Sharing the Gospel
by Glenn Conjurske
It is very common in our day to hear people talk of sharing the gospel
—-or worse, sharing their faith. Such language is wholly unscriptural. The Bible speaks of preaching the gospel. The word “share” never appears in the Bible at all.
But we will not make a man an offender for a word. If he uses the wrong word, and means the right thing, charity can overlook that, though we may attempt to teach him better. But “share” is not a mere mistake in terminology. It is a pernicious departure from the truth. In the first place, it is never right to depart from the terminology of the Bible. To depart from Bible terminology is generally a departure from its substance also. But mark, we do not speak of the use of synonyms. If a man will proclaim where the Bible says preach, or instruct where the Bible says teach, this may be harmless doctrinally, though it may betray a restless mind and a liberal disposition, which are too prone to abandon the old landmarks. But synonyms are harmless enough in themselves, and we may find plenty of them in the Bible itself.
“Share,” however, is no innocent synonym for “preach.” Its meaning is entirely different, and the expression “sharing the gospel” is the embodiment of a concept altogether foreign to Scripture. The Bible commands us to preach the gospel. It sends us to a wicked world, which does not want the gospel, as messengers from heaven. The message is unpopular, and so are its preachers. There is no “friendship evangelism” in the Bible. The offense of the cross is real. The preaching of the cross divides men. It provokes opposition and persecution. It is a confrontation between light and darkness. This unpopular message we are to preach.
But a soft, lukewarm, worldly form of Christianity, known as Neo-evangelicalism, wants nothing to do with anything unpopular. It will have none of the offense of the cross. It will avoid at all cost the reproach of Christ. It finds preaching too hard, too offensive. It must therefore share the gospel. This is soft, and positive, and non-confrontational. It has nothing to do with denouncing sin, or pronouncing woes and damnation. It is a sweet, pleasing thing, like sharing a box of candy.
As to “sharing our faith,” this is mere jargon. I suppose anyone who seriously proposed to “share his faith” might soon find he had none to spare, and so none to share. And I observe also, as is usual in the ways of Neo-evangelicalism, this talk of “sharing our faith” stands all on the positive side. The negative side of the gospel has little place in the message which these folks preach
—-or “share” —-and never in my life have I heard anyone talk of “sharing his repentance.”
But this new terminology is no innocent mistake. It is as deliberate a departure from the ways of God as it is from the language of Scripture. Neither can such terminology be employed without harm. Those who use it betray the fact that their minds are influenced already by the devious ways of Neo-evangelicalism, and the terminology itself is calculated to promote those ways.
But my concern is for Fundamentalism. I speak to “strengthen the things which remain, which are ready to die.” We expect Neo-evangelicals to be soft and worldly. We expect them to shun the reproach of Christ, and the offense of the cross. But we are grieved exceedingly to hear this talk of sharing the gospel from conservatives and Fundamentalists. Can we not expect the Fundamentalists to be Fundamentalists? Alas, we cannot. We expect the Neo-evangelicals to be Neo-evangelicals, and long experience has taught us to expect the Fundamentalists to be Neo-evangelicals also. How can they be anything else, when they read the literature of Neo-evangelicalism, and listen to its music and its radio programs? They imbibe its spirit. They speak its language, and see nothing amiss in it. We suggest to those who think themselves conservatives or Fundamentalists, and who yet speak of “sharing the gospel,” that it is high time they wake up and reconnoiter, and see whither they are drifting, and why.