The Makings of an Evangelist

“An evangelist is a man who lives in and by and for the Gospel, who lets it master him so completely that he can never be free from it either in waking or sleeping, who lets it saturate his thoughts and feelings and actions, and who therefore confronts men with the Gospel not just when he ascends the pulpit but in all his dealings with them.  It burns like a fire in him and from time to time it flashes out and sets other men on fire.  It makes him think different thoughts and hold different attitudes in the practical affairs of life from men who are not so mastered by the Gospel, so that he becomes an offence to them.  He troubles and disturbs men, so that some can hardly endure to be near him while others who recognize their need to be troubled in their too-easy solutions to the questions of faith are likely to covet every possibility to be disturbed by him.”1

James D. Smart helpfully enlarges our imagination with respect to understanding the identity of evangelists in his introduction to the posthumously published volume of writings from the desk of the Canadian Presbyterian theologian Walter Bryden.  Obviously, the above quotation could easily be re-written in a gender inclusive way.  However, I’ve left it in its gender exclusive form to reflect its original context within Smart’s characterization of the life and ministry of Bryden.

  1. James D. Smart, “The Evangelist as Theologian,” in Walter W. Bryden, Separated Unto the Gospel (Toronto: Burns and MacEachern, 1956), viii.

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