Why Won't They Listen?
Why Won’t They Listen?
Methods of Evangelism for Better or Worse
Christians have been preaching the same message for nearly two thousand years. Any honest evangelist in America will admit there are times when it seems the world has finally stopped listening. Though there is no absolute method of preaching that add to the number of saints, we can still look to the early church for a method to match the message.
From the very words of Scripture we can see the regular preaching of the Apostles and even Christ. Jesus preaches from Isaiah in the synagogue at an early age (Luke 4:14-30). Paul does likewise but is also seen in public arenas preaching to the pagans (Acts 17:16-34). Open Air preaching has had its effect in repeated waves including the Great Awakenings up to the monumental career of Billy Graham. Why then do our churches not have every corner posted with preacher? I am inclined to say that our individualistic lifestyles and the millennial age ruler, convenience, have closed public ear to this method at large. This is only matched by the continued emotional withdraw that follows writings of theological debate, as experienced by the second century Apologist writers.1
Then and now, necessity remains with testimony. I am convinced that our unfruitful efforts in evangelism stem from a lack of salvific experience. When the blind man was healed, he knew nothing else but still went proclaiming Jesus (John 9:25). The enthusiasm of being included in such a revelation of Truth gives validation to the message.2
A genuine concern for our service before God and for the salvation of the unbeliever must pervade our witness. “It’s not the work without right principle and end that will prove us upright.”3 Genuine love for people motivates our preaching. “Without the Way, there is no going; without the Truth, there is no knowing; without the Life, there is no living.”4 We have found the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6), we ought to show the world.
With such a motivation, any setting should suffice for evangelism. There is no better arena than that of the home. Husband to wife, parent to child discipleship is the first ministry given to the Christian. If we could simply inculcate the Shema (Deut. 6:4-9) we would take the world by storm. Spouse, sibling, and parent become brother and sister in Christ would be testimony in and of itself.
The reason the world can’t hear your evangelism is because it is silent in your homes. Let the Word of God have bold impact on our families and then will our words have a bold impact on our communities.
1 Michael Green. Evangelism in the Early Church. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004). 350-351.
2 Green. Evangelism in the Early Church. 316-317.
3 Richard Baxter. The Reformed Pastor. (East Peoria, IL: Vera Press, 2007). 145.
4 Thomas A Kempis. The Imitation of Christ. (Chicago: Moody, 2007).