evangelize – what does that mean?28-01-2015 - Posted by Andre Piet
the meaning of -ize In the NT the word ‘evangel’ (=good tidings) occurs 76 times as a noun and, as a verb, it is used 55 times. It is then usually shown (in the KJV) as ‘preach the gospel’, ‘bring good tidings’, ‘show glad tidings’ or simply ‘preach’. All these different renderings are unnecessary, because we have an English word available that perfectly reflects the Greek euaggelizo, viz. evangelize. The ending –ize, we use in many verbs in English. It is adopted from the Greek into many other languages, as well. Linguists call this type of verb, causative verbs. They express what they cause or bring about as a result. Demonize means to make something that is like a demon. Crystallize, means to make crystals. Nationalize means to make national. Radicalize means to make radical. Hypnotize means to make hypnotic (bring into a trance). And so on. Evangelizing is not just preaching the gospel, to proclaim or teach. That view does not express what the gospel does or brings about. Evangelizing is: to make someone an evangelist. In other words, if ‘evangel’ means ‘good tiding’, then ‘evangel-izing‘, ‘good-tiding-izing’, means to make another a good-tiding-er!!! what is it that a good tiding does? The special verb form ‘evangel-ize’ (evangel-izing) expresses to us what the potential is of a good tiding and what it does to someone. Whoever hears a good tiding does not keep that to himself, unless the good tiding is not believed. Just imagine: the obstetrician informs you that you have become a father or mother of a healthy baby. Don’t you want everyone of your acquaintances to know this? Or you get to hear that you have passed the exam. Or you will be contacted for a long coveted job or promotion. Or the doctor reports you that you are declared cured of a serious condition. Or you receive a call that you have won a trip around the world. Such messages you do not only accept as mere information. No, they make you happy and it is much more difficult not to share it with others than to tell it to them. A good message wants to be told. Why? Because it is a good message, a good tiding! what has happened? Whoever hears and believes a good message/tiding does not need to be instructed to pass it on. That goes without saying. Read the NT and determine that it indeed worked this way. The passing-on of the evangel was not left to pastors, missionaries or other professionals. Every “Christian” (as they were called; Acts 11:26) was an “evangelist”, i.e., a good-tiding-er – or a good-news messenger. The worrying about “evangelizing”, as it presently is done in Christendom, was totally unknown in those days. Nowadays, they call into being committees for evangelisation. Books are written and conferences are being held to figure out how to encourage and motivate church people to actively share the good news message. But all that underlines one thing: the message that one hears in the church, evidently, does not make them good-tiding-ers. What on earth has happened? Very simple: the good news is not being told! the good tidings that Paul preached Paul greatly exerted himself, in his days, to make everyone aware of the reliable word that the living God is a Savior of all mankind. Yes indeed, you read that right: of all mankind! And in particular of believers. Then he strongly emphasized to Timothy: “teach this!” (1Tim.4:9-11). But what has Christendom done? It has declared this good news to be heresy. They do not believe it. And thus became reality what Paul, in his last letter, foretold: they no longer tolerate sound doctrine and have turned aside to myths (2Tim.4:3,4). They preach an “evangel” that is not an evangel (cp. Gal.1). The “evangel” that is being preached is not about the living God, Who saves all mankind, but about what man must do in order for God to be his or her Savior. And if not, then awaits them eternity in hell. However that concept may be filled out, both, the idea of ‘eternity’ as well as that of a ‘hell’ (Scripture speaks, respectively, of eons and of the valley of Hinnom); both are myths. It is incompatible with the good news about “the Saviour of the world” Who nullifies death. There is nothing to earn. It is a message, an announcement – even a most glorious one! good-tiding-izing today The good news that Paul proclaimed is still unchanged and is a good message. Indeed, for those who have become good-tiding-ers, there is, within official, established Christianity, no place. If you believe that the latter is not true, test it out… It brings along much misunderstanding and a complete lack of appreciation. But on the other hand: precisely against this dark, religious background, the good news message shines all the more brightly! And remember this: it makes you happy to receive the good tidings, but it makes you ever so much happier, if you share it with others (cp Acts 20:35)!