I recently led a trip to Boston with some of my youth and these were some of my reflections that I thought particularly applied to our conversation here at pomoyogo. Enjoy!
Krista Tippett, host of “On Being” on NPR, shares some great thoughts on The Huffington Post on the importance of listening. Which makes me consider that perhaps one of the primary ways to be a good evangelist is to become a good listener. What if the first step to sharing the Gospel was actually listening to the stories of others well? How does listening incorporate into your understanding of sharing the Gospel?
I greatly appreciated Driscoll’s thoughts that “non-Christians aren’t stupid, they’re blind.” However, I imagine if you told someone who wasn’t a Christian that they weren’t stupid, they were just blind, they might still be offended. It seems to me that most of us don’t do well with being told things about ourselves period. We tend to receive lessons better when we experience them than when they’re dictated to us. Too often, evangelism has sought to explicitly share the exact status of both those “in” and those “out”. But what if evangelism was more about sharing the story of where you’re at and how you’ve come to be there? What if it includes sharing God’s story…the grand narrative of what he’s been up to throughout history? But what if it could allow more space for individuals to come to their own realizations than forcing our knowledge on them? Thoughts, push back, reflection?
Mark Driscoll* share a perspective that is helpful to keep in mind while we’re approaching evangelism and the Gospel. What are your thoughts?
*Yes, I’m aware that Driscoll has said some foolish thinks recently (and, in my opinion, repeatedly). I don’t agree with him on everything (or most things usually). On the other hand, that describes just about anyone that’s every existed. We’ve all made a passel of mistakes and none of us agree with everyone else on everything. Which is why it’s so important to be able to include a variety of people in our conversations. So I post this because I see (to use some Quaker terminology) “that of Christ” in these comments by Driscoll.
Dallas Willard shares some challenging thoughts on what the Gospel is from his perspective. Do you agree/disagree? Why?
Scot McKnight offers this interesting question along with a revamped answer of what exactly the Gospel is. Add your comments here to start a discussion.
(thanks Matt Hunter for the link)
Now that we’ve got the lay of the land established (project outline, ground rules, Christian conversations), the question becomes where to really begin the conversation. Which is actually just the place to start…
When we approach the Gospel, where do we begin? There are actually two starting points that we have to wrestle with here. First would be where we begin with the people we’re sharing with. Basically, what role does relationship play? Second, where do begin in actually sharing? Assuming you’ve reached whatever relational level you respond to our first question with, what do you start your sharing with? Romans? The Gospels? Genesis 3 or Genesis 1? Why?
I have a variety of thoughts on this…on whether or not I actually think of things this linearly, on relational importance, on where to start with the Scriptures. But before I get into those, I’d love to hear some of your thoughts. So I turn the conversation over to you…
In my previous post, it could be insinuated that I indicated that there could be disagreement over the Gospel, while everyone in the conversation stays safely within the realm of Christianity. Some may contend that the Gospel is the very core of Christianity and so to disagree over what constitutes the Gospel actually is to decide who is in and out of the camp of Christianity.
With this in mind, a brief conversation on different kinds of Christian conversation could be helpful. There are three main categories of Christian beliefs: dogma, doctrine, and adiaphora. Dogma are the absolute essentials of salvation. Doctrine are areas that we spar over and believe are critical to our theology and practice, but where we also could acknowledge there are differences of understanding about God’s call. Adiaphora are preferences we hold while realizing they are more trivial (though still are often loudly argued about). Continue reading