Evangelization refers to the prayer of the Gospel of Jesus and; therefore, Christianism. The word ¨Gospel¨ means ¨Good News¨. Besides the prayer of the Gospel, evangelization also includes the prayer of the teachings of the Bible.
The evangelizing efforts began with Jesus. He started proclaiming the Good News and the arrival of the Messiah. This responsibility is passed into His disciples and it had continued generation after generation until us nowadays.
Evangelism is a Christian variant that was born during the XVI century. This new branch of Christianism finds its momentum with The Reformation which was pioneered by Martin Luther and then other important figures joined his efforts. The main aspects that prompted this reformation in Europe had to do with the worshipping of saints and the corruption of the Catholic Church.
Nonetheless, Evangelism sets apart from the rest of these doctrines and resorts to primitive Christianism. It focuses on the study of the gospels in the Bible. These writings are its guide and its main foundation. The Word of God and prayer are the pillars of evangelical faith.
Evangelism has it is own doctrine principles very well defined: the belief in only one God and the Trinity, the reference only to the Bible, the idea that the world is coming to an end, and the importance of the missionary labor.
Martin Luther used the term ¨evangelical¨ to refer to the followers of the common-grace doctrine. Years later, this term would be used as a synonym for ¨protestants¨. Evangelization is the main activity of evangelical churches.
There are several branches derived from evangelism: liberalism, conservatism, evangelism, and fundamentalism. Nowadays, most of the evangelical churches share the same principles previously described and these principles differentiate this religion from Catholicism. On the other hand, there are very controversial and contemporary topics such as abortion, euthanasia, and homosexuality towards which most of the denominations have adopted a conservative stand.
Evangelical denominations appear with The Reformation lead by Martin Luther during the XVI century. This caused a division into four main doctrines: Lutheran, reformed, Anabaptist, and Anglican. Many others branched later on from these first doctrines. The following is a list of some denominations:
– Lutherans: they follow the teachings and ideas of Martin Luther. These ideas were displayed in his 95 theses hung at Wittenburg Church . This certainly defied the power of the Catholic Church and prompted The Reformation.
– Baptists: the members of this denomination retake baptism and the Church of Believers. Every Baptists church is autonomous. That is why, in spite of keeping strict principles, there might be conspicuous differences among its theological ideas.
– Methodists: they are called like that due to its creator John Wesley, who created methods to enrich our spiritual being. This man was an English preacher who made a lot of people convert to Christianism with his powerful speech.
– Presbyterians: this denomination is mostly related to the movement that was born in Sweden. The term ¨Presbyterian¨ refers to the way of governing the different churches of this denomination. These churches are ruled by an assembly of elders that make the most important decisions.
– Pentecostals: as their name indicates, their doctrine is derived from the celebration of Pentecost. This is a Jewish celebration in which, according to the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit descended on Christ’s disciples.
– Anglicans: Anglicanism arose in England in the 16th century, promoted by King Henry VIII . In spite of the fact that since this century it breaks with the Roman Catholic Church, Anglicanism still keeps several similarities with this doctrine. It is based on the 39 Articles and the Book of Common Prayer.
– Anabaptists: these advocate the baptism of adult believers and not of small children, hence its name (baptize again). This doctrine originated in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Netherlands during the Reformation.
– Puritans: arose as a radical faction of Calvinism. At that time, Puritans understood that the Anglican Church had not completely separated from the Catholic Church and wanted to seek a ¨purification¨ of the doctrine and moved away from Catholicism.
As we said earlier, evangelization begins with Jesus. In order to analyze His evangelizing work, it is necessary to analyze His ministry. To carry out this analysis of His ministry and the way in which He spread the Word of God, it is necessary to turn to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They narrate the entire journey of Jesus in His ministerial life and the impact He had on the people who approached Him and decided to follow Him.
It would seem that Jesus ministered for a long time, due to all the miracles he performed and the large number of followers he was able to gather around him. In addition, he managed to erect the Church and to have a group of well-trained disciples who continued the work of evangelization after the Ascension of the Messiah to Heaven. However, the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ lasted only three to three and a half years, although in reality there is no consensus regarding this.
After Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and after His return from the desert, where he was tempted by the devil for forty days, it can be said that He began His ministry in Judea. During this period, he meets several of His future disciples. John the Baptist, upon seeing him, says: Behold the Lamb of God (John 1:36). Andrew, who was a follower of John the Baptist, departs to find his brother Simon and introduces him to Jesus as the Messiah and He names him Peter.
He also performs the miracle of turning water into wine during the wedding at Cana (John 2:7-9) and baptizes with His disciples.
It is very important to point out, even if it was for a short period, His ministerial work in Samaria. His encounter with the woman at the well is a very beautiful and inspiring passage. We have to keep in mind that the Samaritans felt hatred for the Israelites. Nevertheless, the woman at the well is dazzled by Jesus and invites many more to see the Savior.
In Galilee, he asks Andrew, Peter, and James to leave their nets and begin to be fishers of men (Mark 1:17). At this call, they follow Him and begin to evangelize throughout Galilee in various synagogues and later He asks Matthew to follow him.
Sometime later, he chooses only twelve of His disciples to be with him all the time to learn and help him with the work of evangelization. With these twelve disciples, he travels throughout Galilee and by the end of his ministry in this region, he has enough confidence in His disciples to let them minister alone in groups of two (Mark 6:7).
After returning to Judea and preaching in Perea, Jesus makes His Triumphal Entry. Then, He cleanses the temple and overturns the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves (Mark 11:15). He summons His twelve disciples to the Last Supper and confesses to them that one of them will betray Him. Indeed, Judas had already conspired against him and betrays him that very night.
Jesus has to endure several trials before His crucifixion. Then, we have several moments in which He is shown to have risen from the dead. The first is that he does not appear in His tomb. Later, He appears to several of His disciples and others. At the end of His ministry, a multitude witnesses His Ascension into Heaven.
After providing a brief overview of the ministry of Jesus, we can analyze in depth how He evangelized.
Our Lord was aware of the fact that the task was gigantic: the Kingdom of God had to be created on earth. Therefore, He decided to form a group of people to help him with the work of evangelization. This is the origin of the Twelve, the Church, and the whole journey they have made up to the present day. At the present time, we are the ones who bear this responsibility. We have to fulfill the Great Commission. We cannot think that this is an easy task. We must also, like Jesus, train other people to support the work of evangelization. We are not referring to just any person; Jesus did not appoint the twelve apostles since the very moment He called them to follow him. We must first be sure of their faith and values.
We have to fight all iniquity and immorality. From the Old Testament, we see how the theme of justice is essential to the chosen people of Israel. Jesus imparts justice wherever He goes and with His parables, He indicates to everyone the right path to follow in order not to harm the neighbor. Let us remember how Jesus, when He arrives at the temple, expels all the merchants (John 2:14). He does this because he does not conceive how they can use such a pure place for enrichment and exploitation. Moreover, the business that these people were doing was very lucrative and they stripped the people of their few goods. In Matthew 23:23, we see clearly how important the dispensation of justice was to Jesus: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise, and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
The Great Commission is nothing more than the responsibility bestowed by Jesus on the apostles to continue evangelizing. The objective is to achieve that all come to the Lord, that all be saved. It is necessary to achieve the evangelization of the whole world. This way, the Kingdom of God could be created on earth and we will live in peace and harmony under the reign of the Lord.
Through the words of Matthew, we can see how Jesus gives this responsibility to the apostles: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19).
This Great Commission falls on us. We must keep in mind that every action we take must be aimed at bringing more people closer to the Lord. We have to encourage more people to have faith in Jesus and to be filled with all His Glory and Wisdom. May they choose their path correctly and not commit iniquity and always do good. That is the path that we must choose and the path that our Lord marked out for us. Therefore, we must not allow more souls to be lost and cause the perdition of others. It is time to mobilize and create an army of salvation that generates a change in this world. A change of prosperity and peace that is given to us through the Grace and Mercy of the Lord.
This is a seemingly easy question, but it is not so. We have to take into account first all the principles established in the Bible. Without prior knowledge of what is contained in the Bible, I don’t think we can do a good job. We have to analyze what the Lord wants us to do. What did the Messiah entrust to us? We have to correct our actions in order to preach by example. That is the best strategy to evangelize: by example. On many occasions, we see people disappointed with the attitudes of some Christians, and rightly so. This causes them to turn away from the Lord. Having faith in the Lord may be enough to give us salvation, but does it make us good Christians? A good Christian tries to imitate the perfect life that Jesus lived. He/she tries to be generous, gentle, and humble with everyone. With what morals does a Christian approach a non-believer to preach the Gospel if this believer beats his mother? This is inconceivable, and, unfortunately, these cases are not so uncommon. How could this Christian correctly guide this person who is just beginning to approach the Lord?
We also need to update our methods of evangelization. While we see that Jesus, on many occasions, converses with only one person and on some occasions addresses a ¨multitude¨ in a loud voice; today, this is not necessary. The great speaker Billy Graham filled entire stadiums and was considered a great method of evangelism. However, a website like this can reach many more people and we don’t need to leave our homes. Technologies have come to facilitate our ministry. It is time for us to take advantage of this. On the other hand, interests change, generations change; therefore, the way of approaching people and the discourse must also change. Today, people see life in a more pragmatic way.
Missions are a fundamental pillar in evangelization. From the time of Jesus, we see how He and His disciples traveled to various cities to preach the Gospel. After His Ascension, the Twelve started preaching the Gospel in other cities, even in some far from Jerusalem. This activity must continue today. In today’s world, there are billions of people living in darkness. Sadder still is the great number of people who do not have access to the Word of God. It seems inconceivable, but so many people have never heard of God. This is a terrible reality, but it is the reality of millions of people. In this regard, Paul says in Romans 10:14-15: How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
We need to send brothers and sisters to bring light to the darkest corners of the earth. The task is hard and, in many cases, dangerous. However, there are beautiful stories of gratitude from people who had never heard of the Lord before and, thanks to a missionary, found their salvation.
Missionary work is very comforting. Through it, salvation is offered to many people. Besides, it is a precious opportunity to praise the Lord and deserve His Grace.
Definitely, the Bible remains the essential book to evangelize. The Word of God is always valid and has the power to bring people closer to faith in Him. Let us not think of a physical Bible, although it would be optimal. Many people say they hate books, especially young people. However, how about a mobile application. Perhaps, many will like the idea and come closer to the Lord and to the sacred book of Christianity by that means.
Tracts are still very effective. They are very short and inspiring texts that tell us about the greatness of the Lord and what we must do to praise Him. They are not only very useful for evangelistic work, but they also fulfill their function within the churches. Through tracts, we can encapsulate teachings contained in the Bible. It can be overwhelming to think that we need to read the entire Bible. However, how about reading a small document of about a thousand words written in contemporary, clear language? That sounds much better.
Illustrations, which are done in a tract-like format, are very readable and, at the same time, convey powerful teachings. They are more like true stories, in which we see how our faith in the Lord lights our way and leads us away from darkness. They are very inspiring stories that make us draw closer to God and obey His words. These stories have to be very fresh, very contemporary. They should deal with real issues and problems, and situations that people are facing or may face in their lives. The idea is that the reader feels identified with what he or she reads and thinks: ¨This person in the story could be me.¨
Novels are a kind of illustration but in a much larger format. They are real stories or stories created by the author in which we see many teachings. We can appreciate the Lord’s intervention in the lives of the characters. We read about how their lives change when they agree on opening their hearts to God or when He decides to intervene and rejoice us with His glory. They are entertaining and inspiring stories that give us an alternative way to face life.
Supporting books are essential for the training and teaching of Christians. This is necessary for them to strengthen their faith and to be better prepared for evangelization. In addition, as Jesus did, we must also be ready to instruct others to support us in fulfilling the Great Commission. While most of these texts tend not to be as enjoyable as novels are, they are required reading for every Christian. Through these texts, we can give courses and seminars for believers. This is a vital work to carry out evangelization and to be able to reach more unreached people and incorporate them into the Kingdom of God.
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