Evangelism  •   Click here to Download

I am different than most Lutherans; I was converted to Christianity in my late teens. Most Lutherans are baptized into the church as infants and grow up in the Christian culture. I grew up in a rather dysfunctional family; I was nine when my parents got divorced; I spent three years in an institutional foster home; by my senior year of high school, I had attended 14 different schools.

It was early 1971, during the middle of my junior year that a friend introduced me to Mr. Bizansky; he taught Russian at my high school. At a home fellowship gathering, he witnessed the Gospel to me, and I accepted Christ into my life. The Holy Spirit moved in my life and transformed my outlook on everything that was happening around me.

Having experienced the liberty of Jesus’ saving grace, I wanted to share this with my brother. After weeks of gently trying to persuade him to accept for himself, the salvation that I had found, I confronted him. “Daniel,” I asked, “Why don’t you want to be a Christian?”

“Charles,” he began “Do you remember that little church next to our foster home, when we were kids? Well, those people were like death warned over…. And, I’ve got better things to do on a Sunday, than to keep a pew warm.”

Scripturally, the prominent reference for evangelism and discipling comes to us from, Matthew 28:19-20:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

I have to ask, do Lutherans know what the word “discipling” really means? It seemed that our Lutheran brethren believe that if we read our Bibles more directly, it would turn our assemblies back on the right path.

However, I am concerned that this would be form-without-substance. Culturally, anyone can live according to the principles of good living, as advocated by the Bible. This is the whole reason why the non-liturgical evangelical Christians will ask people if they are, “born again?” They are not asking if you are a neo-Pentecostal who speaks in tongues. They want to know if you have been through the evangelical process, and have a testimony to share. The central mechanism of the evangelical process is the discipleship sub-process. The other, prerequisite sub-process is revival.

For the non-liturgical church, evangelism, revival and discipling are a specific process. The nearest equivalent historical example that we as liturgical Christians have occurred during the Wesleyan Revival within the Anglican Church of England. (I would invite anyone who wants a short synopsis on this revival to read the Wikipedia article on the “United Methodist Church” and the more general “Methodism”.) This whole process of evangelism, revival and discipling operates under the assumption that, not everyone who goes to church is really a true Believer in the Gospel. It begins with the evangel witnessing a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ to the would-be supplicant. The first question an evangel or discipler asks the prospective disciple (under this practice) is, “Do you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior!”

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