One well-known respected Christian leader said to me two days ago, “Carl, clever subtitle on the new book. The art of NOT evangelism.”  Then he winked and smiled.

“Clever?”  It’s been interesting reading the early reviews on this book.  In magazines and Christian journals.  It’s been featured on several blogs, Facebook posts and in personal emails back to me. They’ve been surprisingly warm and positive (“surprising” because I think some may have missed my main point).  I don’t believe in evangelism any more. This isn’t a clever re-tooling of an old system ­ it’s a totally new way of thinking.

You see, the word evangelism is much like the word Christian. When you or I fill it with its best possible meaning in a perfect and sheltered world ­ it works great.  Evangelism: the act of bringing people the evangel ­ good news.  That sounds (and is) great.  But, rightly or wrongly, the world doesn’t use that word in that way. To most, the word means something like “the act of converting someone into another religious belief.”  And I don’t do that and I don’t believe the scriptures teach that!

And I suppose you know that the word “evangelism” doesn’t appear anywhere in the Bible ­ in English or in Greek (or Aramaic, or Hebrew, or Latin, or in any language).  The concept that does appear, is to “make disciples.” Committed followers.  Of….Jesus.  Getting Gentiles to become Jews was actually forbidden by Paul. Jews becoming Christians wasn’t even talked about.  (They were “called” that once, and the name eventually stuck ­ as a pejorative)

If the Holy Spirit is the one who “converts” people, and he’s not thinking about which religion their in ­ then why are we doing evangelism?  Let’s lift up Jesus. Speak clearly and often about him, not worry about the “growth of Christianity” and help people follow Jesus in committed communities.  Lets use words that mean exactly what they say and we’ll be surprised at the freedom that follows!

Try it.  Also….what would be the best push-back to this argument that you can think of?