Christianity is, without doubt, one of the most prominent religions on earth. Derived from the word Christ, Christians have tried to emulate the works and behaviors of the founder of the faith. However, with changing times, there have developed notable differences in the way doctrines and practices within the faith have been practiced.
For instance evangelism in early Christians was, to some extend, different from what we experience in contemporary Christianity. This paper intends to compare and contrast evangelism in the early church and the present day’s evangelism.
Evangelism in definition is the process of sharing giving out a message concerning a particular faith to other people who don’t adhere to that faith. This term is mostly used in Christian circles (Green 3).
In the early church, there was no running away from the community you were called to serve. The evangelist was compelled to carry out his commission to the assigned community without failure. Therefore we see that they evangelized through constant presence. It therefore implies that this church mingled with the community thereby bringing that purpose of enhancing the gospel.
Furthermore evangelism in the early church depended on the Holy Spirit. This means that the Holy Spirit caused them to preach and evangelize without fear or intimidation. They spoke the word d of God boldly. The apostles spread up beyond borders and declared the word of God, going ahead to baptize new converts in water and the Holy Spirit. Many people therefore spoke in tongues and were convicted to the gospel.
Despite the situation, compromise was not a part of the early church’s evangelists. In the midst of persecution and trials it’s so evident that no apostle could deny the faith he had. This in it own way is evangelizing (Green 14). They never compromised the gospel with the situation they were in. The apostles went ahead to hostile environments with the constant message declaring the word of God.
The early church had a convicting boldness that highly depended on prayer and the Holy Spirit. They never relented on this two things and that is why there was massive evangelism. Regardless of not having worldly possession, the church still never backed out in testifying the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
In evangelizing, they knew that life can be taken away at any time. This however did not make them fearful. It instead gave them courage. In evangelizing, they never feared death nor ever deny their faith. Through this, it is so evident that the gospel went all round and many people became convicted with the message they carried (Earley & Wheeler 125).
In evangelizing, Jesus used some key points to win the hearts that were lost. As it is seen at the well in Samaria, Jesus met this Samaritan woman. He took the first initiative of going to her and not waiting for an invitation. He takes the initiative of a starting a conversation.
Jesus went on to break the barriers that were set at that time. Jews could not speak to Samaritans; religious men were not allowed to talk to women. Further more, godliness and sin were not to get mixed. Jesus also breaks culture by coming to earth from heaven; he comes to this earth like a small poor Jews boy. He thus crosses barriers and culture to prepare in delivering the gospel.
In the example of Jesus, we see that after doing this you need to change the topic immediately into spiritual matters by getting a point to act as a stepping stone. Here Jesus asks for water and goes ahead to ask her if she wants water of life. Jesus also listened to her and did not allow her to get off the hook. In his way of evangelism, he stays focused on the spiritual needs.
Pointing out the sins of the woman is what Jesus undertook to do. It is important to note that the woman was immoral. She asked Jesus to give her the living water, but then Jesus confronted her sins first. Jesus attacked the sinful part of the woman but in a more sensitive manner.
This made the woman want to know more and she disclosed her life fully. Jesus in evangelizing pushes one from the point of worship to whom to worship. He pulls her on track to understand that the place of worship is not important but what is important is the person you worship.
At this point, Jesus is aware not to be sidetracked by non eternal things but pushes the woman into receiving the living water by submitting her life and worship the father in spirit and in truth. Here, Jesus wins the woman’s soul as she greatly accepts after Jesus introduces himself (Hybels 10).
The disciples of Jesus evangelized too. We know that they walked with Jesus and as he left them for heaven, he promised to send them a helper. When time came, they received the Holy Spirit that would enable them evangelize without fear or intimidation.
They shared the gospel in words and deeds, never to forget being in direct contact with the community. The disciples had a constant message and that was proclaiming the word of God. They never feared neither death nor persecution but made sure that the great commission bestowed to them by Jesus was fulfilled.
In today’s local church, there are marked differences. People regard the temples as church not knowing that our bodies are the temple of the leaving God. Often, believers will want to practice like in the Old Testament and forget that we are leaving by the New Testament.
It is difficult to find church leaders sending out members so as to plant new congregation. In the early church, Christ commissioned the disciples to go into the world to preach the good news. In our present world, individuals are afraid to preach and spread the gospel (Stiles 54).
People are ashamed of the gospel. If given a choice of dying for Christ or leaving if you denounce Christ, people now will choose the later. This is because they are afraid to die. The early church never denounced Christ. They were ready to die for the sake of the gospel. Furthermore, unlike Jesus going to the lost to evangelize to them, present day evangelists wait for the lost to come to them for salvation.
Before giving salvation to the Samaritan woman, Jesus first pointed out her sins and called upon her to repent. Contrarily, current day evangelists forget about pointing out sins and calling for repentance and preach prosperity gospel. They concentrate on teaching their people how to become rich.
Evangelism therefore is important if we want the whole world to hear the gospel. There are many parts of the world that have not yet heard the gospel. It therefore requires that people come out to take the gospel to the nations and preach the good news of Christ.
Christians should stand firm and defend the gospel regardless of persecutions or death. If one is ashamed of Christ he will also be ashamed of him on the Day of Judgment.
Earley, Dave and David Wheeler. How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence. Nashville, TN: B & H, 2010. Print.
Green, Michael. Evangelism in the Early Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1970. Print.
Hybels, Bill. Just Walk Across The Room: Simple Steps to Pointing People to Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006. Print.
Stiles, J. Mack. Speaking of Jesus – How to Tell Your Friends the Best News They Will Ever Hear. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1995. Print.