Evangelism: “the spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching or personal witness” – according to google’s definition.
As far as I understand it means the sharing of our hope in Christ with others, so they can know Him, and his Father, now and experience His power and Spirit in their lives immediately, as well as knowing Him in paradise for all eternity afterwards.
Often I am hesitant to evangelise, more so than to do almost any other favour for an unbeliever. There is no biblical basis for this, but I know that Jesus is not always popular. After all he was crucified and told his followers to expect the same or worse. So, not that I think my friends or colleagues are going to suddenly form a lynch mob (unlikely in England though I know this is going on very much in the world today), there is always a degree of discomfort.
Sadly, a number of arguments have been put forward for not evangelising, to justify this feeling. I certainly agree we should also meet the needs of our neighbours (Christian or not) in the here and now. However, if we do this but think it wrong to give them the real food from Heaven, we are not doing good!
To illustrate this, imagine a friend who is poor, hungry, blind, ill and not a believer. To meet all their physical needs but to deny them Christ would leave them well fed, sighted, whole, satisfied, comfortable and headed for hell. Is that really loving our neighbour as ourselves? I think we have to take risks with our friendships in order to really be friends.
Of imagine a friend has two injuries, one minor and temporary (like the troubles of this life), e.g. a small bruise. And also was bleeding from a vital artery. You would not just treat the temporary problem. Indeed, Jesus makes a point of dealing with the eternal problem first in the healing of the paralytic.
This evangelism is not reserved just for the evangelist- this is the only anti-evangelism argument I really want to deal with. These “evangelists” are just those for whom it is a day-job! Many people are specialists in helping others in terms of earthly needs: doctors, fire-fighters, teachers, mentors, psychiatrists, counselors, aid-workers and charity-workers. This however does not exclude me from helping meet needs where I can! Nor does the existence of the evangelist mean that we can all just sit back and do nothing!