As many of you know, I really enjoy the Q&A sessions at conferences. Back in May of this year, Alistair Begg engaged in a Q&A session during the Basics Conference held on his church campus that you will likely enjoy.
Friendship for the Pastor’s Wife – This was a helpful read for me as I often fail to think of the needs that are unique for my wife and the wives of my fellow elders.
How to Read a Bible Full of Promises – D.A. Carson explains how to read the Bible in light of the promises in the Desiring God podcast.
Duck Dynasty , the wildly popular A&E show about the bearded and bandana-wearing Robertson clan, will air its final episode – As many of my readers may know, I share a love of the outdoors with the Duck Dynasty family, but we are worlds apart theologically as I’ve pointed out. Needless to say, this is noteworthy since they have been highly popular for the past eleven seasons.
In Memory: The Man Who Brought Harmony to Billy Graham’s Ministry – Cliff Barrows has died, and this is an article dedicated to his memory.
Deny Yourself for Greater Joy – A good article by John Piper worthy of your time and consideration. Joy matters, but how we get there matters too.
A Post-Election Prayer – A helpful prayer by Kevin DeYoung.
They Excommunicated My Dad – A good and helpful reminder about the value and purpose of church discipline.
Theology Word of the Week: Evangelism
The theology of evangelism must be derived from the original setting in which the word was used. The Gk. verb euangelizesthai means ‘to announce good news’, and is found 52 times in the NT. The noun euangelion means ‘good news’, and occurs 72 times, mostly in Paul. The noun euangelistēs, meaning ‘evangelist’, appears only three times (Acts 21:8; Eph. 4:11; 2 Tim. 4:5).
Evangelism, then, is ‘to share or announce the good news’; and as such it is not to be defined in terms of particular methods. Methods may vary widely, provided only that their style matches the message to be proclaimed (2 Cor. 2:17; 4:2, 5). Nor should evangelism be defined in terms of successful results. The NT shows that wherever the good news is proclaimed some will respond with repentance and faith, while others will be indifferent and still others reject it (e.g. Acts 17:32–34; 2 Cor. 4:3–4).
Recent debates have concerned the scope of the good news. All would agree that the central message is salvation in Jesus Christ (Acts 8:35; Rom. 1:1, 3); but differences occur over what is crucial and what is peripheral to the explanation of his salvation. Traditionally, evangelism was addressed to individuals, and exclusively concerned the forgiveness of sin. However, the gospels set evangelism in the context of the inauguration of the kingdom of God (e.g. Mk. 1:14–15; Lk. 4:18–19), and so some have argued that the social dimensions of the gospel are integral. The result is that some emphasize God’s concern to create a new community; while others argue that there cannot be a strong divorce between evangelism, in a narrow sense, and social action. Yet others, for similar reasons, have argued that the proclamation of the good news of Jesus should not merely be verbal, but must be accompanied by supernatural signs and wonders as a demonstration of God’s power and a sign of Satan’s defeat (Mk. 16:15–18; Acts 2:22, 43; 4:30; 5:12; 6:8; 14:3; 1 Cor. 4:20).
The theology of evangelism also addresses itself to the motives for evangelism. Among the primary motives identified in the Bible, we find a concern for God’s glory; obedience to Christ’s commission (Mt. 28:19–20); gratitude for God’s grace, and a concern for the fate of the unbeliever.
The Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization (1974) aptly agreed the statement: ‘To evangelize is to spread the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures, and that as the reigning Lord he now offers the forgiveness of sins and the liberating gift of the Spirit to all who repent and believe. Our Christian presence in the world is indispensable to evangelism, and so is every kind of dialogue whose purpose is to listen sensitively in order to understand. But evangelism itself is the proclamation of the historical, biblical Christ as Savior and Lord, with a view to persuading people to come to him personally and so be reconciled to God. In issuing the Gospel invitation we have no liberty to conceal the cost of discipleship. Jesus calls all who would follow him to deny themselves, take up their cross, and identify themselves with his new community. The results of evangelism include obedience to Christ, incorporation into his church and responsible service in the world.’
- Sinclair B. Ferguson and J.I. Packer, New Dictionary of Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 240–241.