Evangelism in Luke-Acts: More Than an Outreach Program -- By: David R. Beck

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 20:2 (Spring 2003)
Article: Evangelism in Luke-Acts: More Than an Outreach Program
Author: David R. Beck


Evangelism in Luke-Acts:
More Than an Outreach Program

David R. Beck

Professor of New Testament and Greek
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587

Faculty lecture presented at Binkley Chapel
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina, November 6, 2002

Evangelism is often recognized as the heartbeat of the church, yet it is rarely the focus of serious research among biblical scholars. My own call to ministry began in the local church, pastoring small congregations in the Northeast, and has now shifted to research and teaching. As fulfilling as that calling is, it permits a person to become very narrow in their focus to the point where they can find themselves engaged in dialogue that is only meaningful to other academicians. After all, we can get excited about points of Greek grammar and nuances of verb tenses, about which we need to be sometimes reminded by non-scholars, nobody cores] Nonetheless, I would be the last to denigrate the value of scholarly pursuits, as long as they submit to the Lordship of Jesus, yield to the control of His Spirit, build up His church, and further God’s kingdom. The evangelist John Wesley once received a note from a person who considered himself an evangelist which read in part, “The Lord has told me to tell you that he doesn’t need your book learning, your Greek and your Hebrew.” John Wesley replied:

Thank you sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need of my “book-learning” as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance either.1

“Scholarship on fire,” Dr. Patterson likes to term it. I just know that I thank God for the privilege to serve on a faculty that, without exception, cares passionately about making a contribution to the kingdom of God, both in their personal and in their professional lives.

Much has been written on evangelism, and many of these works include a survey of the biblical teaching and practice of evangelism, but rarely from the perspective of New Testament scholarship. My interest was raised by several practical questions about which I have often wondered. How did people in the first century get saved without attending an evangelism training seminar? Did Paul invent the FAITH outline, did Peter ever go through CWT, and did James write the Four Spiritual Laws booklet? What night of the week was the early church evangelism outreach? Inquiring minds want t...

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