Wrong Practice in Evangelism Today
Independent evangelists, some of whom set up their own evangelistic organizations, are popular today. Some churches which are far from dynamic and which have poor preaching; little, if any, discipline; badly attended prayer meetings and a poor reputation in the towns where they are found, often resort to evangelistic campaigns to give them a boost. There is a flurry of activity and for a time a special effort is made to reach out to the neighbourhood. Contacts are made and there may be some additions to the church. After the excitement of the special effort all the unsolved problems emerge once more—the lack of doctrine, the lack of oversight and discipline and the lack of consistent week by week outreach. The real problems are not solved by an evangelistic campaign. Evangelism does not produce life in the church. Rather, life in the church produces evangelism. Consistent, all-the-year-round evangelism will emerge when the churches are reformed and when due heed is given to the order which God has ordained by way of Scriptural church government, teaching and pastoral oversight. When such reformation takes place by the power of the Holy Spirit and He surges through or empowers the Scriptural order God has specified in his Word, evangelism will be irresistible and spontaneous. The people will not need to be bullied into it. Nobody will be able to stop them doing it!

Evangelistic societies which operate independently of the churches reason that they are needed because the churches are lifeless and dead. The churches, they argue, do not evangelize. Therefore, they contend, it is necessary to have evangelistic organizations to do the work. Yet these organizations appeal for money and depend on the churches for their existence. The evangelists are not subject to the authority of the churches. Their abilities, energies and resources are not channelled into churches but into separate organizations. Their lives, their thoughts and their practice are not moulded by the realities of local church life. They are responsible for their doctrine, their practice, and their methods to no one but themselves. That the forms of entertainment and the gimmicks they use to gain an audience are harmful to the true worship of God does not concern them. They do not have to face basic issues at local church level. They are independent of the churches and can act as they please.

When evangelistic organizations become huge in power and influence their own interests are predominant and they become a curse to the churches. There may be great talk about evangelizing the world by the end of the twentieth century, but in fact an enormous sum of money and time is spent merely on promoting a colossal organization and the system of evangelistic societies as a whole. In order to bolster up and support the needs of the evangelistic societies two matters are essential. One is the maintenance of Arminian or decisionist doctrine and the other is the promotion of Ecumenical evangelism. Should anyone preach free grace doctrine at a world Congress for Evangelism it will not make any impact for the simple reason that such convictions represent but one viewpoint among many. Synergism is the order of the day at these Congresses. Synergism is the combination of Arminian and Calvinistic concepts—the blending of truth with error. You take the five points of Calvinism, say on your right hand, and the five points of Arminianism on your left, you fold your two hands and ten fingers together and, hey presto!—perfect truth is the result! Even the apostle Paul would be baffled by one of these Congresses of Evangelism! His voice would simply be drowned by a hundred others—huge mountains of words and papers—and the end result? —Arminianism and Ecumenism! I can well imagine Paul’s astonishment to observe the truth he made clear buried under such an enormous pile of words and papers!