In an article last month in Christianity Today on the state of evangelism in the American church, Ed Stetzer summarizes two recent studies by Lifeway Researchers and the Barna Group. The Lifeway study concluded what any observant Christian already knows—evangelism has dropped off significantly in recent decades. Most Protestant Christians (85%) believe they have a responsibility to share the gospel, but only a few (25%) actually do so, or plan to do so.
Why is this? As with any issue, the answer is complex, but I can suggest several reasons.
First, evangelism training has not changed much in 50 years. The last evangelism training many Christians received was the same as what their grandparents received, even though the world has drastically changed. Post-WWII evangelism was primarily aimed at Roman Catholics and liberal Protestants, both of whom held to a Pelagian or semi-Pelagian view of man’s ability to merit God’s…
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