The Gospel Coalition

Not every Christian is equally gifted as an evangelist. But all of us have the obligation and opportunity to prepare ourselves "to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you" (1 Pet. 3:15). Pastors in particular might seem as though they have many chances to share the gospel with unbelievers. In reality, they spend so much time with Christians that they must be proactive to build relationships with non-Christians. If you don't pray for opportunities to evangelize and don't actively look for them, you won't likely have the privilege of welcoming many new believers into the kingdom of God.

The sermon, however, is one regular occasion when pastors can model gospel proclamation for the congregation and trust God to move unbelievers visiting the church to repent and believe the good news that Jesus Christ died for sinners and triumphed over death in resurrection. So why don't more pastors make sure they preach the gospel in every sermon? TGC council members Mark Dever, Mark Driscoll, and James MacDonald address this question from their varied experience as they discuss the pastor's ministry of evangelism in this video roundtable.


Albert Morse

September 24, 2010 at 01:26 AM

Making a disciple is so much more than preaching the gospel message. Teaching the message of Christ crucified is only the first step in discipleship training. Let's move from the first step to the ten thousand that follow. These babes need to be learning the Law and Grace of God. They need to become disciples. We must teach them to observe all of the law. We must teach them to live in the Grace as well. Another step we must do is baptize them at an early stage of their discipleship training. If you only preach gospel you have simply helped save him from the fire. We must do more. We must teach them how to live the abundant life God has called them to. The Holy Spirit within these babes in Christ will help when you fall short. But to emphasize the point if you are a disciple of Christ obey Matt 28:19-20 and make disciples don’t just save them from destruction.

Albert Morse

September 23, 2010 at 11:55 PM

Excellent observation. We are in the world not of the world.

[...] James MacDonald challenged holy peer pressure in a recent interview and suggested that we should primarily target ripe people over key people, following Christ’s [...]


September 22, 2010 at 10:53 AM

How about truth in every sermon?

This morning, on my way to work, I turned on Christian radio. I rarely do this. It just so happened (right?) that it was James McDonald's show. He is preaching/teaching through Revelation. This is a defining book, and a challenging one, so I thought it might be interesting.

He made a point of clarifying the fact that there are a number of perspectives on Revelation. I thought, “that’s great, one rarely hears even an acknowledgement of other views beyond the speaker’s when it comes to eschatology and Revelation”. My ears were open. Mr. McDonald gave the list, then very quickly knocked down all views but his own- futurism- with a sentence for each. It was the one that he reserved for preterism that was especially nice- “preterism is a view held only by critical scholars, by men who do not believe the Bible”.

“Well”, I thought, “there it is”. Mr. McDonald had succeeded in not only telling his people an untruth, but also in cutting off from the Biblical faith a vast crowd of saints, including many of the church fathers, John Calvin, Charles Spurgeon, the Hodges, BB Warfield, RC Sproul, Douglas Wilson, Peter Leithart, many ministers within the PCA and, well, me.

Now, I understand that there are extreme forms of preterism, and these need to be distinguished from those forms that are inherent in a post-millennial view of eschatology, the latter form being what the aforementioned men believe(d). But, preterism of all forms are not inherently anti-Biblical. To assert as much is to display a galactic ignorance of church and theological history.

Mr. McDonald needs to make a public correction. This would be the right thing to do. To go back and say, “that was a mistake, there is more to this story”. If the church is to be truly catholic, then we need to accept the possibility that there are views that are still up for discussion, and we are free to disagree, but that we stand on the same basic ground- we all believe the Bible to be the Word of God.

Creating the kind of poisoned-well divisions that Mr. McDonald did with a simple sentence is against the Gospel that he claims to believe.

John DeMotte

September 22, 2010 at 10:33 AM

PJ - i just listened to that Q/A and don't hear where they disagree w/Dever,Driscoll, or MacDonald. Can you clarify? Seems to me that they are speaking about two separate topics.

Greg Gibson

September 22, 2010 at 10:19 PM

Link correction:

PJ Tibayan

September 22, 2010 at 02:20 AM

For John Piper and Matt Chandler's view on this, starting at 1:11:55 (counting down) they discuss, nuance, and disagree with Dever, Driscoll, and MacDonald:

Jason D.

September 21, 2010 at 11:14 AM

Don't know if it is fair to say "entertainments" is put in place of "the true liturgy"... which of "the ancient forms" are we supposed to subscribe too (as there is not just one "true liturgy").

I like liturgy, my church doesn't do it, but that does not mean we have "abandoned" it for "entertainments". It's not mutually exclusive.

Matt DeLockery

September 21, 2010 at 11:09 AM

I think there would be a lot more opportunities for the sharing of the gospel if Christians would not spend all their time around other Christians. For example, maybe instead of joining the basketball league at church, Christians should think about joining one with some non-Christians. This would give them an opportunity to be the salt and light that Jesus called us to be.


September 21, 2010 at 10:34 AM

In a sound, orthodox liturgy, the Gospel is "preached" by the shape of the worship, regardless what passage or text the minister preaches. This seems lost on our generation, as we have become more and more rationalistic. The Gospel being felt and understood is not wholly dependent upon the minister or his sermon. Everything else is not an addendum on the preaching, but is representative of the Triune God's message of grace- if the church is being faithful to the ancient forms.

The problem is, the true liturgy has been abandoned for entertainments.

James S

September 21, 2010 at 09:46 PM

Most people work for a living and at jobs that arent around christians. There's ample opportunity to be salt and light there.

[...] TGC council members Mark Dever, Mark Driscoll, and James MacDonald address this question from their varied experience as they discuss the pastor’s ministry of evangelism in this video roundtable. [...]

Chris Land

September 21, 2010 at 01:20 PM

Everytime I preach, I bring up the gospel because i want people who are lost to know that Jesus loves them and died for them and they can have eternal life through him. I have heard to many sermons lately that preach a good sermon, but did not share the gospel. My thinking is why preach if you cannot bring out the gospel.