By Nana Yaw Aidoo

History continues to repeat itself in that when those who surround the Lord's people move a certain way, the Lord's people whether inadvertently or not, follow suit. Israel of old rejected God's plan of judges because the nations around them had kings. (1 Sam.8:19-20; Hos.13:11). This unfortunate pattern did not end with the Jewish nation but also plagues the Lord's beautiful bride today. Take for example the case of showing placards along the streets as a means of evangelization. Some young men and women in the denominational world decided that creating placards with statements like; "Jesus is the Answer," "Run to Jesus Now" et cetera would convert lost souls. A person stands in the sun, along a highway, with a placard showing the words, "God is Love," and returns home "fulfilled," having contributed his quota to the "winning souls for Christ" cause. It would be very interesting to have one of these people tell us the rationale behind this method.

However, is it a huge ask to expect the Lord's people to know better? Surely, we won't involve ourselves in such stuff, would we? Not so! Recently, I saw a group of sincere young men and women from the Lord's church within the capital, fulfilling history. How inevitable. It is just impossible for us to not be influenced by the denominational world. Having been influenced, anyone who dares raise a voice is seen as a "troubler of Israel." Evangelism is the first and last mission of the Lord's church. And a congregation ought to be admired that takes this work seriously. Since no method is necessarily specified, any lawful method that can be used by the Lord's people to bring others to the Master is certainly allowed. However, notice if you would that the mere fact that something is "lawful," does not mean it is "helpful" and "edifying." (1 Cor.10:23). For something to be expedient, not only must it fulfill a lawful obligation, but it must also be helpful and edifying. This is a lesson that we all ought to learn.

As touching conversion, God has put His converting power in words (Psa.19:7; Rom.1:16; Eph.6:17; 2 Tim.3:16-17; Jam.1:18; 1 Pet.1:22-25), calling men to the kingdom of His Dear Son by the agency of the gospel (2 Thes.2:14). Thus, in order to conversion, we are told that the words spoken or sent out (Rom.10:14-17) must carry enough information to constitute teaching (John 6:45). We also see in scripture that the words spoken or sent out must carry enough information to allow God Almighty to convict and to effect a heart change. Like Paul confounding the Jews in Damascus, "proving that Jesus is the Christ." (Acts 9:22), like Felix and Drusilla hearing Paul, as the apostle "reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgement to come" (Acts 24:25) and like Agrippa listening to Paul to the extent that he was almost persuaded to become a Christian (Acts 26:28). The words spoken or sent out must carry enough information that it "proves," "reasons out," and "persuades."

Would the church of Christ had gotten off the ground, if the early Christians stood on the streets in the then Roman world, holding placards that read "Jesus is the Christ?" What influence would this have had on unbelievers? The Jews might (only might) have been bothered some but it would have been beyond foolish to the Greeks or the Romans. (cf. 1 Cor.1:23). Would they "have turned the world upside down" in the manner in which they did if they merely held placards along the streets (Acts 17:6)? One wonders what the story of Acts the eighth chapter would have been, if all Philip did was stand along the Gaza road with a placard that read, "Jesus Saves."

As one congregation has begun the placard "method" of evangelization, I predict that this new "method" like the singing group movement, will spread like wildfire among a generation that presumes to have fun into heaven. (cf. Acts 14:22). It is much easier to show a placard that reads, "Christ will Come Again" than to give enough information that teaches plainly that when Christ comes again, He will come for His family, the church of Christ. (1 Cor.15:24; Eph.5:23; 1 Tim.3:15). So how about something to make it easy on us and on them, to ease our consciences and to convince us that we have "evangelized" as the Lord said we should? I have no doubt in my mind that this "method" would receive the backing and influence of a "preacher." However, it won't help the Lord's cause in anyway and by a little bit of "joining one and two," we ought to be able to see this. (Isa.1:18).

If showing placards is a means to the end of setting up Bible study meetings with others, even so Amen. However, if it is an end in and of itself, like it is with the denominational world and which I fear is or will be the case for the Lord's people (for if the intention were to set up Bible study meetings, they would have gone right ahead with it rather than waste their time showing placards along the streets), then we are deceiving ourselves and being deceived. (John 8:44; 2 Cor.11:3; 2 Tim.3:13). By the way, is old, reliable, "door-to-door" broke? If it isn't then why fix it? Let us learn to leave denominational methods where they belong.

That the Lord's church would so continue to evangelize, "explaining and demonstrating" that Jesus is the Christ (Acts 17:3), "preaching the kingdom and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus with all confidence" (Acts 28:31), to the end that some who hear us would be "persuaded" (Acts 17:4) to obey the Lord and be added to His church is my humble and sincerest prayer.


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