Must evangelism always be accompanied by social action?
- No. The word gospel means “good news” and evangelism is heralding that news (Isa. 52:7). Evangelism is simply telling others the gospel.
- No. Conversion comes through the Word by the power of the Spirit (1 Thess. 1:4-5). The Spirit comes through our hearing God’s Word which enlivens our hearts. We’re not saved through our eyes but our ears (Rom. 10:17).
- But, our lives should back up our words. Jesus tells us, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). Peter writes, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Pet. 2:12).
- But, social action can create opportunities for evangelism. As we build relationships with people through serving them in tangible ways we will create opportunities to share the good news where none existed before. And our announcement of the gospel will already be supported by the love we’ve shown them.
Ultimately, it’s the Word and Spirit which are necessary for conversion. In the ordinary course of things, however, God uses the lives of Christians to witness to the reality of the gospel message. Certainly lives characterized by a lack of love work against the Word and Spirit’s work. They discredit the announcement of the good news.
So Christians should be eager to do good to all men (Gal. 6:10), especially sharing the gospel with them, which has in view their eternal good.