Frank Viola posted an interesting and challenging article about missional evangelism not so long back:
With few exceptions, every traditional church I’ve ever been a part of emphasized evangelism to be God’s grand goal. And every believer was divinely obligated to share the gospel with lost souls.
As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, this sentiment is fairly recent, harkening back to the teachings of D.L. Moody. Moody, who was a gifted evangelist, had his paradigm circulate through mainstream evangelicalism through Bible colleges all across America. (Moody Bible Institute was among the very first). His paradigm is now in the drinking water of modern-day evangelicalism.
A number of my friends on the missional church scene continue to work from D.L. Moody’s paradigm despite that it’s been publicly refuted scores of times.
Last year, I was flipping through the TV channels and came across a very well-known pastor telling his congregation about the desperate need for them to evangelize. He went on and on, warning them that if they didn’t tell others about Jesus and bring them into the church, the building they were all sitting in would be converted into a furniture store. He told stories about this happening with other churches he knew of. He then went on to tell them that his ministry as pastor is to teach the sheep and motivate them to go out and bring others into the sheepfold. The saving of lost souls was their complete responsibility. If the church failed in this and the building was lost, it was their fault.
With every word, the guilt and condemnation piled higher upon the heads of God’s people in that audience. I felt sickened. Yet they took it like good Christians, and I suspect that it wasn’t the first time…..
Read the full article here.
I have deliberately linked to this article a few weeks after it was posted – mainly because I wanted to see how the comments developed. They are definately worth the read – so make sure you get through them as well as the article itself.