Thursday, May 9, 2013

What if?

I've been thinking about evangelism a lot since becoming a pastor again. My biggest struggle is the way we present "the gospel" to people. We have such an individualistic approach, and most evangelistic resources reinforce this. Central to almost all evangelism tools I have seen is a focus on the individual's sinfulness - most especially seen through a ludicrously comprehensive and airtight application of the 10 commandments (will I really go to hell for not keeping the Sabbath holy?). Firstly that hardly sets us up to understand a God of grace, but secondly it makes sin a problem of petty nit picking. What if instead of starting with all the little things that you have done wrong (that mean a 100% pure God will throw you into hell even though he loves you really) we started with that fact that our world desperately needs a saviour. What if instead of starting with the little things I have done we start with human trafficking, globalised greed and injustice, violence against women and children, war and gross inequality? What if we presented people with a saviour of the world instead of a God who can't handle my petty lapses? What if sin was a global issue and not a primarily personal one? What if the challenge to repent and believe was not first about getting our ticket to heaven but about joining in Jesus' subversive movement to destroy the works of evil?

What do you think would happen?


  1. Isn't this (more or less, and perhaps less rather than more - if you see what I mean) what Alpha seeks to do?

    Admittedly still (since it is a 'modern' Western tool it is still rather individualistic but (having only seen the training not the actual sessions) it did seem more focused on God's love and power to restore...

    To return to your question, certainly such an approach would appeal to 'thinkers', BUT would the church's performance actually have to start to match such rhetoric... I'm thinking of our recent great job of arguing for marriage by condemning homosexuality as a particularly (perhaps uniquely) horrid sin.

  2. This is awesome.

    Where does the global television campaign fit in?

  3. The joys of having ones Bible on a IPad.....

    Words containing the three letters S E X.. 75
    Appearances of the word JUSTICE 128
    Ditto MERCY 123
    Ditto LOVE 681

    Meaningless meaningless all is meaningless, or an insight into God's priorities?

  4. what if atonement was about exposing a fundamental (global) problem with human religion and cultural practice?


  5. Tim, the churches performance will always fall short of the ideal, but we need to recognise it performance is also a direct result of its explicit and implicit theologies.
    Rhett, yes it is coming i am just waiting for your generous donation to get us started! ;-)
    Andy, arguments from word counts can be misleading, but no one would argue that sexual behaviour is the chief concern of scripture, a certain sexual ethic is however the assumption of scripture and is implicit in in many more parts than it is explicit.
    Phil, welcome to the blog, i think you missed the point of my post. Although Girard is well worth discussion I'm not sure he will be much help to me in making the presentation of my faith more winsome!

    thanks all for your comments