Evangelism: Part 2

Heart of Stone

Rev. William Van Peursem would have us know that true evangelism is a duty prescribed to true believers. Any writing or conversation regarding the motivations to evangelism is naturally going to be directed towards the true children whose duty it is to evangelize:

“A discussion of breathing will never make a dead person breathe… A mere discussion of the motives and incentives for evangelism will never make a nominal Christian or an unbeliever a real evangelist. They need to be born again… They need to be evangelized.”[1]

Given the two main motivations for evangelism that will be discussed, the love to God and the love to man, there first needs to be a true renewal of that inward principle of godly love. This is so that the act of evangelism is exercised from proper motivations making it proper evangelism, and not motivated from selfish guile, deceit, or whatever false incentive might spur one on to make a good show in the flesh.

Evangelism cannot be done so that one may make a tally for themselves as to how many “converts” they got, nor is it to be done out of a motivation to constrain God to justify them or to prove themselves to God as worthy in themselves.

The proper motivation for evangelism is the godly love that looks outside of himself, that strives to do nothing from selfishness or vanity, but it is done from thankful humility in response to the greatly undeserved mercies of God, and it is done not looking upon his own things, but also upon the things of others.[2] It is done with a true love to God, and a true love to man.

These true principles of love are only received after having been reborn by the Holy Spirit. But after this Spiritual rebirth, the believer can take comfort that they have within themselves the necessary principle for evangelism. That principle is the indwelling of the Spirit who is the fount that spurs them on to greater, often visible, exercises of love to God and to men.

Prayer for an increased drive toward evangelism, a dependence upon the Spirit’s working in your heart and in the world, and a submission to the Word’s truth and sufficiency are tools through which the Spirit uses to spur people on to evangelism.

IntrospectionCrop2

There are questions that need to be asked within one’s self concerning his love to God:

Have I this Spirit of renewed love?

What are the falsehoods within me that are quenching the Spirit and prevent me from expressing this love in a manner commanded by God?

What are the falsehoods within me that are causing me to seek my own honor through this?

These questions must be always in the background of one’s mind while endeavoring to do evangelistic work. Ulterior motives and defiance are incompatible with a renewed heart of love to God, they rather show a favor and honor of one’s self above God.

Christians have been called to a life of service, freely giving up their autonomy and self-rule because of his renewed love toward God who calls all men to honor Him.

Jonathan Edwards said: “And so reason teaches, that there is no sincerity in the obedience that is performed without love; for if there be no love, nothing that is done can be spontaneous and free, but all must be forced. So without love, there can be no hearty submission to the will of God, and there can be no real and cordial trust and confidence in him.”[3]

[1] Grand Rapids Board of Evangelism of the Christian Reformed Churches, Reformed Evangelism: A Manual on Principles and Methods of Evangelism (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1948), 138.
[2] Romans 12:1; Philippians 2:3-4
[3] Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruits: Christian Love as Manifested in the Heart and Life, ed by. Tryon Edwards, New Ed edition. (London: Banner of Truth, 1969), 10.
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