Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More on Evangelism

What does it look like, and what does it mean to share the news that God has reconciled the world to himself through Jesus Christ? What do we say, and what do we seek to look like when we proclaim with our lips as well as our lives that Jesus is King? What are the good and bad ways of understanding truth as an experience?

Much of what passes for ‘evangelism’ at the present time assumes that persons should place high value on personal decisions, are minimally influenced by their social relationships, and if a foundationalist argument for the existence of a personal god can be made to “make sense,” people will “accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and savior.” If you’ve met me, you know I don’t have a lot of use for that. What is the goal of such modernist evangelism? What version of the Jesus story is put on offer? What are the philosophical foundations that such evangelists want people to believe, and what do they want their converts to do? Can any part of it be good?

I think any post-modern evangelism that is consistent with the biblical witness and the life to which God calls the church is going to present itself as an invitation to the Kingdom living that the Church is actually embodying: in essence, that some of the benefits of God’s ultimate salvation is being experienced and shared by the Church here and now, and that in friendship with the Church, individuals can see the goodness of life with Jesus in his Church.

I’m going to talk about God’s mission for his world, and how the Church fits into that. Lots of you are familiar with how this works already.

I also believe that when the Church understands that the Church is the most important medium for the Gospel message, it will place a higher value on the spiritual formation of its members as part of its commitment to evangelism.

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