Howard Snyder – Evangelism and the Kingdom of God

Most evangelicals reduce evangelism to what Snyder calls ‘ conversion evangelism’. In his opinion, this is a reductionistic view of evangelism and, I would add, it reflects a distorted view of the Gospel.

Here is what Snyder says:

In the New Testament, the term “evangelism” specifically refers to the good news of the kingdom of God. “To evangelize” literally means to proclaim the good news of the coming of God’s reign.

Jesus came “proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness” (Mt. 9:35). In Luke 4:43, Jesus says that his central purpose was to “proclaim the good news of [literally, “evangelize concerning”] the kingdom of God.” Again in Luke 8:1, Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom is described as “evangelizing.” We read in Acts 8:12, translating literally, that Philip “evangelized about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ” (See also Mt. 4:23, 24:14; Luke 16:16).

Consistently in the New Testament, evangelism is tied to the proclamation of the God’s kingdom and the demonstration of the reality of that kingdom. In the Bible, evangelism is not limited to what might be called conversion evangelism—winning converts to Jesus Christ. Biblically speaking, “evangelism” covers much more, because it concerns the comprehensive message of God’s reign.

What, then, does evangelism really mean, biblically speaking?

If this topic is on interest to you, please find Snyder’s arguments HERE.

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Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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