Proclaiming the Gospel Today | A Different Approach
Proclaiming the Gospel today, requires a different approach than in Paul’s day. Seems to me. Why? Two thousand years of people all over the world, hearing about Christians and Christianity, with many negative opinions formed about us, most with justification. What worked for Paul, doesn’t work today, with most audiences. If Paul were here today, I think he would understand his audience of pre-believers, just like he did in Athens.
Proclaiming the Gospel today in a skeptical world, needs to be done in the context of individual relationships, so pre-believers can hear from a believer they have come to know and trust, how Jesus is impacting the life of the believer, setting the believer free, from the worst aspect of the human condition: the notion that independency is desirable, and dependency, anathema.
But if believers are not experiencing Jesus-dependency, what do we really have to say to pre-believers? What hope can we give them? We are resounding gongs, clanging cymbals. So our biggest need, is a changed us. Our message will flow naturally, effortlessly, from a changed us. The hindrance to pre-believers embracing Jesus, has more to do with us, than them. And most pre-believers don’t know us that well: don’t know our struggles to rest in Jesus, our failures in following Him. And frequently, it’s because we don’t know ourselves very well, living in denial of how pathetic we really are, ashamed to admit to ourselves, much less other believers, much less pre-believers, the truth about ourselves. He who has a sense of having been forgiven only a little, loves Jesus and others, only a little.
The nicest, sweetest, kindest thing He ever does for us, is to freshly convict us of our sin, especially the sin of independence, so we are undone afresh, dead to our idols/agendas afresh, in love with Jesus afresh, experiencing afresh the peace that is superior to understanding, and a joy unspeakable, so we are in a position to love others, especially the hard to love: those with values most different from our own.