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The Paradox of Evangelism

Randy Newman

The Paradox of Evangelism

There is a paradox about evangelism. Actually there are several but I’ll only mention one here. It starts with the realization that evangelism is impossible. Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44). Jesus also said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:15).

Given those realities, we need to see that evangelism requires at least two miracles. In my life, God must work supernaturally in order for me to say anything or do anything that could possibly connect to regeneration. In the life of the person hearing the gospel, God must work the miracle of raising them from the dead. (See Ephesians 2:1, “…we were dead…”).

Thus, when we step into the process of evangelism, we are entering the world of the impossible. But our God specializes in doing the impossible.

So the paradox of evangelism is that when we remember that evangelism is impossible, we are more likely to evangelize!

We accept the fact that “success” is not dependent upon us. We understand that God uses both the human and the divine in the process (remembering, of course, that the divine component is so much more important). We open our mouths, knowing that God can actually use our frail attempts to accomplish the impossible. We speak with our mouths but we ask God to speak in ways far more powerful. We reason but we ask God to reveal. We proclaim but we know we’re on a playing field with many other forces at work.

It’s a paradox but a privilege.

Originally published August 27, 2013.

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