As a John Wimber-inspired charismatic, I am convinced that signs and wonders are wonderful for spreading the Gospel. It’s hard to convince people that God exist if they can’t see His power. Furthermore, as a Christian activist, I am convinced that love, servanthood and good deeds are wonderful tools for spreading the Gospel. It’s hard to convince people that God loves them if we don’t express love to them. And as an evangelical, I am convinced that preaching is a wonderful tool for spreading the Gospel. It’s hard to convince people that God can give them salvation if you don’t tell them.
In other words, I fully agree with these three schools of thought. However, I have met countless of times Christians who argue that one of these evangelism strategies is much better than the other two and must be prioritized.
I’ve listened to a charismatic preacher at a healing conference who basically said that the power of the Holy Spirit is the absolutely most vital in evangelism, more vital than doing good deeds.
I’ve talked with a deacon who argued that doing good deeds is much more important than actually using words, quoting S:t Francis famous words “Always spread the Gospel, and when necessary, use words” (although he actually never said that, but that’s another story).
Finally, I’ve debated with several Calvinists and Baptists who claim that preaching is the only thing that is necessary for evangelism, signs and wonders won’t change anything but are just a bonus if God wants them to occur.
But what does the Bible say? Let’s go to Romans 15:18-19:
For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God.
In other words, Paul’s strategy of evangelism is to combine word, deed and miracles. He isn’t arguing that one way is better than the other. We know that God confirms His word through signs and wonders (Acts 14:3). We know that people will praise our Father when we do good works (Mt 5:16). And we know that faith comes from preaching (Rom 10:17). If we combine these three, we will get some awesome evangelism.