So many people often confuse themselves with evangelism and missionary work and anytime they do it raises the question can an evangelist be a missionary?
In this religious discourse therefore, I am going to answer this question and show you proof by showing you how Paul began a missionary journey as an evangelist.
So without any waste of time, let’s get started with this discourse, can we?
Can an evangelist be a missionary?
Yes! an evangelist can be a missionary because the main aim and focus of both the evangelical and missionary work is to spread the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and in so doing make disciples of all nations.
As a matter of fact, the missionary work was birth out of evangelism when the early disciples obeyed the commands of Jesus concerning evangelism in Acts 1:18 by taking the gospel to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the outermost part of the Earth.
If you want to know the history of how the missionary and evangelical work began, please read the article below.
In this particular discourse however, we are going to see how one of the greatest evangelist of all time, Paul, made his missionary journey as an evangelist after being converted on his way to Damascus to persecute the early Christians.
How Paul made his missionary journey as an evangelist.
To understand how Paul made his missionary journey as an evangelist we are going to break this topic into the following sub-topics:
- Paul’s conversion.
- 3 significant contributions of Paul’s missionary journey to Christianity.
1. Paul’s conversion.
Paul was that young man who was holding the clothes of the Hellenist who stoned evangelist Stephen to death as it is recorded in Acts chapter 7.
He was a dispersion Jew who came from the city of Tarsus (modern day Turkey) which was back then in the Roman province of Cilicia in Asia minor. He was also a strict Pharisee, and at the time of Stephen’s stoning he was studying on the feet of the great Jewish scholar known as Gamaliel in Jerusalem.
Paul was reckoned to be an enemy of the gospel, and in the persecution following the death of Stephen the Bible records in Acts 8:3 that “Saul laid waste the church, and entering house to house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison”.
Sometime later, we see in Acts 9:1-31 that while he was still breathing threats and murder against the followers of Christ, he requested that the Jewish authorities send him to Damascus to persecute the Christians there, and it was on his way to Damascus that the glorified Jesus appeared to him and converted him to become one of his early disciples.
2. The 3 significant contributions of Paul’s missionary journey to Christianity.
The 3 significant contributions of Paul’s missionary journey to Christianity are:
- It was through the three extensive missionary journey’s of Paul that the gospel was established in Asia Minor, Macedonia and Greece. Among the churches he founded, the churches in Ephesus and Corinth stands out because of their strategic situations and the length of time Paul labored there. Most of Paul’s silent years of doing his evangelical work as a missionary was spent in Cilicia and Syria. Acts 15:23-41 and Galatians 1:21 refer to believers and churches in these area to have come out of the early works of Paul. The Bible however does not record Paul’s last years but we do know that at the conclusion of his third missionary journey, he was arrested in Jerusalem and taken to Rome as a prisoner where he was released and rearrested again until he died in the Neronian persecution in 67.
- Paul was one of the early evangelist to stand against and correct the errors of the Christian Jews who maintained that Christians must observe temple worship, circumcision, sabbath and all the other matters of the Mosaic law, and this became a very big threat to the Gentile Christians whom Paul was working so hard to convert. In Acts 15:1, we see how some Christian Jews who came from Judea to Antioch preached that “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” Paul however presented this matter before the council of the apostles and elders in Jerusalem and after a long debate as recorded in Acts 15:12-21, they all agreed that the Gentile believers can become Christians without observing the laws of Moses. This decision of the council was a great victory for the gospel, even though it ended without dispute because the disagreement between the Jewish and Gentile Christians lasted until after the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans in A.D 70.
- The last but the greatest contributions of Paul’s missionary journey to Christianity is his body of letters and epistles which outnumbers the number of books authored by persons in the Holy Bible. And when you stud the letter and epistles of Paul closely, you will realize that they contain the faith and the life of the church. When we talk about faith in this case, we are making reference to the teaching concerning salvation while life is concerned with the conduct of those who receive this salvation. For instance, Paul’s letter to the Romans is concerned with teaching in chapters one through seven, and chapters twelve through sixteen focuses on Christian conducts. His letters to the Corinthians, on the other hand, is chiefly devoted to conduct wile at the same time discusses important teachings like the resurrection and unity of the church. Paul’s letters and epistles have so much to say about the risen and exalted Lord, but the example of Jesus leading a pure and holy life in a sinful world receives very little attention.
By taking a glimpse into the life of one of the greatest evangelist that ever walked the surface of this Earth, I mean St Paul, we can finally get to see and believe the fact that an evangelist can be, and is a missionary.
In the early church, those who maintained this office were not associated with a particular church but were more concerned about moving from city to city and house to house spreading the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.