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How the Fall Affected Evangelism

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David wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1). 

Jesus responded to the Pharisees, when they told him, “Teacher rebuke your disciples,” by saying, “I tell you, if they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out” (Luke 19:10). 

We learn something extremely important about creation in these two verses. We learn that creation, by its very nature, is an evangelist. The heavens “declare,” the expanse “proclaims,” and the rocks “cry out” in an act of praise to its Creator. 

If creation is, by its nature, an evangelist, then it would only stand to reason that human beings — by their very nature — should be considered evangelists as well. 

Mankind was created in the image of God — meant to represent God’s presence (along with His rule and reign) on planet earth. Therefore, the heavens weren’t the only thing that was to declare God’s glory; the expanse wasn’t the only thing that was to proclaim the work of God’s hands; and the rocks weren’t the only thing to cry out in response to their Maker. Mankind was the crown of God’s creation meant to exercise dominion over the created order, and thus to lead out in the universal declaration and proclamation of the King of the Cosmos. 

Think about it — way before Israel or the Church were brought into existence and were called to “declare God’s glory among the nations” (Ps 96:2) or “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15) — God created His image-bearers to be His evangelists. 

If you’ve read the first three chapters of Genesis, you know the calling to be evangelists was short-lived. While humanity’s calling was short-lived due to the Fall, it is in the account of their fall that we (believers who are part of His Church) today can learn what stifles and prohibits evangelism — something in which many churches and believers struggle.

From the account of Adam and Eve’s Fall in the Garden, there are at least four reasons why believers won’t evangelize — declare God’s glory and proclaim the work of His hands.

1. You won’t evangelize if you’re skeptical of God.

The crafty serpent said to Eve, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden?’” After a few exchanges, the serpent told Eve, “No! You will not die…in fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God…” (Gen 3:4–5). 

Satan sought to plant seeds of doubt and skepticism in Eve’s view of God. He wanted her to think that God was holding out — that He wasn’t as generous or good as she might have thought. 

The reality is, you won’t share what you are skeptical of, and you won’t declare what you doubt. 

If believers are to exercise their evangelistic calling as God’s people — image-bearers who are redeemed and being restored in Christ — then they will have to trust in the graciousness, goodness, and generosity of God. That doesn’t mean they will fully understand everything in the world or that happens in and around their life. As Elisabeth Elliott once noted, “Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith.” 

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Josh serves as the Co-Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center in Wheaton, IL, the Co-Regional Director of Lausanne North America, an Adjunct Faculty at Wheaton College’s Graduate School of Ministry, Mission, and Leadership, as well as a Teaching Pastor at Wheaton Bible Church in West Chicago, IL. He holds a PhD in Missiology and loves mobilizing the church to participate in God’s mission. He and his wife Joannie live in Wheaton, IL with their three kids.