Evangelism

Every Christian Is a Teacher

The Early Expansion of the Church

What common feature do you find in these excerpts from Acts?

“And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:7)

“But the word of God grew and multiplied.” (Acts 12:24)

“And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.” (Acts 19:10)

“So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” (Acts 19:20)

These verses highlight a noteworthy phenomenon that Luke recorded about the first century church. Like the ripples from a pebble tossed into a pond, the influence of the Word of God moved out into the world. Luke traces this noteworthy expansion from Jerusalem to as far west as Rome.

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The Quran & "Real Islam"

Our current President is fond suggesting Islam is a religion that promotes peace (as did G. W. Bush). Others, including many in conservative evangelical and biblical fundamentalist circles, insist that “real” Islam, according to the Quran, etc., is inherently violent toward all who do not embrace its belief system.

So what does “real” Islam teach about peace, jihad, and other human-rights topics?

Americans—especially Christians—really ought to stop trying to answer this question. We should also stop making generalizations based on what we believe to be the correct the answer. Here’s why.

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10 Mistakes We Make With the Gospel

1. Referring Rather than Declaring

It’s one thing to say “the gospel is central to all we do.” It’s another thing to declare that Jesus Christ died for sinners and rose again. It’s yet another thing to integrate the gospel into how we look at every part of ministry. Note the difference between these statements:

Statement 1: We have a children’s ministry to further the gospel in the lives of children

Statement 2: We have a children’s ministry because we all come into this world as sinners in need of rescue by a living, sinless Savior. It’s never too soon to start learning this freeing truth (Matt. 19:14, John 8:32).

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Clarifying Terms in Catholic Evangelism (Part 2)

Adapted from VOICE, July/Aug 2015. Used with permission. Read Part 1.

Born Again

If you asked a Roman Catholic per­son if he is “born again,” he might reply, “Yes of course.” But he may mean “I was born again when baptized as an infant.” Support for this as the official Roman Catholic view comes from The Catechism.

The seven sacraments of the Church Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist [The Mass], Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony are “all instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Paragraph 1114). “The ordained priest­hood [ordained by the Roman Catholic Church] guarantees that it really is Christ who acts in the sacraments through the Holy Spirit for the Church” (Paragraph 1120). The sacraments are necessary for salvation (Paragraph 1129). They act ex opere operato—literally, “by the very fact of the actions being performed” (Paragraph 1128). This means independent of any faith on the part of the recipient. And they are efficacious because in them Christ Himself is at work: it is He who baptizes (Paragraph 1128). Furthermore,

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Clarifying Terms in Catholic Evangelism (Part 1)

Adapted from VOICE, July/Aug 2015. Used with permission.

During recent years I have been able to present a seminar in several churches aimed at helping them more effective­ly and lovingly evangelize lost Roman Catholic people. When I receive feedback from the partici­pants, one of the most helpful parts of the seminar seems to be the comparison of terms that are differently understood by most Roman Catholic and evangelicals.

Often evangelicals will conclude that a particular Roman Catholic person is saved because of the use of certain terms. They may say, “Yes I was born again,” or “Yes, I have received Christ,” or “Yes, I believe I am going to heaven based on faith.” However, in many cases their Catholic friend actually means something different than our Bible-based understanding.

The differences in meaning are real and determinative when one attempts to commu­nicate the biblical grace gospel. God gave us the Holy Scriptures as a written revelation of “words,” words with intended meaning, and meaning with intention of being understood.

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