The Speed of Evangelism

Evangelical Universalism and sharing the gospel. What are your thoughts?

The Speed of Evangelism

Postby denver » Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:53 pm

Just a thought I wanted to throw out there.

Some of my very spiritually formative years were in college where I was involved in a college ministry (Campus Crusade for Christ). I'm going to critique some things I gained there, but let me say they are an incredible ministry and my life would not be the same without it. Anyway, I truly gained a heart to reach the world and my neighbor for Christ through their focus on ministry and impact. Yet, for them the entire Christian life came down to evangelism ("them", of course being a representative whole, certainly not all individuals). Everything was a means to share Christ from marriage (a mirror of Christ's love) to arts to holiness (to reflect Christ).

Honestly, this got tiring. I'm an introvert and confrontational evangelism, which Crusade specializes in, was really difficult, though I grew in it. But, still, you couldn't fault them if you really take seriously the threat of eternal hell. I mean, really, why would any of us cut our lawns, paint paintings, see movies, go on dates, play with our kids if the majority of the world is going to hell unless WE tell them the gospel?!

I comforted myself in God's sovereignty. I began to have to trust that God was big enough to save who He wanted. Besides, the more I read the NT the more I saw that God was interested in a lot of things for our lives, not just evangelism. But I still felt this nagging guilt about not sharing the gospel MORE.

Anyway, I have found universalism to clarify things here. If you really believe in ECT then you had better share the gospel FAST! But, I see all around me that life is a process, salvation is a process, growth is a process. I have found that I can use my faith organically and reach the people I work with, my neighbors, and my children, knowing that they are on a journey.

I DO believe that we need to be intentional in trying to impact others. We are EVANGELICAL universalists. Yet, speed becomes less important, and the right heart becomes crucial (which includes patience with those we're witnessing to).

Strangely enough, it always seemed that Jesus could have done even more instead of eating dinners with friends and Pharisees and praying on mountains. Yet, He seemed to have a bigger picture in mind. For me, universalism has given me that bigger picture.

I'd love to hear what some of you think and also how universalism has impacted your evangelism.
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Re: The Speed of Evangelism

Postby ImagoDei » Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:39 pm

Great post! Personally, I've always struggled with the hell issue. Throughout college I would ask the evangelical leaders about this issue a lot (I wasn't in Campus Crusade but was involved with other evangelical organizations.) I was never really comfortable sharing the faith because I didn't fully believe in it myself. The hell issue was the main thing, but I had other qualms with the way the gospel was formulated. A lot of it didn't make much sense to me, honestly. I think universalism or the Greek term for restoration, apokatastasis, helped me make my faith and the gospel more rational. I can almost see an evangelical getting mad about now about me putting my reason about the Scriptures. In all honesty though, what finally drove me to this belief was the Scriptures. It's not just my human reason but a different way of looking at the Bible that changed my mind.
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Re: The Speed of Evangelism

Postby Melchizedek » Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:51 pm

I think you've hit on some things here that have crossed my mind as well, Denver. You're absolutely right. Even Jesus' own ministry did not reflect the ECT urgency mindset. In fact it's clear from reading through the NT that Jesus didn't even intend to save everyone he came into contact with right then and there. He even hid things from people specifically so that they wouldn't be saved (yet). This lines up perfectly with Paul's "each in his own order or class". I think we do need to let it be organic and not force it. The Holy Spirit will speak through us when and how God sees fit.

Remember that we are instructed to have an answer for everyone who asks the reason for the hope we have. What this suggests to me is that our life should be our witness, so that people will be compelled to ask us why we're different, not that we need to go around hammering into them that we are different, ala Campus Crusade. I think it's ironically funny that they chose the name Campus Crusade, as that's what that style of evangelism is very much like; the Crusades. I'm sure it worked well at some point in history, but I think that this approach will meet with increasing resistance.

There is a book out there that may interest you that has a different take on evangelism that is more relational. It's called Questioning Evangelism (can't remember the name of the author). The author has also been involved with Campus Crusade in the past, so you may appreciate his perspective.
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Re: The Speed of Evangelism

Postby Qohelet » Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:45 am

Thanks denver - I always appreciate the personal nature of your postings. None of the convert friends I know were brought to faith through confrontational evangelism, it was always 'personal example' type evangelism. Good Christians lived differently and were subsequently asked questions about why - "Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. " (Matthew 5:15-16)


I never reached the stage of being comfortable in God's sovereignty, I struggled with why God, who is so powerufl and wonderful, would entrust something as significant and vital as the salvation of most of the human race to US! I found it a terrifying responsibility. It really messed with my basically liberal view that we should each have the oppurtunity to make our own decisions, yet it was clear that some people had better access to the gospel than others, because of the Church's poor evangelism. Your post also recalls a very unpleasant session of street evangelicsm I once tried to engage in.
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Re: The Speed of Evangelism

Postby JeffA » Thu Jul 30, 2009 11:52 pm

Qohelet wrote:Your post also recalls a very unpleasant session of street evangelicsm I once tried to engage in.

Me too. I remember being part of a youth group who would preach and sing on the street corners of my home town. I remember once shouting after a young man who wasn't interested that when he stood before God at the judgement he wouldn't be able to plead ignorance because I had told him the Gospel and he would therefore go to hell :oops: .

Of course if there is a judgement then I suspect it will be me hauled over the coals for such crassness.
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Re: The Speed of Evangelism

Postby JasonPratt » Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:55 am

Well, I was going to write a little essay or something, in answer to Denver's good question (and as part of my beginning to catch up around here after a summer's semi-hiatus--which isn't exactly over.)

But then I noticed (while catching up on unread comments elsewhere) that I had already written something on the topic here. :)

I'm far more of a technical apologist than an evangelist per se; but I've noticed that my efforts at evangelism have actually picked up a bit after I grew to solidly land on universalism.

(It also helps that once non-Christians realize I'm a universalist, they tend to ramp back in hostility a huge margin--even if that's only to ignore me now. :lol: :D But it's easier to get into meaningful conversations with non-Christians now, too.)


As to the speed of evangelism: there are several pithy sayings from Christ in the Synoptics about how the kingdom doesn't spread in ways that are overtly observable, but slowly and secretly grows until maturation. And as noted above, Christ was rarely in the kind of confrontational evangelical mode typified by conservative Protestant 'evangelicals' in the past couple hundred years.

(But then there's St. Paul and other apostles and disciples in Acts, who commonly do go that route--when they think it's culturally appropriate. And it has to be admitted that much of America was practically evangelized, during our first hundred years or so, by preachers who were willing to push. So there's something to be said on the other side, too.)
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Re: The Speed of Evangelism

Postby justin abraham » Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:49 pm

JasonPratt wrote:(... And it has to be admitted that much of America was practically evangelized, during our first hundred years or so, by preachers who were willing to push. So there's something to be said on the other side, too.)


Yes, and what they pushed was that same dead religion that has a hold on the U.S. still today among "fundamentalists" and the like. It seems to me that as the Gospels record it, the people were always flocking to Jesus, not the other way around. The only people who he was pushy with, were the religious leaders who thought they knew what God was all about.
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Re: The Speed of Evangelism

Postby JasonPratt » Thu Aug 27, 2009 6:00 am

justin abraham wrote:Yes, and what they pushed was that same dead religion that has a hold on the U.S. still today among "fundamentalists" and the like.


I don't know that I would call what they pushed "dead religion". They preached a baptism of repentance unto the remission of sin; and that's no small thing. Moreover, they preached (and continually preached with revivals) continual repentance and striving against sin, and that is even less of being a small thing!

They did tend to teach gnosticism (salvation by doctrinal profession); and for the most part their trust in God was deficient by universalist standards. And (equally unsurprisingly) there came a point where the evangelical push was mixed strongly with mere political polemicising for one or another party. Their populist rhetoric tended to be actively anti-intellectual, too, and that hurt hugely in the long run (even though it made some things easier in the short run).

The elements of that previous paragraph all helped greatly increase the 'speed' of evangelism, of course. But charismatic calls for revival and repentance also greatly increased the speed of evangelism, too.
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Re: The Speed of Evangelism

Postby The Beautiful Heresy » Mon May 30, 2011 6:51 pm

I believe in being Spirit-lead in everything I do these days. This has been one of the main lessons the Lord has been teaching me the past I will say five years or so. Even when witnessing to others about Universal Salvation I have to feel the push of the Holy Spirit saying, "Speak Now".

"Speak Now" was mostly in my first years of believing it, now it is mostly 'Speak every chance you get". So, that is what I do. I am always speaking out on Universal Salvation and even in my new blog that will be one of the messages I definitely write on on a regular basis.

I also have a You-tube page where Universal Salvation is the main topic, although there are other issues that are important to me that I address or have on my page. This is my form of Evangelism and a lot of it is online as well as who God sends my way in person. I've met people outside of the internet that I share the message with as well, I have let go and allowed God to use me however he sees fit. Be it in a grocery store or on the world wide web. I honestly can't stop talking about this Good News and encouraging others to seek God for the truth.

Allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you, you can rest in the fact that he ultimately is still in control.
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Re: The Speed of Evangelism

Postby Alex Smith » Mon May 30, 2011 8:19 pm

That's a great encouragement 8-) Although, you will probably be crucified for doing it (not that that should discourage you) :|

I'm a reserved kind of guy, the kind that feels uncomfortable with emotions, but I've felt the Spirit (as far as I can tell) pushing me more in my year of being an EU, than in the combination of the previous 25 years of being a traditional Christian.

What's your YouTube page called?
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Re: The Speed of Evangelism

Postby revdrew61 » Tue May 31, 2011 12:17 am

The BH; I agree to an extent. I too have reached the point of "up with this I will no longer put" when it comes to the bad news gospel. However I also believe timing is important and it may not be helpful to bang my EU drum at every opportunity. I think the Holy Spirit gives you a sense of when someone is ready to hear it and I then try to put it across as if its the most natural thing in the world.

I'd also be interested to look at your youtube page and your blog. What are the addresses?
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Re: The Speed of Evangelism

Postby Melchizedek » Tue May 31, 2011 11:26 am

The Beautiful Heresy wrote:I believe in being Spirit-lead in everything I do these days. This has been one of the main lessons the Lord has been teaching me the past I will say five years or so. Even when witnessing to others about Universal Salvation I have to feel the push of the Holy Spirit saying, "Speak Now".

"Speak Now" was mostly in my first years of believing it, now it is mostly 'Speak every chance you get". So, that is what I do. I am always speaking out on Universal Salvation and even in my new blog that will be one of the messages I definitely write on on a regular basis.

I also have a You-tube page where Universal Salvation is the main topic, although there are other issues that are important to me that I address or have on my page. This is my form of Evangelism and a lot of it is online as well as who God sends my way in person. I've met people outside of the internet that I share the message with as well, I have let go and allowed God to use me however he sees fit. Be it in a grocery store or on the world wide web. I honestly can't stop talking about this Good News and encouraging others to seek God for the truth.

Allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you, you can rest in the fact that he ultimately is still in control.


Being Spirit-led/ walking in the Spirit are absolutely key to everything in the life of a believer. That has been the major topic for probably the last 5 years in our Sunday morning class, along with sonship.
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Re: The Speed of Evangelism

Postby The Beautiful Heresy » Tue May 31, 2011 12:37 pm

Alex Smith wrote:That's a great encouragement 8-) Although, you will probably be crucified for doing it (not that that should discourage you) :|

I'm a reserved kind of guy, the kind that feels uncomfortable with emotions, but I've felt the Spirit (as far as I can tell) pushing me more in my year of being an EU, than in the combination of the previous 25 years of being a traditional Christian.

What's your YouTube page called?


Oh yes, I am crucified all the time. At first it was very tough to be honest to share this message, I was being pushed and shoved every single time I opened my mouth. I've been banned from forums galore, :lol: you name it. I just got finished not even an hour ago laying down the law to another Eternal Hell believer who wanted to cause some confusion on one of my videos on You-tube.

There are times I will debate all day long ( literally ) with someone and times I just don't feel like going around in circles with people who only want to try to prove me wrong. It really depends on my mood at the time. I only have a few videos up that I actually did on Universal Salvation, but I have a lot of Universal Salvation videos on one of my playlists. I plan to do some more videos as I am lead of the Lord. I just started this page 3 months ago and I just started my blog page a few weeks ago. I even subscribe to people I know are Eternal Hell believers on purpose and befriend them if they are open to it.

When they see that I subscribed to their page it will lead them back to mine. ( Another Evangelism Strategies of mine) I am doing the same thing on my Blog. I am subscribing to Eternal hell believers so that it will lead them back to my Blog.

It is no longer tough for me to share the message now, I believe the Lord used the first 2 years to really toughen me up for all the 'haters'. I actually want the persecution because it fuels my fire to speak out even more.

I even said I am going to eventually at some point when I can afford it have some T-shirts made declaring hell to be a lie and the True Gospel. So, whatever way I feel lead to Evangelize this message I want to be obedient to the Lord and do so.

Don't feel pushed or moved unless the Lord moves you to evangelize, it is different for all of us. Go with the flow. We all were created with different personalities and temperaments and all of that is even shown in how we Evangelize this message.

I am a very emotional person ( being I am a woman, oh that was kind of sexist.. :lol: ) and also a Charismatic believer. So, being a Charismatic I guess I have to be a bit emotional huh? I really like to think of myself as more passionate than emotional when I really think about it. So, I am extremely passionate and moved A LOT by the Lord when it comes to this subject.

Ok, I will shut-up now.. :lol:

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http://iamclayinthepottershands.blogspot.com/

This is You-Tube:

http://www.youtube.com/user/SPOKENFOR36
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Re: The Speed of Evangelism

Postby The Beautiful Heresy » Tue May 31, 2011 12:43 pm

revdrew61 wrote:The BH; I agree to an extent. I too have reached the point of "up with this I will no longer put" when it comes to the bad news gospel. However I also believe timing is important and it may not be helpful to bang my EU drum at every opportunity. I think the Holy Spirit gives you a sense of when someone is ready to hear it and I then try to put it across as if its the most natural thing in the world.

I'd also be interested to look at your youtube page and your blog. What are the addresses?


Yes, the Holy Spirit definitely gives us a sense when it is time to open our mouths. I experienced this a lot in the first 2 years when the Lord would move me 'cautiously' to start the topic. Nothing has changed now, I still am lead of the Holy Spirit. It is just he is leading me much more now. It is not so hush-hush anymore as he had me in the beginning. It is like the fire has really been put under me and or should I say even "Shut up in my bones" when it comes to this now.

We all definitely should be lead by the Lord in everything, that is the message I am trying to convey and meant. He has a different plan for all of us.
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Re: The Speed of Evangelism

Postby The Beautiful Heresy » Tue May 31, 2011 12:45 pm

Melchizedek wrote:
The Beautiful Heresy wrote:I believe in being Spirit-lead in everything I do these days. This has been one of the main lessons the Lord has been teaching me the past I will say five years or so. Even when witnessing to others about Universal Salvation I have to feel the push of the Holy Spirit saying, "Speak Now".

"Speak Now" was mostly in my first years of believing it, now it is mostly 'Speak every chance you get". So, that is what I do. I am always speaking out on Universal Salvation and even in my new blog that will be one of the messages I definitely write on on a regular basis.

I also have a You-tube page where Universal Salvation is the main topic, although there are other issues that are important to me that I address or have on my page. This is my form of Evangelism and a lot of it is online as well as who God sends my way in person. I've met people outside of the internet that I share the message with as well, I have let go and allowed God to use me however he sees fit. Be it in a grocery store or on the world wide web. I honestly can't stop talking about this Good News and encouraging others to seek God for the truth.

Allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you, you can rest in the fact that he ultimately is still in control.


Being Spirit-led/ walking in the Spirit are absolutely key to everything in the life of a believer. That has been the major topic for probably the last 5 years in our Sunday morning class, along with sonship.


Yes, it is. It is the key to literally everything in our lives. I so agree with that, sons of God are lead by the Spirit of God.
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Re: The Speed of Evangelism

Postby Sherman » Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:49 am

In evangelism I take a Conversational approach. I'll ask probing questions like, do you have any spiritual beliefs? To you who is Jesus? Afterlife, heaven, hell, what do you believe? etc. And I LISTEN! I mean, really LISTEN! I try not to be thinking of what I might say in return, or anything else, but really try to understand what the person believes, what's his motivation; and I look to see if God is at work in their lives. If so, then I do my best to work with the Lord and not get in the way, being open to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
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Re: The Speed of Evangelism

Postby corpselight » Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:01 pm

a weird thing about evangelism, if you can yet again pardon my lack of memory for Bible verses. Jesus at one point says no one comes to Him unless the Father draws him...
that seems a bit odd, then, if we're supposed to go out and warn everyone of ECT. if that's the case, then is God really drawing the people that convert? or are they scared of hell and wanting to avoid it? are they in fact real converts, then?
what kind of perfect love would cause someone fear in order to save them?
granted...some people need a wakeup call. some people are damaging the lives of others to the point where they need a "judgement" to stop them.
that doesn't mean God doesn't love them, on the contrary, He disciplines those He loves...

i am still cowardly teetering on the edge of embracing all this, but the evidence is there...and the evidence against seems scanty and badly reasoned...

and if God is really THIS good, and THIS loving, and the news is really THIS good...why wouldn't we go out into the world and make disciples of every creature? and wouldn't we put our big heavy Bibles away and stop banging people over the heads with them?
Jesus said to teach the good news... did he say to warn of impending destruction? i can't remember. but it's not as emphasised, which should tell us something.
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