Monday, June 19, 2006

The Idol Called Evangelism

A couple years ago someone sent me a link to this talk by Roy Hargrave of Riverbend Community Church, an SBC church in Florida.

This talk came back to mind over the weekend, so I thought I might post the link and some quotes. Hargrave is addressing a range of issues related to evangelism as it is manifested in the SBC, but you'll find appropriate applications for the full spectrum of evangelical churches. Some of Hargraves primary targets are decisionism, dishonesty, manipulation, man-centeredness, prestige grounded in statistics, and "Baptist" infant baptism (Hargrave quotes a great comment from Paige Patterson on this point). These paragraphs are from the same context near the conclusion, but they're spliced together:
Why are we so determined to go down this road? Is it power? Is it prestige? Is it money for our institutions? I don't know the answer. But it seems that we continue to promote everything from The Prayer of Jabez©, The Forty Days of Purpose©, The Passion of the Christ©, the who-knows-what, in the place of the clear, constant exposition of the Holy Scripture, which declares the greatness of God and promotes a passion for souls.

I believe we are reliving a down-grade that is likened unto the down-grade of Spurgeon's day, and America will pay even as Great Britain paid in the last century for our failure as a denomination to right the ship according to the Word of God and not the latest fad that works.

"The prioritization of evangelism over the glory of God is the very thing that has caused such a loss of passion for both God and souls in our ranks. . . . We have more programs for training and motivating our people in evangelism than any time in church history. But what is the fruit of it? The greatest passion of missions and evangelism has always followed on the heels of bold proclamation—the proclamation of God's sovereignty, the proclamation of man's responsibility.

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