Thursday, 18 August 2011

Not the Weapons

One of the most frequent excuses I've heard for not doing evangelism is, 'I don't know enough' or 'I'm not clever enough to answer all the questions my non-Christian friends ask'.

As Christians we are to be those who are growing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10), and are to "always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you" (1 Peter 3:15). However, very often these excuses come from an understanding of evangelism that sees my understanding, my intellect and my well reasoned arguments as the thing which will bring people to bow the knee to Jesus. Such understanding denies the power of the gospel, which is God's power for salvation (Romans 1:16). The gospel, as revealed in Scripture, is what will work the miracle of bringing people from death to life. It is God's word that does the work, not our amazing arguments, as helpful and convincing as they may be. J. C. Ryle draws out the implications of this better than I ever could:
It is a certain fact that deep reasoning and elaborate arguments are not the weapons by which God is generally pleased to convert souls. Simple plain statements, boldly and solemnly made, and made in such a manner that they are evidently felt and believed by him who makes them, seem to have the most effect on hearts and consciences. Parents and teachers of the young, ministers and missionaries, Scripture-readers and district visitors, would all do well to remember this. We need not be so anxious as we often are about defending, proving, demonstrating and reasoning out the doctrines of the Gospel. Not one soul in a hundred was ever brought to Christ in this fashion. We need more simple, plain, solemn, earnest, affectionate statements of simple Gospel truths. We may safely leave such statements to work and take care of themselves. They are arrows from God’s own quiver, and will often pierce hearts which have not been touched by the most eloquent sermon.
This means that we need to rely on God's word to do His work. Our task in evangelism is to proclaim the gospel, as revealed in Scripture, as clearly as we can. It is the clear and faithful speaking of gospel truth from the Bible that will bring people to repentance and faith in Christ.