2 Corinthians 4: Thoughts on Evangelism
The apostle Paul wrote:
Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. (2 Corinthians 4:1-5)
With this text in mind, consider three brief observations on evangelism.
1. When sharing the gospel, we should never try to gain a more favorable reception by using underhanded tactics (“walking in craftiness”) or by “adulterating” or “distorting” the word (verse 2). If we pervert the truth in order to win people over, then the thing to which we have won them over is not the gospel (see Galatians 1:6-7).
2. When people don’t respond to the gospel, the problem ultimately is in the hearts and minds of the hearers (verses 3-4). The problem is not the message, nor is it necessarily our presentation of it. Yes, we should try to be as effective as possible in sharing God’s word. But Jesus himself, the most effective presenter of the gospel message ever, did not convert everyone he taught. Failure to appreciate this often leads to the very “adulterating” of the word addressed above.
3. We are not trying to convert people to ourselves, nor to “our church,” but to Christ (verse 5). Paul’s objective was not to win followers for himself, nor to impress people with his knowledge or eloquence, but to bring people to Jesus (see 1 Corinthians 1-2). Let’s be busy doing likewise.