Discipleship is Evangelism

This is from a series of articles by S. Michael Craven, a Christian Post guest columnist. He makes some excellent points regarding the implications of the gospel of the kingdom – which we will be looking at in our study of Acts. It’s time to get back to the basics – authentic kingdom must include BOTH the words and the works of Jesus…

Thus far in my series on reevangelizing the church I have addressed the problem of gospel reductionism, a condition that has reduced the gospel to nothing more than the privatized plan of salvation. In response, I have sought to recover the broader historical understanding and implications of the gospel of the kingdom and, in light of this, explain how the church should best express this gospel. I have offered a threefold approach for expressing the gospel of the kingdom that is drawn from Scripture:

  1. I have written that the church must first manifest this good news of the kingdom by demonstrating what life looks like under the reign of God within a distinct community: the church, a community characterized by its radical love for one another (see John 13:34, 35; John 17). 
  2. Second, this unique community manifests the gospel by serving the world through acts of service, compassion, and mercy, working to reverse and/or mitigate the effects of sin (see Matt. 5:16, 22:39; Eph. 2:10; James 2:14–26).
  3. I now turn to the third and final aspect: proclamation of the gospel. How and what do we tell others about Jesus and this kingdom that has come into the world? The modern approach to this question seems to have gravitated, almost exclusively, toward highly simplistic and formulaic expressions of the gospel story. What I mean is that we have tried to condense the gospel to the most basic “facts” about Jesus, formulate simplistic mediums or tools for the conveyance of these facts, and then send folks out among strangers in an organized and frequently impersonal fashion.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying the Lord can’t use these means to accomplish his ends. He can and often does. However, the commission that we were given by Jesus (and that which we should take as our guide) was to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19, 20, ESV). Clearly, the process of making disciples involves more than simply sharing some propositions about Jesus.

To read the whole article click here.

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