Skip to main content

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?

Comments

  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.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is awesome.

    Where does the global television campaign fit in?

    ReplyDelete
  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?

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

    Girard?

    ReplyDelete
  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

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Addictive Power of End Times Speculation

The mighty Rhett Snell has picked up his blog again (I wonder how long he'll last this time), check out his theory on why people get so into annoyingly unbiblical end times nonsense.

I think that where codes-and-calendars end times theology is dangerous, is that it can give a sense of false growth. We read a theory online, or hear it from some bible teacher, and we come to think that we have mastered an area of our faith. A bit like levelling up in a computer game, or Popeye after he’s eaten some spinach. At worst, we begin to believe that we’ve taken a step that other Christians have not; that we’ve entered an elite class of Christianity.

The false link between suicide and mental illness

One characteristic of human society is the tendency to keep doing something over and over again despite it not working. One example would be our approach to incarcerating criminals to punish them instead of rehabilitating them, compounding their trauma and making it harder for them to live productive law-abiding lives when they get out. But this is the "common-sense" approach, the intuitive human response to the failings of others, punish them and they wont dare do it again. It has never worked, ever, but let's keep doing it. Secular society is screwed because it cannot comprehend that its vision is blurred by sin and therefore knee-jerk, common sense solutions are usually destructive and counter-productive.

So it is with our response to suicide. To kill yourself must be the response of the weak minded and sick - so the thinking goes - so to combat rising suicide we treat individuals medically. Yet suicide is a perfectly rational response to a world as broken as ours and…

Wars and Rumours of Wars

I write in the morning after the USA 2016 Elections, which featured the historic election of Donald Trump. Apart from my personal interested as a resident of planet Earth at this time, it is interesting to note some of the apocalyptic language emerging in discussions of what this means. Even archaeologists are turning to the medium of prophecy. Hear the word of Tobias Stone,
So I feel it’s all inevitable. I don’t know what it will be, but we are entering a bad phase. It will be unpleasant for those living through it, maybe even will unravel into being hellish and beyond imagination. Humans will come out the other side, recover and move on.  Stone suggests that future historians will be able to draw clear lines from Brexit to Trump to the 3rd World War, or something equally bad. Mind you, just because historians can draw those lines doesn't mean they are here.

Then there is the word of Thom Hartman who is more interested in the domestic fallout than the fallout shelter. 
The last …