This Mystery

reflections on theology and life

Tag: Evangelism

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)

Sowing the Seed

And no, I’m not talk­ing about the sort of “seed” that “pros­per­ity gospel” huck­sters on TV try to con­nive you to send them.

Over at his blog today, Tim Bris­ter reminds us about the para­ble of the sower, found in all three syn­op­tic Gospels, includ­ing .

The point of Jesus’ para­ble is that the seed, the gospel, is spread over all kinds of soil, but only takes root in good soil. Tim is right when he says that we’re too stingy in spread­ing the seed — only look­ing for a place where it can sprout — rather than trust­ing God to give the increase.

Tim’s full post is at his blog Provo­ca­tions and Pant­i­ngs.


4:1 Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gath­ered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. And he was teach­ing them many things in para­bles, and in his teach­ing he said to them: “Lis­ten! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and imme­di­ately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it with­ered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and pro­duced grain, grow­ing up and increas­ing and yield­ing thir­ty­fold and six­ty­fold and a hun­dred­fold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

10 And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the para­bles. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the king­dom of God, but for those out­side every­thing is in para­bles, 12 so that

“they may indeed see but not per­ceive,
and may indeed hear but not under­stand,
lest they should turn and be forgiven.”

13 And he said to them, “Do you not under­stand this para­ble? How then will you under­stand all the para­bles? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan imme­di­ately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, imme­di­ately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in them­selves, but endure for a while; then, when tribu­la­tion or per­se­cu­tion arises on account of the word, imme­di­ately they fall away. 18 And oth­ers are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceit­ful­ness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruit­ful. 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thir­ty­fold and six­ty­fold and a hun­dred­fold.” (ESV)

Apologetics That Brings Glory to Christ

Pas­tor Dustin Segers

I had the great bless­ing of par­tic­i­pat­ing in the 2011 Earth Stove Soci­ety Think Tank this week with sev­eral pre­sen­ters, includ­ing Pas­tor Dustin Segers of Greens­boro, N.C. He is an active evan­ge­list on the streets of his city and on col­lege campuses.

One of his two pre­sen­ta­tions was on the topic of Apolo­get­ics and New Covenant Theology.

Dustin reminded us to “defend the Bib­li­cal God and the Bib­li­cal gospel with the Bible. Stand on the Hill of God’s word to defend that self­same Hill. Jesus and the apos­tles did it, and you should too.”

You can read a sum­mary of what he pre­sented on his blog, Grace in the Triad.

Video of his pre­sen­ta­tion will be avail­able soon. I rec­om­mend both.

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