Evangelism for the 21st Century
Mid-State Bible Institute
It has been suggested that about every five hundred years, the church holds a yard sale…out with the old, in with the new. We in the 21st century are living through another one. But, this time, the church, it would seem, is completely selling out.
Lets take a moment and look at where we came from...
During the first five hundred years of Christianity, Jesus is born, grows up, is crucified, and ascends into heaven. The Apostles take the Gospel throughout the known world and the Church is born, persecuted, and scattered over the whole earth, and finally moves from being a part of culture to being indistinguishable from culture.
By the end of the fifth century and into the sixth century, the Roman empire falls and the church enters a period known as the Dark Ages. During this time, there are all types of fighting and schisms. Then, At the beginning of the eleventh century, Christianity splits into two distinct groups with Orthodoxy becomes the religion of the East while Roman Catholicism becomes the religion of the West.
In the west, the sixteenth century is the time of the Reformation. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nails his Ninety-five theses on the church door in Witenberg, Germany. The result, by the 1600s we now have the Protestant religion, of which most of our evangelical churches in the United States are a part.
Now, in the 21st century (about five hundred years later) everything is changing again. In some countries where Christianity had all but been eradicated, they are hungering and thirsting for God's Word. Yet, Today, America (as well as many other places in the World) can no longer be considered a Christian nation. We have become a “Post-Christian” nation. It is difficult to define a Post-Christian world in one sentence or even in one paragraph. This is because one of the traits of a Post-Christian nation is something called “Relativism”. Relativism is a belief that all points of view are equally valid because all points of view are relative to the individuals experiences. There is no such thing as absolute truth because all truth is subject to context and culture.
Another belief that has plunged us into a Post-Christian Nation is called “Deconstruction”. Deconstruction is the belief that no single meaning of a text is possible. This involves critically evaluating why a specific belief is believed and why what anyone says is to be taken at face value. Deconstruction goes beyond questioning everything to questioning the possible meaning of everything as well. The goal of deconstruction is to literally destroy a persons ability to truly understand any belief.
2Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
A third trait of a Post-Christian Nation is “Distrust”. This prevailing attitude of distrust speaks out against traditional beliefs and strives to cast doubt on Gods Word. And then, “distrust” leads to a fourth trait, and that is “disillusionment”. Since nothing can be trusted, nothing can be known for certain. In a Post-Christian nation, people have grown weary of all the unfulfilled promises of science, technology, government, and religion. Distrust has grown deep into the culture and disillusionment has become a way of life.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Another Post-Christian trait that the 21st century Evangelist has to face is ”Pluralism”. This is simply the belief that all religions are equally false and/or valid in that all religions offer paths to God…or gods. Interestingly enough, the only religion to be outright denounced under Pluralism is Christianity, and that is because Christianity is one of the few religions that teaches exclusivity.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
After these traits, “environmentalism” and “globalization” are the other two post-christian traits that we face today. Where environmentalism becomes the religion of, and worship of, “Mother Earth”, Globalization seeks to bring everyone together under one religious flag. To accomplish both of these, the Creator of Heaven and Earth is tossed aside and the creation itself is worshiped.
Rom 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
With this said, living in a post-christian nation can be a blessing in disguise. People are open to receiving God today, but they are closed to the traditional, organized religion of yesterday. They are tired of facts, figures, and a nicely put together apologetic. They are looking for something real, meaningful and lasting. Today, it is not enough to say, “Jesus loves you”. It is not enough to say “repent” and “believe”. The Evangelist of the 21st century most be living it before he can preach it. He/She must be convinced that Jesus truly is “the way, the truth, and the life”, before he can convince anyone else. And, he must be “ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 peter 3:15). Your light must become brighter, your hope must become obvious, your opportunities must become limitless, and your faith must become authentic.
Now, lets continue learning the Romans Road. By now we should have memorized the first six verses, and be familiar with how they apply to salvation.
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
Rom 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
The last two verses in the Romans Road do not focus on salvation, but give assurance OF salvation for those who truly, and honestly embraced the first six.
Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Romans 8:38-39 “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”