Archives For Evangelism

There are many factors that make evangelism difficult. There is the internal spiritual alienation from God that renders the unbeliever unimpressed by God and therefore unresponsive to him in worship (Col. 1:21; 2 Cor. 4:4-6). Then there is the fog of worldliness that reinforces the heart’s unsubmissiveness to God and his Word (1 Jn. 2:16-17). We see this with the ongoing marketing of personal autonomy, self-discovery, and satisfaction in created things.

But there is another contributor to the fog that is very unhelpful. I am talking about the authority of personal experience. Today our personal experience and personal interpretation of that experience is the unquestionable authority that all must submit to.

Earlier this week I was talking to a number of unbelievers about Jesus. In the midst of the conversation one told me that he can see the future. He said that he has, on a few occasions, been able to see what was going to happen. He pointed to his buddy for confirmation and, as you’d expect, got the requisite head nod. I know that in this conversation I cannot slash the tires of his experience. If I even pull out the knife of reason or testing he will shut me down. Personal experience and our interpretation of it is the authority. We might call it Sola Experiencia. 

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Paul rejoiced whenever Christ was preached (Phil. 1:15-18) and I try to do the same. Paul also talked about proclaiming Christ with wisdom and making the most of our times with the unbelieving world around us–even having grace dripping from our lips (Col. 1:28-29; Col. 4:5-6). Therefore, I can rejoice but also long for some evangelists to switch up their game a bit to be a more considerate and faithful.

Here are four evangelists that need to retire. If only they were just caricatures.

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When you read the Bible it is clear that two things are true: a) God is sovereign. b) Man is responsible for his actions. What becomes tricky is the harmonization of these twin truths. One person might say, “If God is sovereign then he cannot hold people responsible.” Another would say, “If man has responsibility to make the right decision, God cannot be sovereign.” Doubtless you have heard and even felt this tension.

The biblical category where this tension tends to get the most attention is the area of Evangelism. How does the truth of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility mesh together in terms of evangelism?

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Why don’t people heartily engage in mission?

This is not a new question and I won’t propose any new answers. However, the question is perennially important to consider and answer. When I say “mission” I mean the mission of the church, specifically, the making and training of disciples (Mt. 28.19–21).

THE PROBLEM

Why is there disengagement with and ambivalence towards mission?

  • Let me give you a word: selfishness.
  • Let me give you a verse: 3rd John vv.9–10.

John writes 3rd John to commend the church towards a gospel-driven hospitality. A “gospel-tality” if you will. He does this by highlighting the faithfulness of Gaius and Demetrius in contrast to the mission-sabotaging rebellion of Diotrephes.

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I enjoyed this video from David Platt about how to practically make disciples on a day to day basis.

I have often marveled at how much and how light the Apostle Paul traveled. As you read the book of Acts and the Epistles you get a quick sense of how much ground the guy covered. He was in and out of countries, cities, and towns. He shuffled through different cultural contexts with their variant practices of worship. You see him in synagogues, in the market place and in the Areopagus (Acts 17). At the same time, he traveled light. He had one satchel and it was filled with gospel.

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Rick Warren is a masterful communicator. So, what is he endeavoring to communicate with his announcement that they are canceling the services at Saddleback Church this weekend so they can serve their neighbors?

According to The Christian Post:

“Good Neighbor Weekend” has been enthusiastically received by the majority of the 20,000 members at Saddleback Church in Orange County. Many have already signed-up online for acts of kindness, according to church officials.

Volunteer opportunities suggested and organized by church members include visiting severely disabled children in hospitals, serving breakfast to homeless and families living in motels, and helping families having members in the military stationed away from home with house chores.

Additionally, many more churchgoers will be reaching out to their neighbors in ways they’ve conceived themselves.

Did you catch that number? 20,000 people! That’s a lot of people.

Let’s think about this then in terms of pros and cons (concerns).

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