The Merriam Webster dictionary describes evangelism as:
“The winning or revival of personal commitments to Christ” and also “militant or crusading zeal.“
Dictionary.com describes evangelism this way:
“The preaching or promulgation of the gospel.”
My question in the title of the post is a very simple one and should be easy to answer. Why does evangelism exist? I understand that people who believe in the Bible as I once did feel compelled to follow it (or at least the parts they feel comfortable with) and spread the good news of God. Why is that necessary if we are told that “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)?
If God’s qualities, powers and divine nature are “CLEARLY SEEN” then why does evangelism exist? The sun is clearly seen and needs no one standing up to speak for it. The moon as well. Even wind, which is not seen, is something we can all feel and understand. We, as humans, can see each other and need no one’s help to convince anyone that we exist. If God is clearly seen, so clearly that we are without excuse, why is there a debate about the existence of God and why does anyone need to speak on his behalf?
If you are unconvinced of the existence of God, as I now am, what does that say about you? What does that say about God? Are you just being defiant? Rebellious? Are you just loving your sin so much that you can’t see God? Are you so mesmerized by the lies of the devil that you can’t see what’s right in front of your face? Or is there more to it? I wasn’t trying to hide from or ignore God. I was seeking him. I wasn’t wanting to live in sin but rather leave it behind me. I lost sight of God the moment I realized I never saw him in the first place. I was following the guidebook known as the Bible. I prayed and prayed, but God was only visible as words, nothing more. Why?
There is a common belief amongst Christians that they need to do the work of an all-powerful being who knows all and sees all. I know that the Bible says to go out and preach the Gospel…and here’s why: The authors of the Bible knew that without word of mouth, their god would cease to exist. That’s not to say some god couldn’t or doesn’t exist, but the one that they created that lives in the Bible most certainly would fade away without their help.
The evangelists who knock on your door, stop to talk in the street or write their blogs all in the name of God have one thing in common: they don’t believe God will reach out others without their help. It’s their Christian duty, if you will. If they thought God would speak for himself, reach the lost or save another soul on his own, they would stop doing what they are doing. That doesn’t mean they would stop praising a god they believed in, but they wouldn’t feel that the world was lost without their missionary work. A personal God who listens to (and answers) prayers, wouldn’t need anyone speaking for him. He’d be able to handle it himself. Which leads me to my next question:
Why continue to follow a book that is consistently wrong? The Bible tells us that anything we ask for in Jesus’s name will be given (John 14:13-14) and it is wrong. The Bible says that if we seek, we will find (Matthew 7:7) but as a seeker myself, I know that to be wrong. The Bible said Jesus would return in the time of the disciples (Matthew 16:28) but he still hasn’t returned after nearly 2000 years. The Bible says many things, but if you try to verify facts or prophecies or pray and check for results, you will find the words promised to us don’t line up with reality. Why not? The Bible fails because it is a flawed book written by flawed men. A perfect God who wants a perfect world governed by his perfect word wouldn’t have allowed errors and misinformation to be spread in his name.
Don’t fall for the lies fed to you that say some “secret sin” is keeping you from believing in God, having prayers answered or from feeling his presence. That is a man-made (church-approved) intentional tactic of deceit to cover the fact that the Bible’s promises fall flat time and time again. I believed once, for a very long time. I took positive answers to prayer (coincidences) as proof of providence and I took the disappointment of unanswered prayers as God’s disapproval of something in my life. Why did I believe in these things? Because of evangelism. The words of people influenced my thoughts and beliefs.
Try this: Remove evangelism and rely solely on the Bible for your guidance. Don’t check outside sources or ask a pastor for help. Don’t take into account what your parents taught you or what your friends are convinced of. Just use the Bible. Try that and see what happens. If you only have “God’s word” to go on, will you still believe? Not very likely. The reason is that if you only have that book to go on and you try to practice what it teaches and test your results, you will be sorely disappointed. You need a positive spin on it in order to continue going forward with it. You need someone who is a proper wordsmith to rearrange or redefine the words over and over again to get you to say, “Oh, okay. I guess that makes sense.” If you rely only on the material presented, you will probably be wondering why you are even bothering with it. It doesn’t add up. None of it.
So why does evangelism exist? It exists so that Christianity can continue to exist. It exists to keep the story going. It exists so there is always someone ready to step in and change the meaning of things to fit the times we live in and cover all of the shifts in our culture. It exists to insert some sort of plausibility into the preposterous and some hope where none is needed.
Evangelism exists as a crutch to support a hobbling religion that is on its last leg.