"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19.
Welcome to the Soulwinnersr.us website. I entitled my post today “Pentecostal Witnessing, Chapter 2: Early Church Evangelism”. Again, it’s based on an old book written in the 1960’s by Pastor Aubrey Maye of the Church of God. This chapter has so many good points it is difficult to contain my excitement. I pray that you also find it exciting.
Pastor Maye said “the sincere Christian of the Twentieth Century (now Twenty-First Century) is “brought face to face with the power of God glorifying His Son through the weakness of human flesh as these early Christians are engulfed by the Holy Ghost. We are challenged by their courage, shamed by their sacrifices, convicted by their dedication to one supreme purpose, and amazed at their almost unbelievable accomplishments.”
Pastor Maye wrote that while the philosophies of evangelism of the early church in Acts were unorthodox by today’s standards, but that due to their effectiveness we should question our ways of evangelism today, rather than to question the way they did it. He said his purpose of pointing in his book to the early church in Acts is that “the reader will be moved to action”.
Pastor Maye gave examples in the early church of “mass evangelism”, and “personal evangelism”. He said the early church wasn’t as concerned about the “how” of evangelism, "but that the job got done".
Mass evangelism came first, and it was very powerful and effective. But as extreme persecution arose the church scattered, and personal evangelism was the outcome of this. (Just a side note . . . this gives me hope that in today’s world of turmoil that God’s Holy Spirit will fill the lives of people to the point where they are inspired to share Jesus with other people.)
Pastor Maye wrote emphatically about the early church, “they were not waiting for the unsaved to come to them, they were busy taking the church to the world.”
He said that “nothing can take the place of the Spirit-filled life in soulwinning”. He said that the young church in Acts had a deep commitment to the Great Commission, in which “was born a sort of “daring” evangelism”. He said that they “dared to believe that if they continued with His Spirit and steadfast in His purpose, they could not fail regardless of the opposition”.
Pastor Maye said that this doesn’t mean they didn’t face discouragement, weakness, or fear. But that fresh infillings of the Holy Spirit strengthened them.
He wrote that “the spirit-filled life was the “norm” instead of the exception in that day.” He wrote that the nature of evangelism was “spontaneous” and “there was no indication that they had to be continuously prodded and challenged” to reach the lost. Pastor Maye said that Christians in today’s church may very well be filled with God’s Holy Spirit, but are hindered by present day misconceptions and traditions that the early church knew nothing about.
Pastor Maye said the following are some present-day misconceptions about soulwinning:
- “Soulwinning is the sole responsibility of a few specialists.”
- "Soulwinning should only occur at certain places, like in church buildings."
- "Soulwinning should only occur at certain times, like at revival meetings."
But the early church in Acts was not hampered by these misconceptions. He said the following about the early church:
- “Soulwinning was not restricted to certain select individuals.”
- “Every Christian thought it was his (or her) “personal privilege and responsibility to share his (or her) experience with the unsaved.” They didn’t have to wait for a preacher or an evangelist to come along. Pastor Maye said, “They didn’t know any different.
- They were never taught that a church building was required for a person to be saved. “The gospel was just as powerful to save sinners in the marketplace, on the street, or from house-to-house as it was in the temple or synagogue.”
- They took Jesus as “the supreme example” of talking to people everywhere about His saving power.
- Pastor Maye quoted Acts 5 that said, “the Lord added to the church daily”, “because the disciples were spreading the Good News daily”. They didn’t have to wait until a revival meeting to introduce Jesus to other people.
Pastor Maye quoted J.B Phillips in his book “Letters to Young Churches”. Phillips wrote, “These early Christians were on fire with the conviction that they had become through Christ, literally sons (or children) of God, they were pioneers of a new humanity, founders of a new kingdom.” He said, “They still speak to us through the centuries.” J.B. Phillips wrote, “Perhaps if we believe what they believed, we might achieve what they achieved.”
Do you and I feel like pioneers of a new humanity, like founders of a new kingdom, like children of God? Is it possible for us to regain some of the Holy Spirit inspired conviction of the early church . . . to believe what they believed, so that we might achieve what they achieved?
See you next time,