Like just about everything, the prevalent style of evangelism is subject to fads and fashions of the day. Recent years has seen a big push for friendship evangelism, process evangelism, lifestyle evangelism. It takes time, and we speak loudest by the way we live.
The excellent sermon I heard this morning included the story of a missionary hospitalised in India. The old man in the next bed couldn't get himself to the toilet one night, so messed the bed - to be smacked by the staff the next morning, leaving him in tears. The following night our hero carried the old man and helped him sit over the hole which served as a toilet - with the consequence that in the days after, many patients and hospital staff asked him for the tracts he had previously been unsuccessfully trying to distribute. When a visiting evangelist spoke to the patients and staff, he discoverd that many had given thier lives to Jesus.
A great story - and the point drawn from it was that it was the selfless act of mercy and compassion rather than the testimony or carefully crafted Gospel presentation which led to the conversions.
But I want to object at this point. Doubtless the beautiful expression of the Christian faith being lived out touched people's hearts - but without the Gospel being explained to them, (in this instance, via aprinted tract) and a response invited, they would have had no opportunity of entering a life changing relationship with Jesus. The Gospel must be explained - and I fear we have either lost confidence in its abiliy to bring transformation, or we have lost our ability to succinctly and helpfully explain just why Jesus came to earth.
For a fuller explanation of this theme, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send you a copy.
Reflecting on 63 years
1 week ago