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Televangelism should not replace the Great Commission

Afri-mission and Evangelism Network is a consortium of mission minded churches and faith-based Christian organizations.
Afri-mission and Evangelism Network is a consortium of mission minded churches and faith-based Christian organizations. | Afri-mission and Evangelism Network

The mandate of the Great Commission is the instruction of the resurrected Jesus to His disciples, to go into all the nations of the world to make disciples, baptize, and teach them to observe all things that He has taught them. The famous version of this instruction can be found in the book of Matthew 28: 18-20.  Jesus, by this instruction, commissioned and sent His disciples to preach the Gospel.

This instruction has been handed down from the very first generation of disciples to all the subsequent generations of Christians. It is important to note that the instruction remains the same, but the methodologies have changed. Televangelism has been one of the means by which preachers reach the world using television broadcasting as a medium, and many preachers have concentrated all their energies on this method to the detriment of actually going to the mission fields.

There is no doubt that technology today has helped a lot with the dissemination of information, including the preaching of the Gospel. So many preachers are doing so much using the Internet and electronic media to reach millions of people. These are effective ways of communicating the Gospel, but it simply can’t be a substitute for actual missions work.

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The reason why this method is missiologically defective is because the Gospel is not a basic consumer product. Coming to Christ entails a relationship between the convert and the preacher for effective discipleship. A lot of preachers are claiming that they are reaching people with the Gospel through broadcast but cannot actually interact with new converts. The instruction given to us by Christ is to preach the Gospel, baptize new converts, and teach them to observe all that Jesus has taught His disciples.

Someone can place his or her hands on a television set and say the sinner’s prayer, but how can you disciple such an individual? Face-to-face witness remains the most effective evangelistic method.

How can televangelists be sure that converts are observing what they have taught them if no one is sent to meet with them? The Scripture did not tell the disciples to send the Gospel — rather it gave them instruction to send the preachers. “And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-15).

The use of mass media in Gospel propagation should be a helpful tool, but it can’t replace on-ground evangelism. Attempt to do so will ultimately result in deficiency and evangelistic disaster. The truth is that a lot of the unreached do not have access to electronic devices and even the few who do, have nothing to do with Christian networks.

Majority of African unreached people groups living in primitive tribes without modern technology. How can you reach such people with the Gospel without people bringing it to them? Sending missionaries to the mission fields is the most effective method of evangelism. This method cannot be outdated and cannot be replaced by the Internet. It is God’s prescribed method! We should honor that and not try to be wiser than God.

Oscar Amaechina is the president of Afri-Mission and Evangelism Network, Abuja, Nigeria. His calling is to take the gospel to where no one has neither preached nor heard about Jesus. He is the author of the book Mystery Of The Cross Revealed.  

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