King's Business - 1928-03

March 1928


T h e

K i n g ' s ’

B u s i n e s s

Evangelism Imperative B y D r . M a r k A . M a t t h e w s {Seattle, Washington )

Í N the study of evangelism and the present status of the Church, unmistakable definitions are necessary. FIRST— THE USE OF THE WORD . The word “ Evangelism” has been used and is generally understood to mean a department of the Church’s work. That use of the word is erroneous, and has been very destructive. In order to justify that incorrect use of the word other misleading terms were framed. Such as “ Foréign Missions,” “ Home Missions,” and “ Local Missions.’’ There are no such terms in the Scriptures, and there are no such terms possible if one has a correct understanding of the Scriptures. No such terms were in the commission which Christ gave to His disciples. All o f those terms are comprehended by the word “ Evangel­ ism.” All those terms are in the word “ Evangelism.” When Jesus Christ said, “ Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel,” He specifically instructed His dis­ ciples to go and evangelize the whole world. T o evangelize the world was the specific duty imposed upon the dis- ciples^ It is the Church’s supreme duty. For the first hundred years, the Church understood this duty and tried to perform it. The concluding verses of the second chapter of Acts explain how the early Church during the first hundred years undertook to carry out this commission. Whether we are trying to reach the people in a community, a city, a county, a state, a nation, or the world, the only term that comprehends’' that effort is ^Evangelism.” We are evangelizing the community; we are trying to evangelize the state; we are making an effort to evangelize the nation; we are spending time, energy and money to evangelize the world in obedience to Christ’s command; we are sending evangelists to a locality; we are commissioning evangelists to dependent fields, and, we are ordaining and commissioning evangelists to the fields of heathenism,, .darkness and superstition. That is real mis­ sionary work. T h e C h u r c h ’ s O n e D e p a r t m e n t There is but one department in the Church o f Jesus Christ,^ and that department is Evangelism. The Church has but one business and that is supreme,S-namely, the business of evangelizing the world. All other departments of the Church are by-products of evangelism, and are subordinate to, must be governed and controlled absolutely by, the, spirit o f evangelism if they are to succeed. Remem­ ber, the Church’s first; business, her constant business, her indispensable business is the evangelization of the world. As souls are saved they should be indoctrinated, organized, supervised, directed, and made to become self-supporting, constructive, personal evangelists in order that the work may be perpetuated. SECOND— THE H ISTORY OF EVANGELISM . O f course, when the Church drifted away from her su­ preme business and subordinated her supreme task and made it one o f many tasks, evangelism became less impor­ tant in the eyes o f some people; in fact, the Church lapsed in her duty. For the first hundred years she was very evangelistic; for the succeeding four hundred years she became increasingly subject to worldly ambitions for organization. In the sixth century the Satanic influences

to the eleventh century came darkness because the Church had lapsed in her conception o f her evangelistic duty. From the eleventh to the fifteenth century practically no evangelistic work was done in the world. Then, came the rustling o f the leaves, the stirring o f human hearts, the pricking of consciences, and the realization of the Church’s diabolical condition. Out o f that condition came the Reformation and the revival of the only doctrine that has ever evangelized any section of the world, namely, the doctrine of justification by faith. From that period to the eighteenth century there were a few efforts made which stirred the hearts of men and brought to devout souls the real commission which Christ gave to the Church to evan­ gelize the world. In different parts o f the world great leaders were raised up to preach the Gospel with fervor and power, and there came into existence as a result o f their work, the idea of periodical revivals and evangelistic campaigns. The idea of an evangelistic effort. being a periodical effort was,an absurd position! No S a n c t i o n f o r P e r io d ic a l W o r k God never intended the work of evangelism to lapse for a minute, or for it to drift into the idea of being a periodical affair, or a sporadic effort. Great preachers have been called of God and have become great, evangel­ ists. They have done a tremendous amount of good. Com­ munities, cities, sections o f a whole country, and sometimes small nations have been stirred by their evangelistic efforts. Coming to our day, we have permitted evangelism to drift into what might be called a program of scientific organization. You can’t inject machinery into an evan­ gelistic program and retain the freedom o f the Holy Spirit. Because o f the high-powered machinery and the excessive financial burden, and because of the inability of the workers to analyze and properly appraise the cranks connected with the campaigns, great evangelistic organiza­ tions have lapsed and are today practically useless. There are two great evangelists left, namely, “ Billy” Sunday and Dr. Biederwolf. These men are admitting that something else must be done. The need for evangelism is greater today than ever before in the history o f the world. W e are not fighting the lower and baser passions only; we are not trying to redeem men from the slums on ly; we are not dealing with the coarse, the mean, vulgar and revolting forms o f sin only-—we are engaged in a battle o f strategies. W e are fighting the strategies o f the devil. He is the greatest strategist in the universe. He is not asking men to become drunkards, liars and thieves; he is asking men to become Atheists, Spiritists, Theosophists, Christian Scientists, Uni­ tarians. He is dwelling in the realm o f psychology. He lives in the religious atmosphere. He is trying to anes­ thetize the conscience of men. He is making a direct stroke against the deity of Christ. He is urging men to teach that Christ is only one of the great founders o f religions. He is bringing Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism to the front. He is trying to revive Monotheism. He is a great Pantheist. He is an advocate o f the beautiful. He is making his great central attack through modern psychology, and he is using every psychology strategy

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