Thursday, August 11, 2005

# 47: What is the Duty of Evangelicals?

The words “evangelical,” “evangelist,” “evangelize,” and “evangelism” are all derived from the root word “angel.” According to Webster’s College Dictionary (4th Edition), the word “angel” means a messenger of God. The word “evangel” means: 1) bringing good news; 2) any of the four Gospels; 3) an evangelist. “Evangelical” means in, of, or according to the Gospels or the teaching of the New Testament. “Evangelize” means a preaching of, or zealous effort to spread, the Gospel. “Evangelist” means a bringer of good news (in the N.T., “evangelist”). “Evangelize” means to convert to Christianity. There are three references to “evangelist” in the New Testament, and they all refer to doing the work of evangelizing. Eph.4:11- 2Ti. 4:5 and Ac.21:8.

I am certain most readers knew what the above terms were, but I gave their meanings to stress a point: they all refer to being messengers of God. Are evangelicals (those who are members of evangelical churches) messengers of God? I don’t think so. Never in my entire life have I had one of them knock on my door on a Saturday or Sunday to offer the Good News as several other religious groups do. Supposedly, their only “job/duty” is to attend church every Sunday, shake hands and say good morning to a friend or two, make a visitor feel welcome, sit down, recite a prayer, sing a song or listen to some live “sacred” music, and donate one’s tithe. By the way, has anyone ever wondered why the collection is always taken before the sermon? Important things first, as in movie theaters: pay admission, then watch and be entertained. In this case, after tithing, listen to an ear-tickling sermon—or, if the sermon is nothing but blase platitudes, it’s time for a little shut-eye—and finally, bid a hardy goodbye until next Sunday.

Here is a timely place for a poignant question: Are evangelicals encouraged by church leaders to go and share the Good News (Gospel) with the lost world? The answer is an emphatic no. Maybe they have nothing to share. What, then, are they supposed to be doing to fulfill their obligation as Christian evangelicals? Nothing. They are already saved, born again, and have received the Spirit. What else is there? If that is not the answer, your guess is as good as mine. These are the 40 million simpletons who helped elect George W. Bush, our warmonger and President of the United States, into office. This is an appalling affirmation of just how far off base these church people are from the truth. Do they know what the Gospel emphatically teaches about how to respond to one’s enemy? No. Do they know what the Christian life consists of? No. Do they know how far off base America is from being a Godly country?

Please note that I am switching to first person. You must remember that this is my country also, and it is heart-wrenching for me to preach these nasty things about my president and my country. Although my life is centered around being an active messenger of God (a true evangelical Christian), I don’t want to be associated with those 40 million gullible, easy-chair “Christians.” These types of hard-edged words will not win me any points or make me a popular follower of Christ with that crowd. That is okay, because I am not looking for human adoration; I only want to tell it like it is according to the New Testament. And besides that, I don’t have the clergy to answer to, save Jesus Christ. Who am I to judge 40 million people? It is not I, but the Bible who is their accuser. I am only a voice of one crying, “REPENT” in a vast wilderness of excess.

Switching back to the third person: When they get home from church, they should read the Christian Constitution for themselves—not just once but over and over again, especially the Books of Luke and 1st John. See what it actually says instead of watching sports, junk T.V. or other nonsensical entertainment. I am certain that a majority of them are sincere, though sincerely wrong, in their feeble worship because that is what they were taught by their hierarchy—without a word being spoken—about what is expected of them. It is a crying shame that most will remain comfortably seated.

Writing in the second person: If you are one of those 40 million people I referred to above, a strong defensive rebuttal from many of you is in order. If I don’t get any/many negative responses, that is a vivid indication to me that the aforementioned Godly words will be added to your eternal obituary/epitaph, as you (plural) are condemned on judgment day as having been do-nothings (slackers).


Roland said...

Hi Al - What you have described is a great argument for the need of a HIGHLY ORGANIZED church. That is one where all of the membership works jointly with the leadership to evangelize the world. Both Mormons and Jehovahs Witnesses are a good example of this as each have a force out "knocking on doors" communicating with people one-to-one about their finer points of religion (which in both cases varies greatly from mainstream Protestant or Catholism). Because of their organization they are both amongst the fastest spreading religions and also churches with the highest retention rate for their youth participating in their parents religion.

The Catholic church is actually an example of poorly organized religion. With only one priest per several thousand members, most of whom do not attend any regular service. Hence their very poor retention rate and the new Pope's recent lament that his church is dying in the US and Europe.

Most Protestant churches copy the Catholic because historically they are breakoffs from the Catholic church and are usually built around an existing congregation or core group. Notice how most members of these have no responsibility to assist their clergy leaders in evangelical work.

However, the most effective religious evangelism program of all which gives parents every power and resource to hold effective daily religious activities in the home, and trains members to effectively evangelize their neighbors, friends and associates.

My current role duty as church scoutmaster brings me in direct contact with a large group of youth 2,3,4 or even 5 times a week. This includes my own children, their friends and their friends', many of which are not members (yet) of our church. We've had a convert baptism recently, and we have a couple of kids who are waiting to turn 18 when they no longer need to get their parent's permission to change their religion.

A church built around one paster, is very ineffective. Everyone needs to share the load. (Eph 4:11-14)

JC said...

Roland, thanks for your comments. Your church has a lot of good things going for its people. Many rules and traditions that I disapprove of, still seem to do the Mormon church much good. But one must remember, what is the worst of two evil, a misguided evangelical church that doesn’t attempt to propagate itself with a door to door ministry, or a church that though it has many good and holy features is founder on several distorted truths. The answer is clear. For example, we talked about multiple marriage partners. Another dubious truth that was in the Book of Mormon, but has since been deleted is the one on blood atonement. The verse in question is Mark 3:29: “But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.” My question to you is this: what do the Mormons believe that eternal sin is/was? Is that the sin that is so grievous that the blood of Jesus can not cleanse? Therefore it took the blood of the sinner in combination with that of Jesus in order to cleanse the sinner. The scary part is that the sinner must be sacrificed, and this how it was done: The sinner had to dig his own grave and then a specified person would cut the sinners throat until dead, and then be put or fall into his own grave. That is the only way he would be able to go to Heaven. This type of conduct was taught as the Word of God according to Joseph Smith’s Book of Mormon. Even a fool could figure out--and many did and left the faith--that this teaching is totally fictitious and demonic. When these type of teachings are placed in conjunction with genuine Bible based truths, the lot of them becomes suspicious. That is one reason why I speak of the Mormons church I do. I hope you forgive me for speaking so candidly on an extremely sensitive subject. If you can explain to me why these teachings were in the Book of Mormon in the first place, I might feel more acceptance and understanding towards the Mormon church.

Roland said...

Mark 3:29 - Is a highly quoted and regarded scripture in Mormonism. I having studied both the doctrine and history very intently for some 40 years - but have never heard that the Mormons preached this item any differently from any other Christian sect. That is - blasheme against the Holy Ghost is a very serious offense.

Blood Atonement is just as heavily mentioned in the history of the Book of Mormon in the same manner as the Old Testament - it was all part of the many, many sacrifices instituted by Moses and practised every day at the Temple in Jerusalem as a sign of the ultimate sacrifice of Christ. With the atonement of Christ the Law of Moses was fulfilled - eliminating any further need for a atonement to pay for one's sins. Today, Christian partake of the sacrament of bread and wine(or water) in remembrance weekly of the great sacrifice of the Saviour.

Now Polygamy will forever and always be a hotly debated topic. You could have faith that one time it was a necessary cultural practice in the time of ancient prophet Abraham and King David. Yes it was practiced in the very early days of the church but has since been done away with. We sorrow for people who won't join the true church of God because they cannot accept one item on faith, when everything else about the church is rich in display of fruits of many blessings granted as a sign that the Latter-Day Saints are a highly favored people of the Lord, because they strive most dilengently to live all of the commandments as they best understand them.

You cannot pick and choose which doctrines you with to live. You have to ask GOd in all meekness of heart to know the truth and then be prepared to obey his word, regardless of the sacrifice required.