Why would I connect the two words anomaly and evangelism?
Just recently, I was at a pastor’s meeting with leaders from different types of church backgrounds. The moderator-leader of the gathering led a discussion that revolved around evangelism. It was quite telling to hear the plethora of different responses concerning the nature of evangelism. Some of them quite good, some of them, at least I believe, quite unhelpful. Even from pastors.
In the time allotted, we were only ever able to discuss the barriers to evangelism. We never really got past that. But in all, it was odd as I considered all the varying responses given. And this was highlighted as I later discussed some of the answers with a friend of mine. But some of the thoughts, at least as I can best understand evangelism, seemed quite narrow and reductionistic in regards to what evangelism is actually about.
So I am wondering if we have some kind of anomaly here, some kind of misunderstanding of what evangelism is all about.
I suppose an anomaly actually deviates from the norm, at least as many definitions suggest. And so some might argue for a particular view of evangelism that seems part of the norm, at least part of the inherited norm handed down to us from our evangelical fathers. But I believe that, to simply view evangelism through such a particular lens, is in fact an anomaly itself. I am certain that what many people proclaim as the gospel and subsequently seal with the evangelism-stamp-of-approval is not really central to what evangelism is all about.
I believe that before we could ever explain what evangelism is, we need to first know what the evangel, or good news/gospel, is? I think we would all agree on the importance of the gospel, whatever it is. But do we actually know what the gospel is so that we can proclaim it?
And that’s what I want to do over the coming posts, however many come forth. I want to look at what the good news is. What was the good news Jesus proclaimed? What was the good news Paul proclaimed? Were they different? And what does this mean with regards to evangelism? What is an evangelist? And perhaps there are other questions that will arise.
So let me start out by asking: What is the gospel?