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Messianic Evangelism and Propaganda

Again with Hoekendijk on the “messianic concept of evangelism.” He argues that the Messianic concept of evangelism “means a total rejection of two very well-known methods” (p. 22). First, it means “a total rejection of everything that tends to be propaganda.” According to Hoekendijk, “To evangelize is to sow and wait in respectful humility and in expectant hope: in humility, because the seed that we sow has to die in hope, because we expect that God will quicken this seed and give it is proper body” (p. 23).

This is in complete contrast to propaganda. “Propaganda’s essential character is a lack of expectant hope and an absence of due humility. The propagandist has to impose himself. He has to resort to himself, to his word (verbosity being a characteristic of every propagandist). In short, the propagandist tries to make exact copies of himself” (p. 23).

Thus, “To let Christian hope determine our evangelism means that we move forward in a world with unlimited possibilities, a world in which we shall not be surprised when something unforeseen happens, but shall, rather, be really surprised at our little faith, which forbids us to expect the unprecedented.”


  1. N. Dan Smith wrote:

    I think this post complements the feeling I had the other day of seeing a book on “Christian marketing,” which talked about “brand identity” and “making your church stand out.” Still, nothing matches the coupon for a free latte which I received in the mail from a local megachurch. Sometimes it hard for us to avoid making evangelism the proclamation of the good news of just how cool our church is.

    Sunday, March 8, 2009 at 2:43 pm | Permalink
  2. Matt Wiebe wrote:

    This really sheds some painful light on the early evangelistic training I received, when we were urged to “close the deal” (those were the exact words used). It definitely felt like a lack of trust in Jesus’ teachings on sowing and reaping, but I did not ask questions at that point in time…

    Sunday, March 8, 2009 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

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