I’m grateful to Dr. David Mills, Associate Professor of Evangelism and Assistant Dean of Applied Ministry at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, for writing and allowing us to publish this great challenge for us regarding evangelism.
In the resurrection chapter of 1 Corinthians 15, Paul says much about evangelism. He says he declares to the Corinthians the gospel, which he preached to them previously (v.1). He said they could rest assured of their salvation if they held fast to the word he preached to them (v.2). He delivered to them first what he had received, namely Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and appearances (v.3—4). He remarks that though he was least among the apostles, he preached and the Corinthians believed (v.11). He imagines Christians declaring the risen Christ (v.12). In fact, this is a point of contention in favor of Christ’s resurrection. Paul reasons that if Christ did not rise from the dead, he preached in vain (v.14) and was guilty of false witness against God because he had testified to Christ’s resurrection (v.15). To the Corinthians’ shame he chastises them that they had failed to introduce others to God (v.34). He tells them of the mystery of the resurrection of believers (v.51). Paul anticipates that believers in the resurrection would prioritize evangelism. Believers manifest their faith in the resurrection by working at evangelism.
This is part of an article originally published January 1922 in the Southwestern Journal of Theology by Dr. L. R. Scarborough entitled, “Poisoning the Fountains of Truth.” It was republished in the most recent Southwestern Journal of Theology, “Baptists and Unity.” May a voice of our past speak to us today. Below is part one of a four part series reprinting Dr. Scarborough’s essay:
Poisoning the Fountains of Truth
Christ’s churches are the most important institutions in the world. He gave them a definite form of government, a specific character of membership, set up in them the two ordinances, gave to them the great body of the truth found in the New testament, set for them their officers, and committed to them the great task of winning the world to Him and building His great Kingdom. He says through His inspired apostles in 1 Timothy 3:15 that this organization which He set up and called His church is “the pillar and ground of the truth.” He says this church was purchased by His blood; and in His spiritual economy He calls this institution His Bride. All this and many other things in the New testament indicate that these spiritual organizations set up by Christ and established in many places by the apostles and which have for their successors these New testament churches of today are the most important institutions in all the world. These churches are to keep, guard, and promote the ordinances. They are to propagate the gospel. They are to win souls. They are both the preservers and the heralds of the gospel truth. They are to establish Christ’s Kingdom and to make Christ King in all the world. From any angle you look at these churches their importance is magnified.
I have passed the half-way point of my two week seminars here at Southwestern. Because of my blogging slavemaster friend, Wes Kenney, :-D I find myself writing a post instead of working on my DMin assignments. Yet I am reminded of why I entered this program back in 2007. At that time I would have considered myself an expository preacher, but today, as I look back, I was anything but one. Back then I would taken a text like Genesis 39 and the incident of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife and preached on how to keep oneself from sexual sin. I would have used the lives of both Joseph and of Potiphar’s wife to illustrate techniques and habits that could help in keeping oneself pure. I would have proclaimed, “Be like Joseph!” while missing the point of the text. Yes, my sermon may have been biblically true on those points, but it would not have been scripturally based according to the original intent of Genesis 39. In all this, I would have claimed to be an expositor of the scriptures. I was wrong and I knew I needed to change.