Sunday, March 17, 2024

Every Christian is Either an Evangelist or a Hypocrite

By Gerald Cowan

    Charles H. Spurgeon is reported to have said, Every Christian is either an evangelist or a hypocrite."  Would you agree with him or debate against the idea? With this lesson we are undertaking a brief series on the concept, obligations, and methods of evangelism. I hope you will take it to be as serious a matter as God’s word makes it. The basic premise of the lessons is: HOW AND WHY TO TALK ABOUT RELIGION.   

    Missionary John M. McCaleb’s song asserting The Gospel Is For All should be (unexplainably is not) in every hymnal. Maybe it is missing because we do not feel personally responsible for getting God’s message of salvation out to every person in every place in all the world in all times. I was involved in a series of meetings on the importance and the “how to do it” of world evangelism several years ago in a nation foreign to most of us and I recall that we sang at each assembly these words:
        Oh Lord, prepare me to be a missionary,
        Pure and holy, tried and true.
        And with thanksgiving, I’ll be a living
        Missionary for You. 
I also remember the words of a visiting missionary (I have forgotten his name but not his words): “Nobody deserves to hear the gospel twice until everybody everywhere has heard it once.”  It may be an overstatement, but I can’t find the courage or reason to argue with it.
    I believe being and evangelistic missionary is not only an honorable and worthy mission, but is a commandment of the Lord, an obligation incumbent on all who call themselves Christian. I intend to justify my statements from God’s word by citing those very words from God’s Holy Book, the Bible, from both Old and New Testaments and Covenants. Since today we live under a new covenant and law we will emphasize the word of Christ and the Holy Spirit-guided apostles and prophets preserved for us in the New and forever unchanging Covenant (Jeremiah31:31-34; see also Hebrews 8:6-13 and 10:15-17). Jesus himself stated that all things written prophetically about Him (Luke 24:44-53). He commissioned His apostles and us too: preach to everybody in all the world what He had commanded (Matthew 28:15-28, Mark 16:15-16). To paraphrase it, He said: You are to be obedient preachers of all I have commanded you and make obedient preachers of all who hear it from you, that they should also become obedient preachers and make obedient preachers of those who hear it from them – and from us.
    We sing (occasionally but seldom enthusiastically) Will Houghton’s chorus: “Lead me to some soul today; O teach me Lord just what to say ... to those who cannot find their way.  Melt my heart and fill my life; give me one soul today.”  If that is not your genuine prayer as a would-be evangelist, stop singing it. If it is not serious and genuine it is hypocrisy to sing or pray it.

- Gerald Cowan, a longtime preacher and missionary, is retired from full-time pulpit preaching. Gerald publishes an e-mail newsletter entitled GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICAL WRITINGS. He is available for Gospel Meetings and he may be contacted at

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