Who Will Be Evangelizers?
AT A meeting of the World Council of Churches some 40 years ago, members were urged to “break out in a spirit of evangelism” and to teach their flocks to “go about evangelizing.” Five years later John A. O’Brien, a Catholic clergyman, wrote about the need to bring in new disciples “by going to them” and not simply “by sitting in our homes.” And in January 1994, Pope John Paul II said that it is “not the time to be ashamed of the Gospel, it’s time to preach it from the rooftops.”
Apparently these intermittent calls for evangelizers have fallen on deaf ears. An article in the Australian newspaper Illawarra Mercury stated: “Prominent South Coast Catholics are not keen to adopt the Jehovah’s Witness-type approach to their faith.” One man said that evangelism is simply “not part of the Catholic psyche.” Another reasoned: “It’s good for the Church to promote itself, but not through doorknocking. Perhaps through schools or letterbox drops would be better.” Even the dean of a local cathedral was not quite sure how to interpret the pope’s remarks. “We would encourage people to live out the Gospel they know through their own lives,” he said. “Whether that means doorknocking is another thing.” The headline of the news article sums it up well: “Catholics won’t heed Pope’s call to preach.”
Despite Christendom’s failure to evangelize, more than five million of Jehovah’s Witnesses are following Jesus’ command to “go . . . and make disciples of people of all the nations.” (Matthew 28:19, 20; compare Acts 5:42.) Their door-to-door preaching is now carried out in more than 230 lands. The message they bring is a positive one, highlighting the Bible’s wonderful promises for the future. Why not speak with them the next time they call?