In my book Apocity: The Greatest Omission I coin a word (apocity – pronounced uh-pa-city) to describe the sin of not evangelizing. This book not only coins a word, but it reveals the pandemic apparent within western Christianity. Moreover, this book not only diagnosis this sin (thoroughly), but it also provides a gospel centered remedy.
Interview on Janet Mefferd Show can be found here (skip to minute 20): http://www.tractplanet.com//assets/images/Share/02-jm_rs_20140317-Mon_-Janet-Mefferd-Show-3_17_2014.mp3.mp3
But selling books is not why I am writing. Since I don’t get a dime off of sales, money is not in the forefront of my concern.
As I have always said, it seems that the western, local churches have failed at the one command that Jesus imparted to us right before He ascended into heaven at the right hand of the Father. When Jesus gave us what is now known as the “great commission,” Jesus explicitly stated that we are to make disciples, and one of the components of doing so is “teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you…” (Matt. 28:20). The other component is “going” or “in your going” (as if that makes a difference). For some reason, however, we have not been consistent in teaching the last thing that Christ taught. What irony that the very commission Christ gave embodies the necessity for making disciples in the world, and yet we will teach others to obey everything else Christ taught, meanwhile dancing around this particular mandate to be regular, consistent, and purposeful witnesses for Christ!
What do we see in the news in America right now? Ebola, ISIS threat, homosexual agenda, feminism, Hollywood attacks on Christianity, false teachers getting the spotlight, pastors getting subpoenaed, violence, sexual immorality, and the list goes on! And what are the majority of local churches doing? Playing their apocitic fiddles while Rome burns! The current state of affairs in America right now is ripe for gospel preaching and we are sleeping (Prov. 10:5). Nevertheless, the LORD has His true laborers. Those that are not faithful workers in His field are going to be found out as frauds in the end (Matt. 25:29).
In giving the sin of not evangelizing a name, it is my hope that many will consider the linguistic power of being able to put a name to this detrimental and once nameless sin. Not only that, to provide a talking point concerning the evangelistic efforts (or lack thereof) in our own lives. In this post, and in future posts to come, I pray that we all can demolish all the sorry excuses we make that keep us from being regular, consistent, and purposeful in fulfilling the command of Christ to make disciples. If you are, or if you know anyone, that is negligent in going out into the world to make disciples (an apocite) toward family, friends, co-workers, AND strangers, I pray this post (and the book) will revive and reveal the greatest omission in our evangelical churches today.
If you wish to get a free copy of “Apocity”, go here: http://www.g220ministries.com/media.html
Hello, George. A couple questions.
Why do you think the Scriptures didn’t give this a name?
Why do the apostles, in the letters they wrote, never rebuke anyone for this? Do you think it is a new problem?
Jon, great questions.
The Scriptures do not provide names to many titles or concepts that were given names later on. Trinity is an example of such a word, and hypostatic union is one example of such a concept.
Concerning why the apostles never rebuked anyone for not making disciples, it is more than likely because it wasn’t a debated topic as it is in our modern age. First century Christians faced persecution as well as first hand teaching from apostles, or those appointed by them. These are great ingredients for evangelistic fervor. Also, being so close to the miracles, signs, and dangers of being a Christian, evangelism is a no-brainer seeing that is one of the reasons why He ascended on high.
This is not a new problem, just a revisited pandemic in western Christianity. William Carey saw the hyper Calvinism of his day and spoke out against it as well. That’s just one example.
Please let me know if you need more clarification. No doubt much of your questions are probably answered in the book. But I am here to help.
I’m going to operate under two assumptions. A) The conditions of the human heart, and the sins present in society and in the church have not changed in any spiritually important way. (They may have changed in openness and in frequency, but not in substance.) B) Scripture addresses all we need to address.
The Great Commission was obviously a command to be obeyed, and to fail to obey it is sin. But we have no Scriptural record, in Acts or the epistles, of an apostolic rebuke of this sin. I asked myself why? Is the Scripture insufficient for this? Shouldn’t I want to address this in the way Scripture does?
I concluded that this sin is more of a symptom than a root cause. The root sins are lack of love, lack of holiness, and fear. No Christian whose heart is right will commit this sin.
I like the illustration of a sponge, saturated with water. When you bump against it, you get wet. If we are saturated with love for God, when people bump against us, they will get wet, and evangelisation happens. What people love, they talk about, whether it be their football team, or a newlywed’s spouse, or their hobby. They may not talk about it to EVERYBODY, but they will to those they love. If we love the Lord and love our neighbours, it is inevitable that we will evangelise.
Further, if we are living holy lives, sanctified to the Lord, people will ask why, and if we are not afraid, we will answer (I Peter 3:14-15 — this is not an apologetics verse but a “be holy and be bold to witness despite persecution” verse). If we live holy lives, opportunities to evangelise will just happen.
The root sins are lack of love for God and people, lack of holiness, and fear. The Scriptures DO address those sins repeatedly. If those sins are defeated, the sin of failure to evangelise will immediately be gone. If they are not, the person evangelising is likely to be a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
I can’t tell, from the preview of your book, whether you addressed these root causes. But this is the way the apostles addressed this particular sin, and it seems good enough for me. I never rebuke someone for failure to evangelise, because I know there is a deeper problem with far wider consequences. It is like treating pneumonia with aspirin. It may bring down the fever and lessen some of the symptoms, but it doesn’t solve the problem.
I agree with your post. And yes, I do address root causes of apocity. Many times. There are always deeper issues when one commits any sin. There is never really a “solo” sin.
Conerning the apostles not rebuking or addressing this sin. I think I understand what you are saying, but if there is a command or imperative to do it in Scripture, then they addressed it. There would be no need to rebuke every single command disobeyed because the list sins of omission would need to be a separate book. Once again, I agree with everything you said. I agree that this sin is a symptom of a deeper problem(s). But it is still as sin nevertheless.
Moreover, as I also address in my book, evangelism is the fruit of a believer (John 15:16 – I expound on in the book). Just like hatred for sin, desire for fellowship, love for the word, communion with God in prayer, and the fruit of the Spirit. If someone lacks in any of these, it is something worth addressing. If someone does not lack but needs maturity, it is worth addressing. Scripture in many ways addresses all that we need to address, but to say that (if I understand you correctly) to mean that unless sins of omission are explicitly addressed in Scripture we do not need to address them would be to remove the implicit nature of a positive command. In other words, simply because Scripture doesn’t explicitly address a sin of omission, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t implicitly deal with it (once again, this is if I am understanding you correctly).
In all, I think we are on the same page. Apocity is a serious issue in our local churches, and the subject needs to be talked about. If you have any more questions, do not hesitate to ask or even contact me personally if you like.
Hello, George. I agree that, though Scripture does not deal with this sin explicitly, it does so implicitly. I would say we differ in that I believe we also do best to deal with it implicitly, by addressing the root causes as Scripture does.
So I don’t think we are quite on the same page. Or perhaps better to say that we aren’t traveling the same route, but we do have the same destination — we are convinced of the absolute need for believers to evangelise, and that a Christian who is living Biblically will do so.
Anyway, I will pray that the Lord will use your book to motivate believers to tell others of the great salvation they have been given, and if I can make the time, I will read it. But, well, we’re in the middle of a big evangelistic push right now, so it may have to wait a while. 🙂
I understand. Thank you for your input. 😀
Perhaps, in part, it is because we are every bit the coward that Peter was when he thrice denied Jesus. Jesus warned us all in John 15: 18, 19 that the world hates Him and likewise will hate us. The worlds hate for Jesus and His words and His teaching is ever increasing in intensity.
Ironically the very cure for intense persecution from the world can only be accomplished through massive conversions out of the world.
There also is the confusion concerning the biblical reason for churches. Rather than equipping the saints to evangelize many prefer to evangelize through the seeker friendly church.
Perhaps it is due in part to confusion concerning justification and sanctification. Some prefer to be missional and “good” people doing good community deeds. Therefore they think they are saved and approved by their good works.
There is also the heavy influence through the public school system of the illogic of post modern multiculturalism.
It is a serious subject that needs serious attention and action.