refers to the practice of relaying
information about a particular set of beliefs to others who do not
hold those beliefs. The term is often used in reference to Christianity
, where the scriptures often
describe "evangelism" as "spreading the Gospel
". The term may be also used for the practice
of attempting to convert people to other religions. For this
reason, there are "evangelists" in Judaism
, and other religions, even though
those religions are not "evangelistic" by nature. The difference
between these religions and Christianity is that participants in
religions find themselves working their way to find favor or mercy
from their god.
Christians who specialise in evangelism are known as
whether they are in their home
communities or acting as missionaries
in the field.Some Christian traditions consider evangelists to be
in a leadership position; they may be found preaching to large
meetings or in governance roles.Christian groups who actively
encourage evangelism are sometimes known as
The communication of Christian faith to new geographical areas and
cultures is often referred to as evangelization, or specifically,
The word evangelist comes from the Koine
word (transliterated as "euangelion") via Latin
"Evangelium", as used in the canonical titles of the four Gospels
, authored by Matthew
, and John
(also known as the Four Evangelists
). The Greek word
originally meant a reward for good news given to the messenger ( =
"good", = "I bring a message"; the word angel
is of the same root) and later "good news".
The verb form of euangelion, euangelizo (transliterated
"evangelism"), was used rarely in Greek literature outside the
, making its meaning more
difficult to ascertain. Parallel texts of the Gospels of Luke and
Mark reveal a synonymous relationship between the verb euangelizo
and a Greek verb "kerusso" which means "to proclaim".
Our modern word "Gospel" comes from the Old English word
"Godspell." In Old English, "god" with a long "o" meant "good," and
"spell" meant "word" (we carry this meaning also in our word
"spelling"). So in other words, "Godspell" meant "good word,"
specifically the good tidings concerning Jesus Christ
While evangelism is usually regarded as converting non-Christians
to Christianity, this is not always the proper usage of the word.
If converting to Christianity includes services or material
benefits it is called proselytism.
Catholic missionary work in Russia is commonly
seen as evangelism, not proselytism.
proselytism is absolutely unacceptable and cannot constitute a
strategy for the development of our structures either in Russia or
in any other country in the world."Especially regarding claims by
Orthodox church that spreading the faith and receiving converts
amounts to proselytism Catholic church CDF
document called "Doctrinal Note on some aspects of evangelisation"
which states that evangelism is "an inalienable right and duty, an
expression of religious liberty ...", document added that "The
incorporation of new members into the Church is not the expansion
of a power group, but rather entrance into the network of
friendship with Christ which connects heaven and earth, different
continents and age. It is entrance into the gift of communion with
According to the Christian Bible, during his last days on earth
commanded his disciples as
Other translations render the phrase “make disciples of all
in the above quotation as “teach all
Jesus is also quoted in the Gospel of Mark
These are two main passages of the New
from God that commands everyone who believes in
Christ to preach the gospel.
For the first many centuries, evangelism consisted of preaching or
. Men such as many of the original
, traveled to distant lands
proclaiming the gospel and planting churches and are often
considered the first Christian evangelists.
While both of these methods are still widely employed, modern
technology and shifts in cultural values have cause radical shifts
in the kinds of evangelistic ministry being performed today.
Innovative methods are used, such as concerts, sporting
exhibitions, television programs. Evangelism is evolving as
communication methods also have evolved.
Dramas such as "Heaven's
Gates, Hell's Flames
" have gained enormous popularity since the
1980s. These dramas typically depict fictional characters who die
and learn whether they will go to heaven or hell. Other
entertainment-based Christian evangelism events include sporting
exhibitions, wherein professional athletes entertain crowds. At
some point a gospel presentation is usually given.
In the 1970s, The Power Team
an entire genre of Christian entertainment based on strong-man
exploits mixed with a Christian message and usually accompanied by
an opportunity to respond with a prayer for salvation.
The Christian music
has also played a significant role in modern
evangelism. Rock (and other genres) concerts in which the artist(s)
exhort non-believing attendees to pray a prayer for salvation have
become common, and just as common are concerts that are focused on
activity not necessarily on prayer and conversion, thus forming an
environment that is not driven by conversion, but instead relaying
of a message.
Sometimes, the regular minister of a church is called a
in a way that other groups would typically use
the term pastor
in some churches is one that travels from town
to town and from church to church, spreading the gospel of Jesus
Christ. Many Christians of various theological perspectives would
call themselves 'evangelists' because they are spreaders of the
gospel. Many churches believe one of their major functions is to
function as evangelists to spread the evangelist belief that Jesus
is savior of humanity.
The title of evangelist is often associated with those who lead
large meetings like those of Billy Graham
, possibly in tents or
those who address the public in street corner preaching
, which targets
listeners who happen to pass nearby. It can also be done in small
groups or even on a one-to-one basis, but actually it is simply one
who spreads the gospel. Increasingly, the internet enables anyone
to become an Internet
, and resources such as Internet Evangelism Day
exist to equip them.
The term is also used in a non-religious sense to describe an
individual who takes up a cause and convinces others to it (see
, an author and venture
capitalist, describes evangelists as individuals who promote a
particular product. At Apple Computer, he was part of a team of
programmers to develop software on the Macintosh
The Bible urges believers to speak the gospel clearly, fearlessly,
graciously, and respectfully whenever an opportunity presents
itself (see Colossians 4:2-6, Ephesians 6:19-20, and I Peter
Throughout most of its history, Christianity has been spread
evangelistically, though the extent of evangelism has varied
significantly between Christian communities, denominations and
significantly inflitrated by government. Evangelism, apologetics
and apostolic ministry often go hand
in hand. An
) is literally "one who goes" and
refers to the missionary calling. Since missionaries often travel
to areas or people groups where Jesus is not yet known, they
frequently take on an evangelistic role. But the apostolic or
missionary calling is not necessarily the same (and it is a
misnomer and misinterpretation to equate them), as there are many
who serve in missionary, church planting, and ministry development
roles who have an apostolic calling or serve in an apostolic role
but whose primary duty is not evangelism.
Notes and references
- Bible as a Second Language, webpage, retrieved