Found this interesting article (dated 19 October 2007) from J. Lee Grady, the editor of Charisma Magazine:

“My heart sank two weeks ago when I heard that Dr. D. James Kennedy had died at age 76 of complications from an earlier heart attack. Knowing that Jerry Falwell died in May, and considering that Billy Graham is not in good health, I wondered who could possibly replace these stalwart Christian statesmen.

The congenial Kennedy, who usually wore an austere clerical robe when he preached on his popular television broadcast, founded Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale 48 years ago. Yet his formal appearance was misleading—since his life’s mission was to train the average layperson to share the gospel.

Indeed, Kennedy’s most enduring legacy was Evangelism Explosion, a training course he started in 1970. Used in thousands of churches, it has helped Christians develop a confident approach to personal witnessing. Countless people have been trained to ask a simple question—“If God were to ask why He should allow you into heaven, what would you say?”— to jumpstart conversations with unbelievers.

It was that trick question, overheard on a radio broadcast, that led Kennedy to Christ in 1953. He gave the rest of his life to help people find the right answer. Now that he is dead, I pray his passion can be ignited in our hearts.

It seems as if personal evangelism is a dying art. Fewer of us are taking our faith beyond familiar circles of friends and family. Witnessing has become intrusive in a culture that demands tolerance and diversity. Knocking on doors is illegal in most neighborhoods. “Soul-winning” is an outdated term. Polls show that few Christians today have ever led a person to faith in Christ.

As our society has become more secular, our faith has become more timid. It is no longer cool to declare Jesus is the only way. So we don’t say it—we just hope people will figure out our message by listening to our music or by wandering into our churches at an odd hour on Sunday mornings.

I am especially disturbed that personal evangelism has lost its importance among those of us who call ourselves Pentecostal or charismatic. Many of our best evangelists have also passed into glory or are getting feeble. Yet when I look at the younger generation, it seems many leaders are focused on the inside of the church rather than the harvest fields.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I know we need prophecies, visions, dreams and spiritual experiences. We also need solid Bible teaching, powerful exhortation and the inspiration that comes from praise and worship. But it seems today our focus has turned totally inward. The church is ministering to the church. The pastor is preaching to the choir. And our message isn’t reaching beyond the vestibule.

When Jesus began His earthly ministry, He read from the book of Isaiah about the promise of the Holy Spirit. The passage in Isaiah 61:1 says: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted …” (NASB emphasis added).

This verse, which so dramatically captures the essence of Jesus’ ministry and ours, clearly lists evangelism as His priority. The Holy Spirit’s anointing does a lot of things—but we are told here that He clothes us with divine power so we can announce good news. In other words, we are not anointed simply to prophesy, receive revelations, experience spiritual goose bumps, shake, quake, rattle, roll, shout, raise hands, take offerings, receive offerings or obtain blessings and breakthroughs. All those things are great, but if we have them without evangelism then our faith becomes inverted and self-absorbed.

I’ve been in some great charismatic meetings where everyone falls on the floor at the altar. Some get up and go back for more anointing. In fact, we are known to pray: “More! Lord, give them more fire!” Then the people swoon again, roll around and act drunk. And they come back three more nights to have hands laid on them again.

We’ve become like actors in a perpetual dress rehearsal in which we repeat our lines over and over but never actually perform for an audience.What good is the anointing if we just wallow and splash in it like hungry hogs at a slop trough? I love the anointing as much as the next person. But when will we actually open our mouths and use it to preach to unbelievers? I want to stand up and scream, “Get off the floor and do something with this power!”

D. James Kennedy was an evangelical brother who did not preach about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, yet he taught people to pray for boldness and to look for every opportunity to share their faith. What would happen if churches that fully embrace the
Spirit’s anointing broke out of their self-imposed isolation and started preaching to everything that moves?”

My question is have you made it a priority to spread the gospel?

Are you guilty of the quote “Fewer of us are taking our faith beyond familiar circles of friends and family.”?

Or do we hope as quoted that “people will figure out our message by listening to our music or by wandering into our churches at an odd hour on Sunday mornings.”

What a person stands to lose (i.e. their soul) if they step out of this world without Christ is unimaginable. That thought alone should move us to get out of our comfort zone and reach out to the lost. If we dont, then can we truly say that we have love for the lost if their is no action behind our words?

I will leave you with a quote from John Piper

“Never forget that people who do not obey Christ forfeit eternal life and go out into eternity under the wrath of God. John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him……….In other words, keep before your mind the terrible reality of entering eternity without Christ.”

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Comments
  1. billphillips says:

    Hello,

    I learned this question from Dr. Kennedy: If you were to die today, and stand before God, and He said, ‘Why should I let you into heaven,’ what would you say?

    It’s an interesting question, but the response is usually pitiful. Most people have blank stares, and have never thought about it. Most of the rest of people say because they’re good people. And it’s pretty rare when people say anything about Jesus.

    I’ve found that people are open to discussing that question, and it’s so important that we discuss it with them.

    Bill

  2. Acidri says:

    Interesting. I do agree with you on a number of issues here. Just wrote something on my blog on evangelism that you might possibly find thought provoking

  3. Jarrod says:

    I totally agree with all that I have read on this site. I have been saved for about 9 years, but have recently been convicted to act upon my faith. I have quieted myself and have listened to what God wants me to do for him, instead of what I wish for myself. I have decided to stop talking and put my faith in his will, and set out to walk from Tennessee, where I live, to Texas. I know it may sound extreme to others, but was Jesus extreme? Were his sacrifices not great? America needs more selfless action and less words and I am grateful for the opportunity that God has laid out for me. I intend on inspiring others to let Satan’s trappings wash away so that we may worship He who the true creator. I take much inspiriation from the teachings of Jesus, as he told his followers that you cant serve two masters. I believe worship is all or nothing. I am leaving out in April with just a backpack and my dog. I wish to spread the word, any advice or resources you could send me through email or #4233158042 would be truly a blessing. Thanks again and keep up the true work!

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