I feel a bit foolish.
How many times in my preaching and teaching have I referred to the ‘gift’ of evangelism? Too many to count.
So often was this supposed gift referred to by my mentors, professors, teachers, and friends that I never questioned its biblical validity … that is until today.
[I believe] that there is no such thing as “the gift of evangelism.” Part of my concern is that I hear many people saying they don’t have the “gift of evangelism” and thus believing it is not their responsibility to do evangelism (since they don’t have the “gift”). And, since evangelism can be a challenge at times, that seems to be a “gift” that people don’t want.
Ed goes on to make four points worthy of ponder:
1. All believers are given the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). That is, their role is to be agents of reconciliation and share how men and women are to be redeemed and changed by the power of the gospel.
2. Timothy was called to do his work in evangelistic ways (2 Timothy 4:5) but based on the fact that all are called to present the gospel of reconciliation, it makes sense that we can heed that admonition in all our lives. Thus, I encourage pastors to do ministry in evangelistic ways, but particularly church leaders (since Timothy was a church leader). Like in 1 Timothy 3, leaders are almost always commanded to do the things believers do– just more so.
3. The church is gifted with evangelists (Eph. 4:11) who help us be faithful doing evangelism. We should talk more about the gifted people called evangelists.
4. It is unhelpful to refer to evangelism as a gift because it removes the responsibility of all believers. In other words, many think that if they don’t have the gift, it is not their job. Evangelism is not a “gift,” it is a call to all believers.
Did you know there’s not a single instance in which the Bible mentions the “gift of evangelism”? The closest Scripture comes to this is the mention of the role of evangelist (along with apostle, prophet, pastor, and teacher) that Ed references in point #3.
I will no longer speak of the “gift of evangelism” – I’m with Ed … there’s no such thing.
What do you think about this?
Also, do you believe point #4 is valid?