Evangelism in the Early Church [Resource]
There is no denying that the early church was an evangelistic force that turned the entire World upside down. I have wondered before, who was in the early church? How did they do it? Why did they do it? Evangelism in the Early Church, by Michael Green,answers those questions and more.
Evangelism in the Early Church focuses on the time period from the death of Christ until the 200’s, although mentions of slightly later history crop up often throughout the book. Green looks into the cultural reasons the Gospel spread so readily, along with how the early church evangelized the both Jew and Gentile and why they did it. Some of the most fascinating chapters were descriptions of and first hand accounts from the early Christians themselves. If you have ever wondered what the early Christians did to spread the Gospel so effectively, then this book is for you!
I do not want to give away too many details of Evangelism in the Early Church, but there were some interesting facts and takeaways that I learned that I thought you might find interesting:
The common person had the greatest role in spreading God’s Word. It was not the intellectuals who had the strongest influence for the spread of the Gospel, even though the early church had it’s fair share of them. However, the normal person living their lives (and often through their deaths) did the most to carry the Gospel all over the known world. The average person not only has a great capacity to spread the word, but often the best ability. All of those humans, whose name had been lost to history, carried their faith from person to person until our time. Even when our names are lost to history, we will still be a part of this great chain of the Gospel going from person to person from the time of Christ until He returns.
We owe such a debt to those early martyrs of our Faith. In the first two to three centuries of the church, becoming a Christian was a dangerous thing to do. Christianity was seen as subversive and was often punished with death. However, those men and women who bore the faith before us carried themselves with such integrity that, even though the Enemy tried to kill them, they only grew and grew.
Evangelism is not, and never has been, complicated. One of the most fascinating things to me were not the diffidences between their time and ours, but the similarities. Spreading our Faith was not complicated back then. People were worried about their neighbors dying and going to Hell, so they lived with integrity, showed others they loved them, and told others about their faith… and it worked! If we did the same, we would see that not much has changed in our time.
People were worried about their neighbors dying and going to Hell, so they lived with integrity, showed others they loved them, and told others about their faith… and it worked!
However, Evangelism in the Early Church is not without it’s flaws. It is a very scholarly work drawing from many primary sources and using a lot of Theological jargon. I do not think that should keep you from reading it, just be ready for a long read that is packed with information. My greatest concern with the book, however, was some of the theories that Green simply accepts as truth. Although I feel confident he has the basics of the Gospel correct, he often refers to such theories as the Deutero-Isaiah (that there is a second writer to Isaiah) or that the end of Mark was from the “Q Document” and not in the original text. I do not espouse either of these theories (or several of the others that Green believes), however, there is still a lot the Evangelism in the Early Church that we can learn and can motivate us to spread the Gospel as the early church did if we are willing to, as one of my Bible College professors would say, “Spit out the bones.”
Evangelism in the Early Church inflamed my excitement for evangelism in our time. It has caused me to get back to the basics with evangelistic strategy in our Deaf Ministry. Evangelism should not be complicated. Show people Christ loves them and therefore you do, too, love with integrity, and tell other’s about Christ. Cover it all in prayer, and allow the Holy Spirit to touch their hearts. Evangelism is simple, but our obedience is often lacking.
If you want to pick up a copy, you can find Evangelism in the Early Church on Amazon or any other book seller!
Have you read Evangelism in the early Church? What did you think?