Among the core Christian beliefs is the existence of a place called heaven and the horrific reality of hell. When time has expired, every person will find himself in one place or the other. The fact that many choose to ignore this truth in no way lessens the gravity of the prospect.
Scripture unambiguously charges those who know the truth to share that life-changing message with those still in unbelief. The message of the gospel sets men free, and we are to shine as lights in this dark world (Phil. 2:15). We are to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19). We are to be witnesses for Christ to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8). And we are to follow the example of Paul and pray with burdened hearts that the lost may be saved (Rom. 10:1). Those who fill this vital role as bearers of the truth are lauded in Isaiah 52:7: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation …” There is no function in life of greater importance than being a bearer of the message of salvation through Christ alone.
Yet, in the changing cultural landscape of the Christian church, evangelism is becoming increasingly ignored, even opposed. Barna research recently released the results of a study which found that almost half (47%) of Millennials agreed at least somewhat that it is wrong to share one’s personal beliefs with someone of a different faith in hopes that they will one day share the same faith. These same Millennials indicated that they are confident in how to respond when their faith is questioned. But they are quite reticent to do so.
Among older Christians – Boomers and Elders – only about 20% hold to a negative view of sharing their faith for the purpose of evangelism. So the perspective is definitely tied to one’s generational standing. But given the waning influence of senior believers and the growing impact of the youthful outlook, this development is of serious concern for the future of the Christian church.
The Old Testament illustrates what happens when a generation drifts from the core beliefs of their parents (Judges 2:10). The sorry events recorded in the subsequent chapters of that book serve as stark reminders of the importance of both holding to the faith and passing it on to others.
The Christian’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. One cannot carry out that mandate and keep the faith buttoned up inside.