Targeting Christians for Evangelism?

Among facts and figures cited by John Hobbins recently:

91% of all Christian outreach/evangelism does not target non-Christians but targets other Christians [IBMR Jan 2008, 29].

A sobering statistic. Most of this is probably due to Protestants not believing that Roman Catholics who believe in the holy gospel (though perhaps with only faith the size of a mustard seed) but who don’t have a conversion experience that they remember are actually Christians.

Good grief, people! Yes, the Romanist church is part of the holy catholic Church. Converting Romanists to Protestantism may be discipleship, for people to live out their baptisms in faithfulness to the call they received from the Lord, but in many cases, it’s decidedly not evangelism. Now, say an unbaptized elderly couple who barely attended worship and didn’t really believe in Christ our King was brought to the faith of our spiritual fathers: this would be evangelism.

(I realize the Church of Rome isn’t really catholic in return, but that shouldn’t determine what Protestants do about it.)

Now, that said, I think there’s no problem with going to Yucatán to help a church that ministers to the Mayans who suffer racism from other Mexicans. Just don’t think ‘winning’ a faithful Roman Catholic is evangelism.

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4 responses to “Targeting Christians for Evangelism?

  1. I was the recipient of such evangelism several years ago. Having been lost prior to that in misconceptions and lack of real faith and knowledge in Jesus, I can attest that in modern culture this sort of evangelism does have real merit. If I had been left to continue on the path I was on, there’s no doubt my life would be completely different now, for the worse. Now, I don’t think we need to spend all our time holding each other up to some superficial measurement of holiness. However, it is a valid problem – especially in this country, I would say – of false and weak gospels being preached, which are misleading (and often not to Christ, as described in Galatians 1).

    I think, when evangelizing, that there is one standard of perfection, and one path to heaven through Jesus Christ which is explained to us in scripture. If we can, without our own prejudices, believe in God’s word, live it (act on it), and truly strive to love our neighbors more than ourselves, truly desire salvation for those around us as we desire it for ourselves (Romans 10), those who need to hear it will hear. After all… are we not simply vessels to do God’s work?

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    • Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely merit in hearing the gospel many times. In fact, I think the gospel should be preached every Sunday! Now, this may not (and probably should not) be in the form of an evangelism tract, but just as God’s word tells us the gospel many, many times, we too should be hearing it preached as well as read.

      But if what you’d heard was the first you’d heard of the gospel, then you probably hadn’t embraced the gospel in faith, had you? At the same time, though, things do also work differently for people from non-Christian backgrounds and people who were baptized as infants with parents who taught them from the first to live a gospel life.

      Since God’s word does tell the Church to disciple all nations (not only to make disciples but to disciple disciples), if we believe in the imperative hope of resurrection, we will indeed be a community that proclaims the gospel in our words and our obedience by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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  2. How did they come up with that number though?

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