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Online Evangelism in a Secular Culture

How can we use the internet to effectively introduce people to Jesus?

Andrew Halloway is Publishing Manager for Christian Publicity Organisation in Worthing UK. (He was previously an editor and writer at CWR, who among other things produce the daily notes EDWJ/Every Day Light, also available by email from Crosswalk.com. CPO produces evangelistic leaflets, tracts, booklets and overprinted invitation cards for church events. They have always based their ministry on two vital principles:

  • that evangelistic literature should be as modern, lively and graphically well-designed as secular material.
  • that editorial content should relate to the things that people are interested in, and only then offer, in a non-preachy accessible style, the Christian angle.

These two essential communication principles are equally important in online evangelism. Andrew kindly shares his view of these principles.

 

Communicating the Gospel in a secular, postmodern culture

As secular culture has moved further and further away from Christianity, it has become increasingly necessary to change the traditional evangelistic approach in order to communicate the Gospel. On the whole, we can’t earn an opportunity to be taken seriously when talking about Jesus or God until we have connected with people on issues they are already interested in. We have to earn the right to be heard.

In the not too distant past, there was a time when most of those who weren’t card-carrying Christians at least had an understanding of the claims of Christianity, and assented to its view of the world and its morality, even if they didn’t have an active faith themselves.

The situation is now completely different: Christian values are competing with a vast array of other competing values, and people are either ignorant of the basics of Christianity or misunderstand them. In the West we have reverted to a pagan culture which is comparable with the first-century Gentile Romano/Greek world that the first Christians found themselves in Jesus’ own ministry was to the House of Israel, and though he had a few significant ‘evangelistic’ encounters with Gentiles, he never left the environs of Judea, Galilee, Samaria and Decapolis. In contrast, he commanded his disciples to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. That meant that his disciples would have to tackle evangelism in a different way to preaching the Gospel in the Jewish monotheistic context they had been used to. However, much of Acts features the apostles going to Jewish communities in the pagan world before reaching out beyond that. Therefore, there aren’t too many examples in the Bible of how the Early Church evangelized the Gentile world, but we know from history that they certainly succeeded. However, the Apostle Paul’s sermon at Athens on ‘the unknown God’ is perhaps the best example we have of the kind of evangelism that we now have to engage in, in our own post-Christian culture.

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About the Author: Andrew Halloway is the Editor of Good News, a monthly evangelistic newspaper used by churches and missions throughout the UK. He has nearly 30 years of experience in Christian publishing. He worked for CWR (Crusade for World Revival) as an editor and writer for four years and for CPO (Christian Publishing and Outreach) as editorial manager and then publishing manager for eight years. At New Life Publishing, where he was editorial manager for five years, he was Editor of another evangelistic newspaper, New Life, and Deputy Editor of the official monthly magazines of two national church denominations. He is married to Mandy, has two daughters and lives in Nottingham.

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