Misunderstanding Evangelism

Here is part of a post titled “What Am I Missing” that was posted on internetmonk.com

In too many evangelical services the Gospel has gone missing. It is not found in the songs or the message. It is not part of the evangelical form of passing the peace. (“Take a moment to greet someone around you! Get to know someone new!”) It is not found in Scripture reading, for most evangelical services eschew formal Scripture reading because (and I’m being very serious here) it doesn’t “test well.” So the Gospel—the one thing that makes evangelicals evangelicals—is no where to be found in many evangelical services.

I’m sure there are many explanations, but I want to offer one that frankly frightens me. I believe we no longer include the Gospel in our services because we no longer believe it. We no longer are a people who say, “We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God, but thanks be to God in Jesus Christ, salvation, free and open to all, is available to all.” We are now a people who proclaim, “I am becoming all that I have been designed to be. I have a purpose and a destiny.”

I understand where the writer is coming from, even if I disagree with them in areas.  In many churches, there is a complete lack of God as people are looking towards the next feel good moment as they pursue a sensual spirituality that tries to mask itself with the mention of God and Jesus.

It frustrates me to see people spinning their wheels trying to follow the church fads that spring up in order to keep their religion new and exciting to them.  I refer to it as a religion as I honestly think most of them are missing the relationship aspect of what makes a person a Christian.  This is not to say that people are not saved or following a false religion, but many are truly missing the boat with what is available.

I differ with the writer in that I do not think the Gospel needs to be preached every service.  I am sure I have said this before, but the church service is not the place we need to bring people to get them “saved”.  Church is for equipping the saints, but unfortunately we get lazy or just do not know how to share our faith so we point people to the Sunday service and hope that God finds them.  If this case with how your church is working, then the Gospel needs to be preached always.  The problem with this is that the saints are never being equipped and we are perpetuating a bigger problem.

When I say equipped, I mean that those who are saved need to understand what salvation actually did for them.  They need to know what it means to be saved and to be in Christ.  People need to understand that God does have a “purpose and destiny” for each of us, but it is not something that we will stumble into or that God will miraculous make happen while we continue are daily life thinking about how unworthy we are.

I honestly believe we are in a great period where the Reformation will continue on and we will move past the religion that has trapped us in our legalistic understanding of grace.  This is a time when people will mature and stop living in a state of trying not to sin but instead live a life dedicated towards God.  Not in being the perpetual penitent person but as a true child of God.

N.T. Wright: The Gospels Have Been Taken Too Lightly

Taken from The Christian Post. Valuable.

By Chris Strong | CP Guest Contributor

N.T. Wright stormed the gates of Calvin College in Michigan to deliver the message that the Gospels have been taken too lightly.

The renowned theologian was the final speaker of Calvin College’s annual January Series on Tuesday, and drew an overflowing crowd of 1,400 people.

“The upshot of the talk was to say that for too long Jesus’ life has been skipped. In terms of faith, we treat the Gospel stories too lightly,” Scott Hoezee, the director of the Center for Excellence in Preaching at Calvin College, told The Christian Post on Wednesday. “We cannot understand the Gospels overall arch and its details unless we understand that it’s a continuation of Israel’s story.”

Most of Wright’s talk was about his upcoming book, How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels. Western Christianity has squeezed between faith based on incarnation and the cross. Wright argues that the current understanding of Jesus is connected with what we, as individuals, know to be true about him.

“He conveyed a clear message and was very thorough and to the point,” Hoezee said, “Basically the Gospels work like a quadraphonic system where each speaker would play a different musical instrument, all turned up to hear the full volume of the Gospels.”

Wright compares the Gospels to that of listening to a symphony – no one Gospel can be turned down otherwise everything sounds unclear, according to The Grand Rapids Press.

Two Gospels have had the volume turned up way too loud, while the other two have been played too softly, according to Wright.

“Heard in full sound, the Gospels tell about the establishment of a theocracy, and portray what theocracy looks like with Jesus as king,” Wright states, according to The Grand Rapids Press. “The body of the texts – the parts between Jesus’ birth and death – present an entire agenda for renewed humanity.”

The question of Jesus’ divinity also surfaced as Wright compared Jesus to a social worker, one that is kind and caring to all he loves, saying that orthodox Christians don’t want Jesus to come with any baggage.

“While some who downplay Christ’s divinity have imagined Jesus as a great social worker ‘being kind to old ladies, small dogs and little children,’ orthodox Christianity has not wanted Jesus to have a political message,” Wright said.

“He overemphasized the fact that Jesus’ divinity, the way he lived his life comes into question, was it truly divine?” Hoezee told CP. “It’s hard to understand when the picture isn’t clear.”

Calvin College begins its annual Worship Symposium this week, marking their 25th Anniversary hosting the event that includes full worship services and over 150 international guests from 30 different countries, including N.T. Wright.