Holiness and Evangelism
Samuel Logan Brengle said somewhere, probably in “Heart Talks on Holiness,” that the experience of entire sanctification will make us incomparable evangelists. I have no doubt about this, and I was frankly surprised that I had never heard anything like that before I read the book last year. It just makes so much sense. Entire sanctification is, at root, loving God with all our heart, mind, and strength and loving our neighbor as ourselves. I want to obey the Great Commission and the Great Commandment all at once! It jibes with something Robert Coleman said, “evangelism is first an internal struggle—do I love Jesus enough to go where He says go, do what He says to do and say what He says to say?” Add to that a real love for our neighbor, and the foundation of the holiness experience is heart to God, hand to man.
That said, I came across some words from E.M. Bounds that are a natural follow-up to the previous post, “A Call to Repentance.” In his short article, “Prayer and the Work of God,” Bounds says (long quotation):
“The present-day church has vast machinery. Her activities are great and her material prosperity is unmatched. The name of religion is widely spread and well-known. Much money comes into the Lord’s treasury and is paid out. But here is the question: does the work of holiness keep pace with all this? Is the burden of the prayers of Church people to be made holy? Are our preachers really holy men? Or to go back a little further, are they hungering and thirsting after righteousness, desiring the sincere milk of the Word that they may grow thereby? Are they really seeking to be holy men? Of course men of intelligence are needed in the pulpit, but prior to that, and primary to it is that fact that we need holy men to stand before dying men and proclaim the salvation of God….
“Are our leading laymen examples of holiness? Are they seeking holiness of heart and life? Are they praying men [and women], ever-praying that God would fashion them according to his pattern of holiness? Are their business ways without stain of sin and their gains free from the taint of wrong-doing? Have they the foundations of solid honesty, and does their uprightness bring them into elevation and influence?”
Holiness and evangelism; I don’t know that we often think they go together. We see holiness as an internal, individual thing. Evangelism is outward, action. But if I love God, I will do what He asks. And if I love my neighbor, I will seek their good. There is, quite simply, no greater good that we can do, no greater love for our neighbor, than to point someone to the love of God in Christ.