Friday, February 26, 2010

Warning: Evangelistic Message

Just been having a chat about how certain churches tend to operate on the assumption that anything that grows the church must be good and that even the gospel might need changing if it doesn't result in church growth.  It reminded me how I once challenged an evangelistic group that were visiting my university in the UK.  I asked them why their message was all about God as your best friend and going to heaven when you die, and had nothing about sacrifice, the cross, and the commitment that Christ asks from us.  The reply I got was instructive: "well who would want to become a Christian then?"  It is worth noting that this reply wasn't delivered with any trace of irony or sarcasm.

So this would be a good point to demonstrate how far from the NT such an attitude is, but that will have to wait for another day.  The new academic year is beggining and I need to make this quick.  Here is my alternative evangelistic message, and maybe it explains why I am not a very good evangelist . . . i'm just too honest!

*Message begins*

Repent and believe, the kingdom is at hand.  It's gonna cost you big.  Don't take this on lightly, don't rush into this decision.  Because pretty soon you are going to have to make some huge sacrifices and I want you to be certain that you really want to do this. 

Christianity does not give you all the answers, in fact it will likely give you far more questions to worry about than you had in your previously apathetic state.  Christianity does not solve all your problems, in fact it will show you problems that you were previously oblivious too.  Christianity will complicate your life horrendously.  All those people you are used to ignoring and not caring about, if you become a Christian you will have to love them all unconditionally! 

As a Christian you will need to commit to sharing your life and resources with people who you would never otherwise have anything to do with.  Not only that but most of the rest of the world will not understand your basic motivations, constantly misrepresent you and assume the worst about you because of your affiliation.  Even in the group of people you hang out with to encourgae each other in this new lifestyle their will be people who try to hurt and discourage you and who will misunderstand you at every opportunity. 

Not only so.  This decision means that you accept as Lord a person whose greatest acheivement was dying a horrible and unjust death for the sake of others, this person does not share your concern for your personal and financial well being but is obsessed by building a kingdom that has nothing to do with all the idolatrous pleasures you currently delight in and will have huge difficulty in letting go of.  Instead this kingdom's ideal is that of sacrificial love and you can expect many opportunities to express it. 

However, I should probably say that knowing this person (their name is Jesus) makes all of the above somehow worth while and even fills life with a joy and grace that transcends my pathetic desires and frustrations and links me tangibly to the life of eternity. 

So . . . Anyone interested?

*Message Ends*

3 comments:

  1. I totally agree with what you say above and I am certainly in theological opposition to any form of prosperity Gospel.

    I remember a time, though, when I was so beaten down by the church, had heard so many times that I was a worthless sinner headed for hell who God could not possibly love that I really needed to hear that God loved me.

    So, it is a balance, I think. Agape love is somehow at the center of things. Agape love calls forth sacrifice. Not sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice but sacrifice which puts the needs of others before my own wants. And sacrifice for the sake of righteousness and truth.

    My church of origin practically taught something along the lines of "If you want to be a teacher/doctor/missionary and you think you'd be fulfilled and enjoy this work, then you'd better choose something else that will make you miserable because God requires sacrifice, not enjoyment." I'm not convinced of that.

    Jesus knew what God required of him and he sacrificed everything for God's will. In meantime, he was also accused of being a glutton and a drunkard.

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  2. Absolutely!, but as i hope my message made clear, it isn;t about being miserable but recognising the cost. all the best things in life require sacrifice, but sacrifice can be a joyfull affair, if it is done for someone or something that you love. :-) Oh, and God does love you, lots!

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  3. it isn;t about being miserable but recognising the cost. all the best things in life require sacrifice, but sacrifice can be a joyfull affair, if it is done for someone or something that you love.

    Yep, I totally agree with that. I think that learning this may be something of a "conversion experience", though. Not a first-faith conversion experience, either.

    I'm babbling and can't really put this into words; that's usually the time to stop!

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