Searching through the Pauline epistles for his perceptions on evangelism shows the perspective of Paul on evangelism expands beyond simply stating the Gospel. The Great Commission is to make disciples of all nations, not simply share the Gospel and go. The biblical (and Pauline) method of discipleship requires certain elements lost in the sea of easy-believeism: sharing the Gospel (creation, fall, redemption, consummation), creating an understanding of scripture (encompassing teaching proper hermeneutics and teaching the interpretations), explicating of the importance of the local church, clarifying correct worldview, and generating proper gender roles. Marking Pauline methodology on missions is quite scarce through the meniscus of simple modernized evangelism; however, placing the missives in proper context develops the view of evangelism moreover the mere modish meaning of missions.
Anabaptist soteriology has commonly taken root among Southern Baptist scholars who understand the major flaws of Arminianism. They usually agree that the issue is not in the method of easy-believeism, but the issue is in the message before the deciding point of easy-believeism or the lack of discipleship afterwards. People under the influence of the easy-believeism methodology come to think that they are believers when they are not actually regenerate at all. This improper missional technique is not in the mind of Paul whatsoever. The Gospel does not begin with man.
The Gospel is summed in creation, fall, redemption, and consummation; however, before diving into the first concept, one must understand the God behind it all. God has a prerogative of forgiveness and a demand of justice. Christ is holy; and, in light of that fact, Christian conduct should be holy (Romans 11:16 cf. 1 Cor. 3:17, Eph. 1:4, Col. 1:22, 3:12, 1 Thess. 2:10, 2 Tim. 1:9, Titus 1:8). God is just (Rom. 3:26) and must judge sin (Rom. 1:18, 2:1, 16, 1 Cor. 4:4, 5:13, 11:32, 2 Tim. 4:1, 8). Mankind is utterly depraved and is unable to go to God on him own ability (Rom. 3:10-23, 8:7, Eph. 2:1-3). God justifies (Rom. 3:24, 26, 3:30, 4:5, 5:1, 9, 8:30, 33, Gal. 3:8, Titus 3:7) His elect (Eph. 1:4, 11, Col. 3:12, 1 Thes. 1:4, 2 Thes. 2:13) because of the work of Christ: God incarnate (Col. 1:15-16, Phil. 2:5-8), lived a perfect holy life making Him the only acceptable sacrifice ( 2 Cor. 5:21, Rom. 8:3-4), God’s wrath for us was placed on Him (2 Cor. 5:21, Rom. 3:25, Eph. 1:7), in resurrection He defeats the death holding us (Rom. 5:10, 1 Cor. 15:12-20).
The cross is where God’s wrath was satisfied for every human being. There is no question that scripture clearly teaches that God loves the entire humanity (kosmos, John 3:16). There is no doubt that Christ is the propitiation for literally the “whole of the world” (περὶ ὅλου τοῦ κόσμου, 1 John 2:2). Those with synergist presuppositions take these texts to be understood as everyone has that opportunity to decide to accept Christ. These texts would therefore make the atonement of Christ plausible for all men. Sadly, there is nothing plausible about these texts: they are definite. Christ most certainly is a propitiation for everyone. Does this amount to universalism? No. Paul says in 1 Tim. 4:10, “For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.”
Therefore, God saves all people, but saves believers particularly. How does this theological principle apply to believers today? Christians should toil and strive and not simply amount to easy-believeism. Intriguingly, those who overly advocate free will are usually the ones who impose on others’ free will, by way of nonbiblical tactics, to convince them they believe in God when they really do not. One prayer, one day, and one decision has become the vanguard to modern American Christendom. This easy, decision based evangelism has practically put all other ideas under its own authority and put evangelicalism back in the Dark Ages; except, people who claim to be Christian have the Bible, just no desire—the Holy Spirit—to read it.
This amounts to proper discipleship: 1. Laboring through the Gospel with scripture 2. Showing the importance of the local church 3. Building a Christian worldview. The first and must important truth of discipleship gleaned from Pauline epistles is the importance of showing the Gospel through the scriptures. How often Paul argues from scripture the Gospel (Rom. 1:2, 4:3, 9:17, 10:11, 11:2, 15:4, 1 Cor. 15:3, 4, Gal. 3:8, 4:30)! For example, in 1 Cor. 15:3-4, Paul shares key points of the Gospel using “according to the Scriptures.” The Bible is inspired by God (lit. “God breathed,” θεόπνευστος; 2 Tim. 3:16). This special revelation sufficiently contains all the truths of the Gospel which is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16). Evangelism should not be boiled down to the Romans Road. How lazy American Christianity has become! American Christianity asks “What’s the least I have to know to share the Gospel?” μὴ γένοιτο! Lack in understanding of Scripture has caused a lack in discipleship which has caused a mass failure of easy-believeism. Pauline epistles teach understanding of scripture is necessary for evangelism.
Second, these epistles teach the importance of the role of the church and how it grows people to godliness. Church membership is restricted to believers; however, learning the function of the church and attending church services certainly helps reveal Christ to the unbeliever. The church functions as the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12, Eph. 1:22-23, 4:15-16, Col. 1:27). Understanding the scriptures is understanding Christ in conception; understanding the church is understanding Christ in action. Problematically, American Christianity has created seeker friendly church services. These services allow people who think they are saved because of easy-believeism to be content in going to church reassuring them of their false salvation. Certain roles of the local church must be ascertained to maintain the proper visage of the body of Christ thereby more efficiently revealing Christ to the world: 1. Biblical preaching provides the backbone to the local church to understand the scripture (2 Tim. 3:16) 2. Biblical fellowship provides the energy (so to speak) for the church in providing the encouragement and spurring to motivate believers to act in benefit to the local community (Rom. 12:2, 1 Cor. 12:21-26, Gal. 5:19, Eph. 4:32). 3. Worship of God clothes the body of Christ in that it shows how believers live their lives glorifying God in everything (Rom 12:2, 1 Cor. 10:31). 4. Pursuing people is the hands and feet of the church in that it shows the purpose of Christ’s service and love (Rom. 13:8-9, 1 Cor. 13:1-3, 16:14, 2 Cor. 6:6, Gal. 5:13, et. al.).
Finally the binding of the Christian worldview seams the actions of believers and the knowledge of the Gospel together. This comes through not only doing the things required of Christians, but also holding the basic assumptions of the scriptures. Paul writes, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2).
The education one receives along with the story (preexistent and personal) they assume form the input of the worldview. The output of the worldview includes the rituals and behavior. Upon the renewal of heart in regeneration the convert’s personal story radically changes as the life is intersected by the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 5:17). In accordance with Romans 12:2, the mind must be renewed as well. This process changes the preexistent story (how mankind came into being) and the education at its foundation (conformed to the world). Public education in America is conformed to the world; however, most American believers do not think twice of what their children are leaning in school unless it pertains to the story (i.e. macroevolution). The output of the worldview includes rituals. These include in Christianity baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Baptism is the practice representing committing to Christ (Rom. 6:1-6). The Lord’s Supper is commemoration of Christ’s sacrifice (1 Cor. 11:17-26). The second output of the worldview is conduct. Christian conduct is to be an example of Christ Himself (1 Thess. 2:10, 1 Tim. 4:12).