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Why Has Evangelism Declined?

We have entered a decade or two lull in evangelistic passion among evangelicals now. This is ironic since “evangelical” and “evangelistic” come from the same root word which means gospel, good news, or evangel. I think there are several reasons for this.

First, there’s been a bit of a backlash to past models that seemed reductionistic and mechanistic. 

Os Guinness in Fool’s Talk observed how “recent forms of evangelism are modeled not on classical rhetorical or even on good communication theory, but on handbooks for effective sales technique.”[1]

Some are bothered by the idea that evangelism is boiled down to asking people to answer two questions: “If you were to die today, do you know for sure you’d go to heaven?” And, “Do you know for sure you are going to be with God in heaven?”

Over time, people increasingly felt these were reductionist and mechanical, so (for good or for bad) they moved away from them.

You’re more likely now to find Christians make jokes about the way they used to do evangelism than actually do evangelism. Instead of starting with our questions, we should start where people are and walk them to the gospel.

Second, many believers don’t have confidence in the gospel. 

LifeWay Research study found about half the people who regularly attend an evangelical church give a pluralistic or a universalistic answer to questions about the need for people to know Christ.

Read more at Christianity Today.

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