Well, I know it sounds a little odd, but consider a conversation I had Sunday after church with a visiting couple. They had visited another bible-believing church near their home, but found that the church was against ‘evangelism’…just for ‘friendship evangelism’. I really didn’t know that idea was still around, but it is very scary talking to others about our faith. We don’t want to offend, but we do want to be faithful to tell them what we care about…and we want to be faithful to the Lord’s directive to ‘go…’.
I’ve been in both ditches. I have taught and done street evangelism…and…I have taught and done ‘friendship’ evangelism. The truth is that there is another option. Most of problems arise from TRYING to CONVERT people. At some level or another we all must recognize some role of freedom and will in the matter. Regardless of your extreme views of Calvinism or Arminianism…it is still an individual thing for the person to come to faith in Christ and His work for his eternal destiny.
A phrase we started using a few years ago is ‘we’re concerned about contacts not converts’. Of course, we all hope people will embrace Christ; but really, it’s really only our role to clearly and graciously share the message. Focusing on converting others invites us toward a hard-sales approach. Focus on friendship invites us to (often) never get around to the subject.
Why not learn a clear way to explain your own faith and just explain it?— truly, indeed, aren’t the results God’s business and the individual’s concern? Can’t we share our heart while respecting their autonomy? This includes NOT SHARING if they don’t want to hear it (of course)!
I’ve notice in Uganda was see thousands each summer put their faith in Christ. Those who go seem to think it is about how ‘open the people are’–maybe. All I know, is that we can’t compare America to Uganda until we do in America what we do in Uganda.
P.S. My friend Larry Moyer has some excellent material with this line of thinking at www.evantell.org
I’ve re-thought this entire issue and want to propose that “Faith Guarantees Works” is only valid as a hypothetical construct. In other words, I don’t think practically we can look at anyone’s works and tell anything about their own eternal destiny. I’ll walk through the logic and the scripture, but what do you think? Why is it important to hold onto this theological assumption? What happens if works isn’t connected to faith? Where is the harm? What could be the good?
Here’s an article from Leadership on my book on Preaching without notes or manuscript. Though especially for Church leaders, this information is helpful for anyone who want to become more effective as a public speaker.
Click here for Brian Larson’s Article in LEADERSHIP JOURNAL:
PREACHING ON MY FEET
Ken Wilson posted these kind words on Amazon about Preaching on Your Feet…it really expresses my experience well:
I picked up this book at the last conference. Being a methodical type theologian, I had always memorized my sermons. After reading this book, I changed my presentation – but not my exacting exegesis. The response of the congregation has been impressive. The expressive dynamic of “real-time” interaction connected with them just as Fred explained. It could be compared to listening to a sermon on video versus interacting live. Same content – different experience level. Yes, I do leave out a minor point here and there that I had meant to cover; but, the results in effectively communicating God’s truth are well worth it. -Dr. Ken Wilson
What questions could I answer or explain about this this approach?
Click Here to Order Preaching On Your Feet
I gave up on Blogspot (it wouldn’t let me post comments…only initial posts: see http://fredlybrand.blogspot.com/), so I’m reloading my last question. I will be in the mountains with my sons until Thursday, so have at it!
My bottom line is that one can walk according to the flesh (2 Cor 10:2; Gal 5), and though one is a true brother in Christ, can live as mere men (1 Cor 3:1-4). ‘Can’ does not me ‘will or should’—so, I say carnality is simply the reality that Christians can sin; and that for extended periods of time. Some deny even this…but I think most who bray at ‘carnality’ or worried that it gives one freedom to sin / ignore God / assume they are in good standing, etc. The REAL debate is actually around two things:
1. Can a Christian resist the Spirit and live ‘according to the flesh’ indefinitely (i.e. doesn’t the Spirit have to change their life)?
2. How long can a Christian sin before it proves he isn’t really a Christian?
So, there you go…if you don’t like my formulation of the question, then help me out!. Again, I’ll be gone for a few days…so be kind!!!
Grace and Peace,