I recently came across a pamphlet encouraging Catholics to evangelize. What a great idea! The advice given was along the lines of “Be positive. Be well informed. Be joyful. Be concise. Take risks. Reach Out. Take the lead.
All well and good I suppose, but there seemed to be something lacking in all this. I sensed a kind of breezy confidence to it all but beneath the spirited optimism there was an emptiness. Then I tracked it down. One paragraph said something to the effect of “Remember to say what we’re fighting for–the right to life for the unborn, fair educational opportunities for all, an equal chance for immigrant families, a renewal of our natural resources.” You get the idea. This person’s concept of “evangelization” was actually the culture wars with a somewhat leftish political bias.”
This, as I keep repeating, is the main cancer in the Christian church today. We’re all big on method but have forgotten the message. Let me shout this from the rooftops: The Christian religion is NOT primarily about changing the world, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, cleaning up the ocean, saving the rainforest, helping prisoners or stopping abortion.
Yes, all these causes are worthy and we should be doing these things, but this is not the same thing as evangelization. The core of the Christian faith is summed up in the Ash Wednesday exhortation: “Repent and Believe the Gospel.” It is summed up in a proclamation of the old, old story of a fallen humanity in need of a savior.
The reason this abdication of the gospel is so widespread is down to universalism–the false, sentimentalized gospel that says everyone will eventually be saved. If this is true, then of course all that is left is for Christians to be a weak group of social do-gooders. If everyone is going to heaven eventually, then why even bother with being a do-gooder?
Stop for a moment. People aren’t stupid. If everyone is going to heaven eventually why be a do-gooder? Certainly ask why anyone should bother going to church.
No wonder all that is left of the Christian religion in America is a bland, watered down, insipid Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism.
The truth of the Christian gospel and the fullness of the Christian faith in the Catholic Church is that people–many people will go to hell and the only way to heaven is through the one who said he is the Way, the Truth and the Life. To be assured of heaven a person must hear the gospel, then repent and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and be baptized. To be assured that they are on the right road to heaven they should accept the fullness of the Faith in the Catholic religion–the only form of Christianity that was established by Jesus himself.
This is the message we have and no other and the slickest and glossiest methods of communication will avail nothing if the message they should be communicating is missing.