Weighing it up

Is E-vangelism a waste of time?

Advantages of E-vangelism

  • The gospel is word-based revelation and it is the text of the Bible that changes lives. The internet is a medium that is designed to share text-based information.
  • The internet gives the self-publisher a world-wide audience of over 500 million people.
  • The internet is the principle source of information for a growing number of people in all countries, as much for information about religions as anything else.
  • It is inexpensive.
  • It bypasses the normal restrictions that apply to missionaries travelling overseas and entering difficult countries.
  • People who would be too proud, afraid or suspicious to approach a church under normal circumstances can find out what it is all about, make contact in a non-confrontational way and have questions answered.

Disadvantages of E-vangelism

  • So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 1 Thes. 2:8-10 (ESV)
    We can explain the gospel online but the witness of our conduct for the most part is missing and we are able to share little of ourselves as Paul did.
  • Evangelism on the internet leads to non-geographical links and therefore the emergence of a virtual church that doesn't meet together. This can be overcome in part by putting people in contact with Christians in their country.
  • Just as you lose elements of communication when you are on the phone, you lose even more when online. Misunderstandings, particularly cross culturally, will be heightened.
  • It is far easier for those who have accepted the gospel online to simply stop communicating with you and to be drawn away by the more immediate things in their life. Of course, it is God's business whether anyone remains a Christian or not, but our work will, in general, be a lot less effective.
  • The anonymity of the web breeds insincerity. This works both ways, they may be suspicious of you and you may be easily fooled about the reality of someone's life.
  • Online baptism is a no go.

Knowing how little of our potential to communicate is left when we communicate online, it is obvious that if there is an alternative it will be preferable. But as a source of information and as a non-confrontational way of making contact with those who would not normally approach a Christian group, the internet is a great medium to use. Take the advice of Jens and Mike from the previous interview, have a read of the following practical stuff, and in everything you do online be a faithful representative of Christ.

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.”

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 5:13-16 (ESV)

Ben and Ben

There are many ways of serving our brothers and sisters online and many opportunities to proclaim the gospel. Next, in our practical section, Karen considers the ministry of e-mail. Go!

Comments

Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.