20pluscommunitydigestion

There is a great difference in excellency, usefulness, and comfort between people of clear, digested knowledge, and confused, undigested apprehensions. -Richard Baxter

Perfect love casts out all fear. . . of evangelism

Mark Dever has just released a book entitled The Gospel and Personal Evangelism. He’s the pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist in D.C.

In his chapter entitled Why Don’t We Evangelize? he speaks candidly about his own conflictedness in being more forthright with the Gospel, but he also gets at the heart of perhaps why we–why I–don’t learn how to explain the Gospel in this postmodern setting: it’s due to a lack of love. If we loved them, we’d be willing to stumble over sentences, we’d be willing to acknowledge ignorance on some issues for which we don’t have answers, we’d be willing to risk taking the relationship in a different direction than just the comfortable acquaintance we’ve come to appreciate.

Here’s an excerpt

Love. We are called to love others. We share the gospel because we love people. And we don’t share the gospel because we don’t love people. Instead, we wrongly fear them. We don’t want to cause awkwardness. We want their respect, and after all, we figure, if we try to share the gospel with them, we’ll look foolish! And so we are quiet. We protect our pride at the cost of their souls. In the name of not wanting to look weird, we are content to be complicit in their being lost. As one friend said, “I don’t want to be the stereotypical Christian on a plane.”
That attitude too often characterizes me. My heart is cold to other people. I have a distorted self-love and a deficient love for others. And just to drive this home, as I’ve been writing this, a non-Christian friend called and wanted to talk to me. We chatted for about thirty minutes, the whole time during which I was impatient to get back to writing this book on evangelism! Aargh! Wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of indifference? If we would evangelize more, we must love people more.

If you find yourself called on the carpet here, do first what Dever a little earlier in this chapter suggests: pray. Pray for opportunities. Pray for personal preparation. Pray for courage. And then duck. It’s funny how when you ask, things happen. My wife and I have asked in recent months and we got an opportunity not too long ago in an unexpected setting. Right now, I’m praying this for you. They may, as the Evangelism Explosion folks coined the category, “run like hell.” But I think if you are humble, gentle, and respectful in your inquiry into their take on the Gospel, and simple and straightforward in your explanation of it, you will depart from that conversation without regret.

or sometimes, we need to laugh at our ridiculous excuses portrayed in a satirical fashion:

and if you’re still here, I wonder what you think about this very succinct explanation of the Gospel? Click on the icon and have a look at its brief presentation.

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2 Comments»

[…] phrase that led them here was “I don’t want to evangelize!”) Google leads them to this post most […]

  simplest terms, fullest sense « PCPC Japan Team 2008 wrote @

[…] the search phrase that led them here was “I don’t want to evangelize!”) Google leads them to this post most […]


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