According to the Christian tradition, souls have become separated from God through sin. Instead of eternal life in the bliss of God's presence and love they have become subject to judgement and death, many referring to this as being in the power of the Devil who has dominion over those who are in a state of sin. Because God still loves all people, despite their sinful nature, he took upon himself the punishment that was their due and paid the price for their sin through the sacrificial death of God in the person of His son Jesus Christ. Death and the Devil cannot have dominion over God and through the resurrection of Christ all who believe in Him and accept His sacrifice are saved as though they were indeed as sinless as Christ himself. It is the responsibility of every Christian to make known to others the possibility of their being saved from death through belief in Christ. It is clear that we are each responsible for assisting in the saving of the souls of those around us and the apparently exclusive stance of Christianity is in fact a manifestation of the love which Christians feel for their brothers and sisters who have not heard the Gospel - or "good news" - and the desire to assist in saving their souls. Unlike Cain who, to cover up his own sinfulness in murdering his brother, said "Am I my brother's keeper ?" the Christian says "I am my brother's keeper". Christ's last instruction to His followers was to "teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matthew XXVIII 19-20). Indeed, failure to attempt to save the souls of one's neighbours puts responsibility for their state at one's own door (St Paul).
Most recently, the revivalist tradition has been a strong emotional prosetylizer. Most often the audience has been the socially alienated poor and less educated masses. Modern sales methods within a highly organized campaign are used to present a simple, personal and pious religious message. The more institutional forms of evangelism focus on mass communication methods ([eg] television and mail order) and experiments in dialogue. Corporate Bible study and group dynamics are being tried. This approach is directed to social responsibility in addition to personal commitment. There are a series of steps recognized by evangelical institutions: (1) cultivating potential converts; (2) eliciting a commitment to Christ; (3) introducing the Christian way of life and enrolling in Church membership; and (4) assimilating into the Christian community.
But not all soul-saving techniques require great crowds, atmosphere and the assistance of the media. Small meetings at local churches, "guest services", home study groups, all can be used as evangelistic means. Even casual conversations at a bus stop, in a railway carriage, at a dinner party have been known to be the turning point in people's lives and Christians are encouraged, despite a natural shrinking, not to miss such opportunities to pass on the gospel message. Nor is the single occasion always all that is necessary. Even the most sudden conversion comes in a ground that may well have been unobtrusively prepared by a number of circumstances, so that what one person sows with no immediate result another may reap at a later date.
2. We earnestly exhort you, therefore, to labor with all solicitude for the salvation of those whom Providence has entrusted to your care, closely united to the Redeemer with whose strength we can do all things. How ardently We desire, O beloved sons, that you emulate those saints who in past times, by their great deeds, have shown what the might of Divine Grace can do in this world. May you one and all, in humility and sincerity, always be able to attribute to yourselves -- with your spiritual charges as witnesses -- the words of the Apostle, "But I will most gladly for my part, spend and be spent myself for your souls". Enlighten the minds, guide the consciences, comfort and sustain the souls who are struggling with doubt and groaning with sorrow. To these forms of apostolate, add also all those others which the needs of the times demand. But let it always be clear to everybody that the priest in all his activities seeks nothing beyond the good of souls, and looks toward no one but Christ to Whom he consecrates his energies and his whole self. (Papal Writings, Menti Nostrae, 23 September 1960).