Renewal Journal 10: Evangelism
Book Reviews: Flashpoints of Revival & Revival Fires, by Geoff Waugh
You will be my witnesses
‘Evangelism’ can be an unpopular word. It may make us feel guilty because we don’t seem to do it very well – whatever it is! That’s changing. As in the early church, more and more people are gossiping the gospel, praying for their friends and seeing God change people.
‘Evangelism’ is not actually a biblical term, although ‘evangelist’ is mentioned three times: Acts 21:8 – Philip the evangelist; Ephesians 4:11 – some are evangelists; 2 Timothy 4:5 – do the work of an evangelist. Then again, ‘altar call’, ‘making a decision’, and ‘inviting Jesus into your heart’ are not biblical terms either, useful as they may be.
Jesus called people to follow him; to deny self; to repent and believe. His followers were, and are his witnesses (Acts 1:8). We proclaim, announce, tell, preach, gossip, share, demonstrate, and live the good news. I’ve never forgotten the challenge a speaker to a youth rally flung out when he talked about evangelism. He said, ‘Shut up, until you can’t.’ Maybe that was not polite, but it packed a punch. We often lay burdens on people and try to convince them of our beliefs. What about praying to the Lord so much that a fire burns in us and we just can’t keep quiet any more?
Better still, we too can do evangelism Jesus’ way, Peter’s way, Paul’s way, and as countless millions do now in the world – discovering the transforming power of the Spirit of God so that you just want to talk about it, pray about it, and see God touch people with his grace and power.
Contributors to this issue of the Renewal Journal take that approach to evangelism.
When John Wimber died in November 1997, he left a great legacy. He inspired hundreds of thousands to take the Bible seriously and ‘do the stuff’ including power evangelism. The Renewal Journal has often carried articles by John Wimber and others he influenced. The first article in this issue of the Journal is a summary of his early statements on power evangelism from his famous course MC510 at Fuller Theological Seminary. John White attended that course in 1984 (as did this editor) and tells in an interview with Julia Loren how it impacted his life and ministry. Randy Clark gives global examples of power evangelism in short term missions.
Richard Heard, senior pastor at the Christian Tabernacle in Houston reports on a strong impact of the Spirit of God in their church, and Sharon Wissemann summarizes the significance of Evangelist Steve Hill’s ministry at Pensacola which has now touched hundreds of churches and thousands of people around the world.
Evangelist Louis Bush directs attention to evangelism in the nations of the 10/40 Window, and Rowland Croucher suggests ways to use opportunities the Internet provides for evangelism to the world.
Charles Taylor identifies the essentials of the gospel message. Daryl Brenton summarizes the significance of 20 Pentecostal and Charismatic pioneers who have been powerful evangelists and leaders, and Richard Riss provides a comprehensive summary of the characteristics of revival.
Jesus described his kind of evangelism in his last promise on earth: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses … to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
© Renewal Journal 10: Evangelism, 1997, 2nd edition 2011.
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