Saturday, March 11, 2006

Judgment Evangelism

I read this statement by Brian McLaren over at postmodern breakfast food: "We’ve created an environment where the only way Christians can relate to others is to tell them 'You’re going to burn in hell.' Think about that."

Ouch!

4 comments:

Gaddabout said...

Does this guy just criticize, or does he bring an alternative to the table? I read statements like this and think, "Yes, that turned me off, too. But what does the critic suggest as a better way to deliver the Gospel?"

Of course, it's a gross exaggeration, but I'll leave the rest of my opinions aside for now so you can educate me on McLaren's evangelizing techniques.

Pastor Rod said...

"What does the critic suggest as a better way to deliver the Gospel?"

That is the question, and one that must continually be asked.

I don't necessarily need McLaren to tell me how to do evangelism. But I see value in looking at the transaction from the perspective of the "evangelee."

Gaddabout said...

That is the question, and one that must continually be asked.

Great question that begs some answers. I believe it's always the obligation of the critic to provide some. I am not looking for a fight when I say your answer is aggravating. There must be an answer to the question or we must concede the ministry of Jesus has ceased. We were never given break time to game plan this stuff. (John 4:35; 2 Cor. 6:2) Furthermore, I am forced to assume McLaren thinks the power of the Gospel is somehow in the methodology. That's patently untrue. (Phil. 2:13; Acts 4:12; Hebrews 7:25) The power of the Gospel is the power of God's saving grace. He saves, we serve.

I would like to point that, although the delivery is uncouth, the phrase "turn or burn" remains a Biblically true phrase. I would say it differently, but the message remains the same. Personally, I'd like to emphsize the benefits of making the right choice, not the consequences of making the wrong one, but I still feel obligated to mention both.

I don't necessarily need McLaren to tell me how to do evangelism. But I see value in looking at the transaction from the perspective of the "evangelee."

The Mars Hill sermon is a great example of this approach, but I do not think Paul put much concern into whether he was offending people. He knew he would be. The point, I think, is Paul preached the Gospel, relying on God to empower his words. God was the power behind that sermon. Paul's methodology was not. I would hope people such as McLaren would get around to doing that work on occasion, too.

Pastor Rod said...

Gaddabout,

First, let me explain to you the primary purpose for this blog. I set it up so that our congregation could work its way through some of these issues. You are more than welcome to participate in this discussion, but I just want you to understand that it is not the intellectual free-for-all that most blogs are.

You are right about that we cannot rest until we get answers to this question.

I would disagree that Paul did not "put much concern into whether he was offending people." He was very careful not to offend people unnecessarily.

Sure, the gospel in its very essence is offensive. But remember that it is supposed to be "good news."

We'll keep working on this over the next few days.