I met a group of disillusioned American missionaries during my recent trip to England. After years of attempting evangelistic outreaches and trying to start churches, they had concluded they needed to pull out.
Why? They explained to me how hard it was to get most people in England to even listen to the Christian message. England was, for them, a “lost cause.”
At the same time, after speaking to packed auditoriums in England and Wales, I heard numerous testimonies of people who had committed their lives to the Lord—or Christians whose faith was “kick-started’—as a result of God using AiG ministry.
The difference between what the American missionaries experienced and what AiG has witnessed in its outreaches in England (i.e. two totally different results) is explained by the difference between two evangelistic methods.
Most missionary organizations, Bible colleges, seminaries, etc., in America train missionaries to use the “Acts 2 approach.” This method is based on how the Apostle Peter preached to the Jews (people who believed in the God of creation, and understood the meaning of sin and the Fall)—boldly presenting a message of Christ’s death and resurrection, and the need to repent and put faith in Christ for salvation.
In the “Acts 17 approach,” Paul used a different method. In this approach, Paul had success in preaching to the Greeks. The Greeks were outright pagans who had no knowledge of the true God, or an understanding of the meaning of sin and the Fall, etc., as the Jews did. The Greeks basically dismissed that message as foolish.
But when Paul explained who the real God is (the God of creation) and laid the foundation of the gospel about all of us being descendants of one man Adam (thus explaining the origin of sin and the need for salvation), and then dismantled their belief in pagan gods, he then presented the salvation message. They began to respond.
I believe that one of the reasons many missionaries (and the millions of dollars to train them) have not been very effective overall in many cultures is that they were educated to use the Acts 2 approach. Furthermore, many missionaries have been taught by most college and seminary professors to think that Genesis is not important and/or they have compromised with millions of years and evolution.
Because most English churches have compromised with Genesis and basically just concentrated on the New Testament (allowing generations in the church to believe the world’s teaching, like millions of years), the majority of Britain’s population no longer see the Bible as credible in this “scientific age.”
When the typical Acts 2/Peter approach is used in such a culture (i.e. without a Genesis foundation), people are less likely to respond. I wasn’t surprised, then, to recently read that attendance at British mosques had surpassed the attendance at Church of England services! Overall, church attendance is down to 7.5%.
It would make a phenomenal difference if missionaries and the church adopted an Acts 17 approach to evangelism in our post-Christian world. In England I met
a university student who informed me that after reading AiG’s booklet Is There Really A God? he committed his life to the Lord.
a man, beaming from ear to ear, who told me that his wife had obtained a set of our videos. He decided he was going to watch the creation videos to critique them. He watched them, and became a Christian!
My friend, we see these sorts of responses every day from around the world—especially coming through our website. The Acts 17 evangelism method works!
It’s not a hopeless cause to evangelize England—or anywhere the Christian basis has been lost. We’re finding that as more of God’s people are equipped with our Bible-affirming website and other creation materials, they’re reaching out to others with the gospel—and the results follow. I recall a pastor telling me in England that while he was listening to my talk, a man behind him whispered, “I became a Christian after reading Creation magazine!”
AiG is using Acts 17 evangelism: for example the huge AnswersInGenesis.org website (over one-million “visits” in March 2004!), produces literature and is building the exciting Creation Museum (another powerful witnessing outreach).
AiG has been used by God to see so many lives changed—like the ones above. If our website has been useful and a blessing to you, please consider a gift to further the creation/gospel message. Together, we can proclaim biblical truths to an anti-Christian world that needs to hear the gospel.
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