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Evangelism & Love

Evangelism can sometimes come across as unloving. Various “techniques” and lack of relational depth are often perceived as manipulative and concerned more with success than people. As a result, evangelism has gotten a bad reputation in some circles. Alternatively, J. I. Packer offers wisdom on how evangelism should be done in love as an expression of love for the other. He writes:

As an apostle of Christ, (Paul) was more than a teacher of truth; he was a shepherd of souls, sent into the world, not to lecture sinners, but to love them. For he was an apostle second, and a Christian first; and, as a Christian, he was a man called to love his neighbor. This meant simply that in every situation, and by every means in his power, it was his business to seek other people’s good. From this standpoint, the significance of his apostolic commission to evangelize and found churches was simply that this was the particular way in which Christ was calling him to fulfil the law of love to his neighbour.
And all our own evangelism must be done in the same spirit. As love to our neighbour suggests and demands that we evangelize, so the command to evangelize is a specific application of the command to love others for Christ’s sake, and must be fulfilled as such.
Such was evangelism according to Paul: going out in love, as Christ’s agent in the world, to teach sinners the truth of the gospel with a view to converting them and saving them (Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, IVP, 1961, 51-53).

Perhaps if we approached evangelsim like that, it would more easily taught, practiced, and received.

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