The traditional style of evangelism declares that we are all ‘filthy sinners’ and are bound for hell unless we repent. This is what you would call a real judgemental style of evangelism – the ‘Fire and Brimstone’ message. This is in stark contrast to the real truth of evangelism, the understanding and sharing of the real ‘good news’ of who we are. The word repent comes from the Greek metanoia. After a misunderstanding of this word, it became ‘repentance’ where it always means a fundamental change in thinking and living, though usually with the added inference of sorrow and guilt. When Jesus calls people to ‘repent’ (metanoia), He means: ‘Change your thought process and go beyond your mind’s present state of limitations’. From worthless sinners we are commanded to think differently. We are worthy and priceless to God who created us in His image and likeness. This changing of your mind and thinking, is a necessary ingredient in understanding God’s grace for salvation and community for everyone. We are part of the Godhead, created in His image and likeness. Our challenge and message for evangelism is that we all are saved, and intimately and intensly loved by God, our progenitor. This is the good news and is inclusive for ALL, there are no limits. Romans 9:24-25, “Not only the Jews, but also the Gentiles. I will call them My people, who were not My people ”. This is the real ‘good news’, humanity in total, has been reset (through Jesus) to our original settings as created by our heavenly Father. The Good News is that the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son (Luke 15:1-32) are now all found safe and sound in Jesus. The gospel is the good news of what God has done to reach us, it is not what we have to do to reach God. God’s grace reaches out to us. Grace is the love and mercy given to us by God, because God desires us to have it, and not because of anything we have done to earn it. This is the real message that we are to bring to humanity. Evangelism is the ‘wake-up call’ to realise your true identity within God.
“Okay, that’s all well and good”, you say, “so I’m not going to hell, and I’ll get my harp, halo and honey-soy wings when I get allocated my own cloud. Doesn’t do much for me now.” But wait! There’s more! The key is 1 Timothy 4:10b where believers are especially ‘saved’. This doesn’t mean there are levels of salvation, but that believers will enjoy the benefits of ‘salvation’ now and not have to wait. What are these ‘benefits’? Ephesians 1:3 tells us that we have received every spiritual blessing. And though everyone has received them as part of their salvation, unless you are aware, you won’t make good use of them. These blessings include the ‘fruit’ which comes from having the Spirit of God dwelling in you: Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Galatians 5:22-23). And of course the gifts as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12.
In contrast to evangelism, proselytism takes advantage of the weakness or vulnerability of people, desiring ‘membership’ rather than release, excluding other views and wants, trying to convince them to belong to “the only right view”. Proselytization is essentially spiritual bullying, driven by and through the misplaced fear of whatever god and the fear of others.