The word evangelism can be defined as spreading the Good News message concerning Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and his resurrection according to the scriptures.
The Bible records that the first word of Jesus’s Great Commission was not to ‘preach’ but to ‘go’ spread the good news of the gospel to the lost.
To proclaim Jesus Christ as the Saviour of the world is to proclaim God’s love; a love so great that He gave His only son to die on the cross for the entire human race, an open invitation to everyone, irrespective of class, race or religion.
The role of the Church, which is at the centre of God’s purpose, is a reliable means of spreading the gospel. The word of God should not be limited within the physical structure of the church. Evangelism is more or less to seek a deeper unity in truth, worship, holiness and good behaviour.
True believers must not allow circumstances, racial or social barriers as a reason for not preaching the gospel. Because of Christ’s universal nature as the true son of God, he occupied the supreme place at God’s right hand (Eph.1:20-23). This exalted position depicts His Lordship over every creature, both man and beast.
It is hardly noticeable these days, but God is raising up from younger churches, a great new resource for world evangelization, especially in the rural areas, deeply rooted in Christ and closely related to their culture. Cultural evangelism is a very sensitive issue, simply because culture is difficult to define. Culture, being the prouct of human society, must and should always be tested and judged by the word of God.
In most of Jesus’s discourses, he spoke strongly on matters on culture and tradition, and God’s word must always take precedence over tradition. (Mark 7: 8,9 and 13). I think that the point here is that some of our cultures are quite contrary to what the Bible teaches. Due to man’s fallen nature, most cultures especially in Africa, are inspired by the powers of darkness. The gospel evaluates all cultures; it rejects idolatry which of course denies the uniqueness of God and the need of grace etc.
As Christians, the gospel insists on moral absolutes as human customs are relative. Churches that are confused by importing alien culture, encounter additional problem as to how to relate to their national or tribal culture.
Evangelization will become a reality only when the spirit renews the church in truth, wisdom, faith, love, holiness and power.