelism are between God and man. Further, it should be emphasized that the essence of evangelism (communicating the good news) is not to be confused with particular means of accomplishing that end. As Getz notes,

“[t]he evangelical church cannot and must not allow itself to get locked into forms and patterns—either first-century or twentieth-century—that have been designed as a means to biblical ends. Every church in every culture and subculture needs to develop its own unique approaches to community evangelism. Under the creative leadership of the Holy Spirit, and using all of the human resources available, we need to develop dynamic twentieth-century churches that are creating contemporary evangelistic strategies that are built on New Testament principles and guidelines.” Getz, Gene A. Sharpening the Focus of the Church. Wheaton, IL.: Victor Books, 1984, p.80.

Evangelism, then, is the church’s third objective. God is glorified when the truth of his saving grace in Christ is accurately proclaimed to the lost.