bits from bob....

Principles for Evangelism

by Robert J. Young
©, 2006, Robert J. Young

[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

When I visited Costa Rica a few years ago, there were several Nicaraguans living and working there. I observed firsthand an interesting conflict of lifestyles and values. While the Nicaraguans wanted to be overtly evangelistic with public preaching in the park, personal confrontations and invitations in public places, and overt efforts to share the gospel, the Costa Ricans were more reserved. I am confident that this difference in the preferred approach to evangelism was due to conflicting value systems and experiences in the cultural backgrounds of those Christians. They were, after all, from two different, although adjoining, nations.

Many Central Americans have a world view based on self-protection and self-benefit, summarized in the word "aprovechar." This concept says one should protect self against others (cf. Luke 16:1ff), a concept also sensible and common in first century Rome. I saw "aprovechar" demonstrated often in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch. This cultural concept reminds us that we must learn to communicate in the context of the culture and to build on the principles of Scripture if we are to share the gospel and to influence cultures and governments.

Are there common principles for evangelism that apply in every culture and circumstance? Of the many New Testament texts that speak to evangelism, I choose five specific events from the life of Christ for consideration. Here is the list, in the approximate order of occurrence in the life of Jesus.

My purpose in considering these accounts is to identify some basic, broadly applicable principles for evangelism, principles reflected in these accounts from the life of Christ.

Certainly many other lessons could be drawn from these texts, but these are a good beginning point. Let us follow the example of Jesus who went everywhere preaching the word.

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Last updated November 7, 2006