Evangelical Essentials

To become dangerous and effective, we must refocus on the gospel


Josif Tson used to say to me, “The most dangerous person in the world is the one who is unafraid to die.” He said that before Sept. 11, 2001, and was referring to people he observed behind the old Iron Curtain, in the days of persecution under the communist regime in Romania. Josif faced death many times and had to become utterly willing to die for his Christian faith. He was regarded as a dangerous man by the authorities.

One thing Islamic terrorists all have in common is their willingness to die for their cause—whether through suicide bombs, taking risks or saying goodbye to their close relatives and friends. The threat of death means nothing to them. It is people like this who have changed the world as we have known it.

What do I believe that I am truly willing to die for? Am I a dangerous man? To put it another way: Am I known in hell? My friend Rolfe Barnard used to preach a sermon called “The Man Who Was Known in Hell,” based upon Acts 19:15. The seven sons of Sceva got in over their heads by using Jesus’ name to cast out demons. The reply came from the demonic world: “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” The sons of Sceva were not known in hell. Rolfe concluded his sermon by saying, “I want to be known in hell.” He wanted to be a threat to Satan and make a difference in this world.

If I am afraid to die for what I believe, I will be unknown in hell. But if I am unafraid to die for that belief, I will be regarded as a dangerous man—to Satan. There are some things I sincerely believe but which I would not go to the stake for. So what would I willingly die for?

Have you thought about this?

We are in the “perilous times” Paul said would come (2 Tim. 3:1). Sept. 11, 2001, was indeed the day the world changed; we are seeing with every passing day that nothing will be like it was. The world is in economic chaos. Islam is growing while Christianity carries on with a form of godliness without power. Society is becoming impervious to grossest immorality, blatant dishonesty and unprecedented political corruption. Christian movements that were once strong are losing ground. The Pew Forum recently reported that what really unites Pentecostals and charismatics isn’t the miraculous gifts but the prosperity gospel. Southern Baptists are in decline for the first time—prompting leader Ed Stetzer to write that their only solution was to return to their “first love” and make “refocusing on the gospel” their top priority.

His observation made me come face to face with what I truly believe and what I’d be willing to die for. I hold to many theological principles, but I now realize there’s only one thing I’d go to the stake for: my belief that all people, Jews and gentile, will be eternally lost unless they are converted through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, God’s one and only Son. I not only believe this statement to be true; I would die for this.

If the prosperity gospel has indeed replaced miraculous gifts as the unifying force among charismatics and Pentecostals, how many of us would die for prosperity teaching? I don’t mean to be unfair, but I doubt we’ll be a threat to Satan’s interests who propagate such teaching. We are not dangerous. Yet if we refocus on the gospel—that God sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins, and preach that all need this or they will perish—we will become dangerous. And a threat to Satan. And we will change the world.


R.T. Kendall was the pastor of Westminster Chapel in London for 25 years. He is the author of numerous books, including God Gives Second Chances. Visit his Web site at rtkendallministries.com.

Leaders are readers! Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Ministry Today, Charisma and SpiritLed Woman all for $24. YES - I'm a leader!

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • Discouragement can be a serious struggle.

    Guard Your Spirit Against These 4 Crippling Attacks

    Are you struggling this Valentine's Day with one of these discouraging issues?

  • Some of the toughest lessons reap the greatest rewards.

    10 Tough Lessons Every Pastor Should Remember in Ground-Shaking Trials

    One is that your suffering may turn out to be the highest compliment the Father ever gave you.

  • Why Many Christians Misunderstand This Crucial Leadership Trait

    Great leadership doesn't start with a great education, although that is incredibly valuable. ...

  • Worship leaders, keep your team's attitude in check.

    This Can Quickly Erode a Worship Team's Culture

    God has given us talent and He calls for excellence, but excellence with this is not honoring ...

  • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

  • Your Source of Unlimited Kingdom Energy and Power

    Jesus said that we can do greater works than He did and that He will do whatever we ask in His Name.

  • What reasons can you think of that leaders might not choose to delegate authority?

    7 Reasons Some Leaders Dump Delegation

    These could have a lot to do with stalled growth and low team morale.

  • A 'What's in it for me?' mentality could bring your church down.

    The Mentality That May Be Killing Your Church

    And we wonder why so many congregations are stagnated, plateaued or declining.

  • These seven responses can get you on the right track.

    Responding Like Jesus When Your Church Kicks You Out

    It's a pain that many in the ministry have felt at least once and maybe more.

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders