Earlier this week, Justin Taylor quoted from an interview with D.A. Carson on the topic of helping coming generations to keep their focus on the gospel. Carson gave six suggestions for this, but one gripped me when I read it:
Never stop evangelizing: it is much easier to get sloppy about the gospel if you are not proclaiming it and seeing men and women come to Christ.
Why is this true? Why are we in danger of losing the gospel if we stop evangelizing? I think it’s because when we evangelize we understand that there are significantly fewer assumptions we can make concerning what people know and don’t know about the Bible, God’s holiness, sin, Jesus, and grace (especially when you consider our increasingly post-Christian society). This helps to keep us from leaving things out and urges us to be precise in our gospel-telling.
When we simply stay within our Christian bubbles, it’s easy to assume your brothers and sisters in Christ know what you mean when you use words like “justification” and “redemption” because they’ve already come to know Christ and they’ve been sitting under biblical preaching and teaching. Not so with evangelizing the lost. Actually, in evangelism it is better to assume they know very little or nothing at all about these things.
In understanding that unbelievers may not have any other Christians telling them what we’re telling them about sin and forgiveness, there is a greater sense of care we bring to a gospel conversation. Evangelism keeps us from straying into ambiguity and vague generalities when thinking and speaking of the gospel. We need evangelism to keep us fixed on the truth.