If “he who wins souls is wise” (Prov. 11:30), why are we so good at thinking up excuses for not evangelizing?

  • The Calvinism Excuse: ”If God’s going to convert the heathen, he doesn’t need us to do it.”
  • The Pragmatism Excuse: ”It hasn’t worked in the past so why should it work this time.”
  • The Ecclesiology Excuse: ”Our church is such a mess, there’s no point in asking people to come.”
  • The Revivalism Excuse: ”We must wait for the Holy Spirit to bless.”
  • The Pluralism Excuse: ”Surely not everyone without Christ is without hope.”
  • The Pietism Excuse: ”I’ll pray. Evangelism is for the activists.”
  • The Humility Excuse: ”Who am I to tell others what they should or shouldn’t do or believe.”

But if we dig down deep enough, behind the logic of these excuses, we’ll find a horrible emotion is at the root of all these evangelism-choking weeds: FEAR.

  • Fear of ridicule
  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of lost friendships
  • Fear of exposure
  • Fear of difficult questions

How do get rid of this fear? Well we must recognize it, confess it, and seek forgiveness. That covers the past.

But what about the future? We need another emotion. LOVE.

Perfect love casts out fear (1 Jn. 4:18). Love for Jesus and love for the lost is the only excuse-killing power that can get down to the roots of our excuses and grow deep soul-winning passion.

  • http://www.wogmagazine.com T.Newbell

    Amen, David! May he fill us all with love and a different fear–fear of the Lord.

  • Pauline GeBuys

    You have certainly addressed all our excuses!

  • Pauline GeBuys

    You have certainly addressed all our excuses!
    Shame on us!

  • http://bibchr.blogspot.com Dan Phillips

    Ouch, amen, and ouch. And amen.

  • http://www.antiordinary74.blogspot.com Eric J Dolce (@AntiOrdiary74)

    Just in time for my men’s small group evangelistic outing tomorrow. God bless you Prof. Murray!

  • http://Doulogos.blogspot.com Daniel

    The love that is needed is not so much an affection, as it is self-denying. It doesn’t originate with us, but we partake of it when we are surrendered in our heart to serve God’s will, even as our Lord did in and through serving others.

    To attempt to muster or generate an affection by which we become motivated is a common error, so also is it erroneous to attempt to inflate some existing empathy. Abandon these as powerless and carnal. The love that motivates us is not an emotion, but a Person. When we are humbled in obedience before the will if our Lord, we walk in (His) love, and the burden of evangelism, being His, is easy and light.

    The problem we have is not a lack of affection, it is a lack of repentance, or said another way, our problem is that our flesh has no interest in the salvation of others, except in cases where it would benefit us personally, and we are inclined by our rebellion against the rule of Christ (I.e. our sin) to obey ourselves rather than to accept the rule of Christ in the matter.

  • http://5ptsalt.com Joel Taylor

    Sorry, I can’t say amen to this, because of your first presupposition: Calvinists don’t believe in evangelism. You said the Calvinism excuse was ”If God’s going to convert the heathen, he doesn’t need us to do it.”

    I don’t know of one, single Calvinist who believes such silliness, and that is what this is, silly and wrong.

    • http://headhearthand.org/blog/ David Murray

      Well, Joel, you could try reading any biography of William Carey, forefather of the modern missionary movement. I’ve also heard it said in my hearing many times. And sometimes, to my shame, I’ve thought it myself. Maybe we move in different circles.

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  • http://www.jdaniellowe.com Rev. Dr. Jeff Lowe

    Agreed. When we are more ‘self-conscious’ than ‘God conscious’ we can easily be wrapped up in fear. If you will confess Jesus, He will confess your name before the angels in heaven. (Luke 12:8)

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  • Dave

    I am convinced the reason we don’t evangelize is because they gospel has not changed us.

    Both from personal experience and from reading the gospels, I find that when Jesus Christ REALLY makes a difference in people’s lives, freeing them from both the penalty of sin and from the power of sin, sharing the gospel becomes a none issue.

    In short, we don’t share the gospel because we don’t believe it matters and we don’t believe it matters because it hasn’t mattered all that much to us and it doesn’t matter all that much to us either because 1) we really aren’t saved or 2) we don’t fully understand all that the gospel does.

    The excuses are just our way of protecting ourselves so we don’t see this fundamental problem.

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