Evangelism: Passionately Convinced?

The early Christians (of the second century) were passionately convinced of the truth of the gospel. They were persuaded that men and women were lost without it. It was the key to eternal life, without which they would perish. They shared in God's own love, poured out on a needy world. They paid heed to Christ's Great Commission.

Christianity for them was no hour's slot on Sunday. It affected everything they did and everyone they met.

As far as we can tell, their church life was warm and nourishing for the most part, and equipped people to move out with the good news. The ordinary Christians, the missionaries, the academics, the women, all seem to have shared in this same passionate commitment to the cause.

Glenn Hinson in his book The Evangelisation of the Roman Empire sees them as fulfilling an almost military project.

But our Western churches show little of that [militaristic] spirit. They prefer to see themselves as a hospital rather than an army. Yet without something like this almost military vision, commitment and sacrifice, how will anyone in our jaded society be moved? Not until we in the West burn with a passion which is almost a pain to reach people with the gospel will they be likely to take the matter seriously.

[Taken from Evangelism in the Early Church by Michael Green, pp.17-18.]

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