This Mystery

reflections on theology and life

Tag: Books

Love for those we evangelize: no strings attached

I’ve read and enjoyed two pre­vi­ous books by Randy New­man (no, not that Randy New­man) called Ques­tion­ing Evan­ge­lism and Cor­ner Con­ver­sa­tions. Randy, on staff at Cam­pus Cru­sade for Christ since 1980, has just released his third book (which I’m now read­ing), Bring­ing the Gospel Home: Wit­ness­ing to Fam­ily Mem­bers, Close Friends, and Oth­ers Who You Know Well (Cross­way, 2011).

In the chap­ter “Love: Always Craved and Yet Sel­dom Con­veyed” he writes about the need to truly love peo­ple and not just use the appear­ance of love as a means to evangelize:

We need to love peo­ple sim­ply because they are peo­ple, fash­ioned by God in his image; we should not show them love just as a way to evan­ge­lize them. Surely, we can find traits, com­mon ground, unique gifts, per­son­al­ity nuances, and expe­ri­ences we can affirm, and, bet­ter still, enjoy. But we must not love them merely as a manip­u­la­tive pre­lude to preach at them. They’ll smell such nonlove miles away. Instead, we must ask God to enable us to love them. Period. No strings attached. If they’re wait­ing for the other shoe to drop — a shoe in the form of a gospel pre­sen­ta­tion — they won’t feel loved by us because, in fact, they’re not.

Manip­u­la­tion as a means to the gospel is not evan­ge­lism — and risks cre­at­ing a false con­vert. And that “com­mon ground” — that’s the “point of con­tact” Fran­cis Scha­ef­fer advo­cated, a place where con­ver­sa­tion can begin.

More impor­tantly, that love does absolutely need to be gen­uine. As Albert Mohler said at a Desir­ing God con­fer­ence whose topic was Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, we need to love them — the sin­ner, the uncon­verted — more than they love their sin.

After all, God showed his love for us, “in that while we were still sin­ners, Christ died for us.” ()

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sin­ners, Christ died for us. (ESV)

First Item on my 2011 Christmas list

Thomas Schreiner calls Gre­gory K. Beale’s forth­com­ing book,  A New Tes­ta­ment Bib­li­cal The­ol­ogy: The Unfold­ing of the Old Tes­ta­ment in the New his “mag­num opus.”

Beale, author of two favorites of mine, We Become What We Wor­ship: A Bib­li­cal The­ol­ogy of Idol­a­try and The Tem­ple and the Church’s Mis­sion: A Bib­li­cal The­ol­ogy of the Dwelling Place of God – as well as co-editor with D. A. Car­son of Com­men­tary on the New Tes­ta­ment Use of the Old Tes­ta­ment — has this new work hit­ting on Decem­ber 1.

In his endorse­ment, Schreiner writes, “Cer­tainly Beale has writ­ten his mag­num opus, in which he deftly inte­grates the Scrip­tures via the new cre­ation theme. The use of the Old Tes­ta­ment in the New Tes­ta­ment forms the back­bone of this work so that read­ers grasp how the sto­ry­line of Scrip­ture coheres. We stand in debt to the author for his detailed and pro­found unfold­ing of New Tes­ta­ment theology.”

Dou­glas Moo’s endorse­ment: “The canon­i­cal scope and focus on the bib­li­cal story line give Beale’s New Tes­ta­ment Bib­li­cal The­ol­ogy a unique place among the many New Tes­ta­ment the­olo­gies now avail­able. The book is vin­tage Beale, cre­atively mak­ing con­nec­tions between Old Tes­ta­ment and New Tes­ta­ment and pur­su­ing a def­i­nite vision of how the Bible hangs together.”

I can’t wait!


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