June 11, 2010
Cop out.<br><br>The gospel is, first of all, a message. Good news. You can't share a message without using words.<br><br>Of course we should live good lives. Of course we should care for others. But these things are not evangelism.
I vote cop out. Evangelism and disciple making is nothing but an intentional purposeful mission, and can treated as nothing less.<br><br>I am of course still learning what that looks like in a practical sense. But it is, in part, apathetic, lackadaisical, attitudes such as "I don't need to" that leads non-believers to think Christians just don't care. And if that's the attitude we project, well then, they are right in saying so.
It's not a cop-out, but it *is* a misunderstanding of what evangelism. Some are gifted in teaching through words. Others are gifted in other areas. Just like the body needs all parts, the body of Christ needs all these kind of gifts. When you work for peace and social change, or are a good friend or parent or child, or whatever you do that is helping yourself and others be fully human in the way God intended -- that is evangelism because it teaches the good news of Christ. Perhaps not in words, but I think it's still evangelism.<br><br>It is true that we don't have to change anyone in the sense that I think is implied by that statement - tell them a truth, and have them change their actions to reflect that truth. But we are called to live in the proper way, and that will naturally lead some people to change.
It is impossible to for us to convince anyone. Thatâ€™s the Holy Spiritâ€™s job. He is the author and finisher of our faith. But, we can make the best case possible. Paul â€œalmost persuaded Agrippaâ€. We can be â€œall things to all people that we might win someâ€. We donâ€™t know who the Lord will regenerate but we know that he uses evangelism to win the lost. Paul urged Timothy to â€œdo the work of an evangelistâ€. <br><br>So, we can make ourselves the sharpest tool in the barn, the cleanest vessel fit for the masterâ€™s use and always be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within us. With luck, God may even allow us to be the mid-wife at the birthing. And of course, we canâ€™t change anyone, as many wives and husbands have found out. Without a doubt that is the Holy Spiritâ€™s job as well.<br><br>Giving a reason for the hope that lies within us, going into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature, going out to the highways and by ways and compelling them to come in is everyoneâ€™s job. There are just some that appear to be more gifted than others at evangelism. The alleged words of St. Francis, â€œPreach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words?â€ is a the cop out. Paul says in Romans, â€œEveryone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, â€œHow beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!â€
i have an extremely hard time believing an individual who honestly follows Christ to the best of his ability won't change people's minds or convince them there is a God who changes lives. we constantly debate this intentionality issue within evangelism -- do i intentionally speak to people about God or just let them see my life? my answer: it doesn't matter, or at least it's not of first (or greatest) importance.<br><br>if we're not truly in love with God, being transformed by his Spirit, practicing obedience to his commands, and serving others, disciples will not be made... regardless of whether or not we try to convince others of God's supremacy, love, or forgiveness. good trees and vines produce good fruits, period. it's a natural outcome.<br><br>i'm not saying these words aren't being used as a cop-out. i'm merely suggesting this individual not "being intentional" by asking people to study with him is not the reason he's failing to make disciples.<br><br>
Cop Out. Our 'Deliberate' lifestyle is an act of the will to follow Jesus Christ but we know when we are born of The Spirit that we can only be Christlike as we are filled with His Spirit. The command of Jesus was for us to GO into all the world & PREACH the Gospel, whether people are convinced or changed is not our job-- that's God's job.
Regardless of how we feel, or whether or not we like evangelizing, we are called and instructed to do so. This is the problem with modern day American evangelism. We like Christ, we like some of his ideas, but we filter the ones we are not comfortable with. A denying of ourselves to me means doing what God wants us to do and to put our perspective aside to accomplish it.
GOOOD MORNING ALL AND GOD BLESS ALL OK HERE WE GO I FEEL LIKE THIS I'M TRULY A BELIEVE OF GOD I NO THAT GOD SAY FAIL NOT TO ASSEBLE YOUR SELF AMONG THE SAIT EVEN THROW I DO NOT ATTEND CHRUCH LIKE I WOULD LIKE TOO BECAUSE OF THE LACK OF TRANSPORTATION CAUSE I LIVE SO FAR BUT AT ANY RATE I BELIEVE THAT THE LIFE THAT WE LIVE WILL SPEAK FOR US AND I NEVER READ ANYTHING IN THE WORD OF GOD ABOUT A EVANGRLISM ALTHOUGH GOD SAID THAT IT WOULD BE PEOPLE THAT COME FORTH AND SAY THAT THEY ARE OF GOD AND HE ALSO STATE TO BEWARE OF FALSE PROFIT I WOULD SAY LIVE YOU LIFE ACCORDING TO GOD WORDS AS PEOPLE WILL SEE IT SO THAT YOUR LIGHT MAY SHINE AND THAT THEY WILL WANT WHAT YOU HAVE AND THAT MY DEAR IS JESUS. BE BLESSED ALL IN JESUS NAME AMEN.
I'm not sure.<br><br>I think there can be something attractive in this day and age about a lifestyle that truly follows Christ - casting off and resisting the poisonous and anti-Christ ideologies of consumerism, greed, perpetual war, redemptive violence and selfishness, and working to serve and liberate the hungry, the naked, the sick, the oppressed, and all others cast aside by these sinful and selfish ideologies. I think that if Christians in America gave people a true alternative to the empty ways of the world, many would embrace it, and a better world would result - particularly in this day and age as we see the systems built on these ideologies collapsing all around us, resulting in greater poverty, greater hopelessness, greater oppression, and unprecedented environmental destruction. Preaching probably wouldn't be necessary; people would see Christians making a difference in the world for good and flock to us.<br><br>However, the "lifestyle evangelism" to which I think the initial comment is referring doesn't seem to indicate that. I think the "lifestyle evangelism" of the contemporary American evangelical - a "lifestyle evangelism" that continues to buy into fundamentally sinful ways of thinking and being - in fact undermines the message of Christ rather than reinforcing it.<br><br>In the form of evangelism to which I think the initial comment refers, words probably ARE necessary, in order to reconcile the message of Jesus Christ with the lifestyle. The words are needed to rationalize the difference between Jesus Christ, who loved and served the poor and oppressed while telling the self-righteous religious leaders and the faces of empire exactly where to stick it, with a lifestyle that keeps the poor and oppressed down (through non-resistance if not through overt acts of consumption and support) while siding with self-righteous religious leaders (like Falwell, Parsley, Hagee, et al.) and the ideologies of imperial domination.
James, there really are a few groups that are living just like what you describe. Groups that cast off and resist the poisonous ideologies of consumerism, greed, perpetual war, redemptive violence and selfishness, and work to serve and liberate the hungry, the naked, the sick, the oppressed, and all others cast aside by these sinful and selfish ideologies. Groups where the wealth is distributed equally, where health care and all the necessities of life are free. Groups that tell the faces of empire exactly where to stick it. That would be Venezuela and Cuba. I am not criticizing, I just think they better represent the utopian socialist ideal you seem to be looking for. <br><br>But why is it the nations of the world are not embracing those visionary utopias? In fact, people are desperately trying to escape them. I donâ€™t believe we are ever going to legislate or govern our way to utopia, these workerâ€™s paradises fail to acknowledge manâ€™s fallen state and inevitably dissolve into violence and control issues. <br><br>What is it that attracted 3000 to the gospel in Peterâ€™s first sermon? What was it that attracted 5000 to the gospel in his second sermon? What was it that drew such crowds to Phillipâ€™s preaching? At the beginning of the 20th century Africa had an estimated 10 million Christians on the continent. What is it that caused the explosive growth to 330 million in 100 years? I am struggling with these issues as well. I think I have some answers but I donâ€™t think they are the popular ones in 21st century western evangelicalism.
I don't understand how you could go through the life-transforming encounter to accept and live in Christ and not want to share it.<br> <br>Scripture shows that we are called to share the Good News. John 14:21 says "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me". Mark 16:15 says "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation". If we love Jesus, we'll obey him. If we obey him, we'll preach the good news. We can pray about when, where and how to share the good news, and get direction from the Spirit.<br><br>I think the main problem is that many want to "follow" Jesus and receive his blessings, but are not willing to make him Lord of their life. If He is Lord, we don't have the choice to say no to his commands.
Rickd: I generally agree with your commentary. Add the group Gaviotas in Colombia to your list of utopias. Unlike Cuba and Venezuela, they are a privatized, secular group, led mostly by scientists,who organized in the 1970's as an alternative to corrupt governments and druglords and revolutionaries. As of yet, no dissolution into violence or control issues, as in those govts. or the People's Temple in 1979.<br> Utopias aside, the western world, as well as mankind in general fails to acknowledge man's fallen state and estate, and all dissolve into self-centered economics, whether capitalistic or socialistic, let alone the darker issues of control and violence. I think the "lifestyle evangelism" resembles cop-out in that it is perhaps reactionary against the general evangelical mutual embrace with conservatism. I think that there is a need to establish an alternative identity, if you will, that allows such a group to be Christian, but not immediately tagged as wealthy white conservative Republican; such individuals are from a larger Christian community that aren't necessarily operating under evangelistic tents, but via social gospel means. How do they give voice to their faith if not by how they live?<br>A great example on Chicago's south side: there's a group currently discussing a reversal of the '70's white flight to the suburbs---how can we better work with the current mission within the inner city, if not alongside of the neighborhood residents? Without gentrification, without artificiality or fortress mentality, can a missional group of white and black Christians committed to transformation, live in unity as a presence of God's peace in a neighborhood? Frankly, to me that would take more courage than to preach on the street corner.
It has been my experience that most people in this world think that they are good people...that they come from a good tribe/nation/family...that if they just continue doing good and being the best [insert your choice here] that they can be, God will be merciful and/or pleased somehow...that they have been the ones sinned against but surely not the sinners themselves. <br>For the above reasons, words are necessary to communicate the truths of the Bible as well as demonstrative actions. <br>Warren Wiersbe put it this way: Truth without love is brutality. Love without truth is hypocrisy.
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