I’ve been observing….over the past few years, the term evangelical has been losing its charm. I think I first started to notice when late TV found, to their pleasure, a target in the TV evangelists to mock and use for fodder – not without reason, of course, but I thought the term evangelism was in trouble.
Evangelistic teams, evangelistic tools, evangelistic projects have also been in trouble causing Christians to see those with who they wanted to share the gospel as projects, not people. Intentions were good, the execution left something to be desired.
In the past five years (or more) as the evangelical church aligned themselves with the Republican Party in the USA, the term evangelical again was compromised. As Ed Stetzer recently commented upon on Twitter, “when you mix faith and politics, you get politics”. That’s too true.
I have begun to wonder aloud with those I know who are closely associated with the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada that perhaps a name change is in order. Certainly, if I was a pastor today I would be reticent to join any evangelical ministerial.
Consider this, the author of the Book of Luke and Acts in the New Testament makes specific reference to recording the events of Jesus’ life and His followers as a record of faith and he makes the comment which caught my eye, “all that we have seen and witnessed”.
I think evangelism is really about telling our story, about telling what we have seen, what we have witnessed. It’s about telling how the God of the Universe, through the life of Jesus and the ministry of His Holy Spirit met us – met me – in a particular way that changed my life. I have lots of stories where at a particular time I found myself undeniably met by God’s Spirit in such a way that I could not deny the existence of God and His interest and love for me.
Evangelism as a term may need to be retired for the time being. But I think we should emphasize telling our story – being witnesses!