The relevance of creationism to evangelism (part 5)
How does a belief in creation or evolution influence evangelism?
This is the fifth column in a series addressing the question of how creationism influences evangelism. Two important points remain to be made. First, a belief in anything other than biblical creation attacks the authority of the word of God. Second, understanding the culture that we live in means that we must be prepared to start our evangelism with the foundation of creation.
In order to evangelize the lost one must recognize the importance of rejecting God's word. Rejecting God's word as truth is the starting point for rebellion. Eve believed the deception of Satan and rejected God's clear command in Genesis chapter three. Thus, we need to be sensitive to anything that will distort God's word and bring doubt on its authority. For evolution to be true Genesis chapter one cannot be true. Last week I explained that evolution is the perfect answer for the ungodly man who wants to suppress the truth of God revealed through "what He has made." In Romans 1:18 we see that it is "suppressing God's truth" that will bring God's wrath upon man.
A sinner must see himself lost before he will see a need to be saved. He must recognize the reality of God's wrath, that is, His judgment, condemnation and anger toward sin. This does not mean that we need to preach "hellfire and brimstone." This will only produce a fear-filled convert; God's judgments and God Himself is seen as harsh and mean. Instead, when a sinner recognizes that he has violated the commands of His Creator he will recognize the necessity of a good God bringing righteous judgment upon his sin. So unless he respects and believes God at His word beginning with creation, he will not respect the commands of God.
Thus, when we cast doubts on God's word by manipulating it or ignoring it in order to conform to the world's system of origin, then we are destroying the power of the good news. Galatians 3:24 says: "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we must be justified by faith." It is not the law that will save us, but it will drive the sinner to Christ. This is why is it so important to deal with the questions of how we got here and why we are like we are correctly. The only way we can understand and respect God's word is to recognize that the answers to these questions are found in answering the questions of who is in charge, whose rules we should play by and by whose rules will we be judged. Answering these questions with evolution or some compromise of biblical creation destroys the power of God's word and thus destroys the gospel message.
A general disrespect and ignorance of God's word in churches today has resulted in or is the result of abandoning the authority of Scripture in the very first verse. But Psalm 19:7 states, "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." It is not our efforts that will convert the sinner but it is God. It is our responsibility to, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to do all that I command you…" Somehow, teaching the "commands" of Christ is forgotten in modern evangelism. Afraid of offending by saying, "It is written…" the gospel message has been reduced to my opinion verses your opinion; whoever can shout the loudest wins. Our culture has conditioned us to eliminate God's word from our public discourse. For example, I am told that a local talk show host will immediately hang up on any caller that quotes Scripture.
We live in a fast food society that approaches Bible study like we do a TV dinner. Hebrews 5:14 makes it clear, "Solid food is for the mature, who because of practice, have trained their minds to discern good and evil." This attitude directly influences evangelism. Settling for all that is easy, everything that can be had cheap not only confuses evangelism but it destroys it. The good news is that we are saved from a sure and certain eternal judgment for our sin and this news is as useful to some as newspaper is for the bottom of a birdcage.
Only by returning to respect for God's word from the very first verse can the church be effective in evangelizing. Otherwise, instead of filling our churches with hungry hearts and minds for God's word we will fill our church with pew warmers who see no need for a savior because there is nothing to be saved from.
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Originally published in the Rockdale/Newton Citizen