Saturday, August 23, 2008

DISCO is why I don't do evangelism...

There are all sorts of reasons why I don't do evangelism.

1. Delusion. I convince myself that it's not necessary. This could be for any number of reasons such as thinking people don't need Jesus, thinking Jesus is unimportant or irrelevant. Denying hell. Being unimpressed with Jesus. As Adam Beattie says - "delusions are lies, we need the truth". Giving me training in skills wont help me to overcome delusions. I need a heart captured by the gospel - changed by the great doctrines of salvation and revelation.

2. Inability. Sometimes I can't work out how to explain things, how to translate into language that can be understood or how to engage with the issues others have. I need some skills training, but mostly I need a more thoroughly Biblical worldview so that I can see how the gospel engages with all of life. And, I need doctrine of grace so I can go and give answers that may not be brilliant but which would be ok. I need freedom to fail.

3. Sin. Sometimes I'm simply disobeying what I know. All disobedience of God's word is sin. I need the Holy Spirit to change my heart. Skills wont help this - my heart is the issue.

4. Courage. I get scared. I get scared of meeting new people. I get scared of speaking about Jesus. Usually this is because I fear people more than Jesus. I fear ruining friendships or being embarrassed. The early church prayed for boldness. That's a prayer I need.

5. Opportunity. Sometimes I don't do evangelism because I can't move for Christians all around me. My job means my colleagues are Christians. My marriage means I live with a Christian. And my Britishness means I dare not talk to my neighbours. Yet, since when was I, as a Christian, meant to be a victim of circumstance. In the power of the Holy Spirit the gospel sends me outwards towards others, to engage them as fellow image-bearers in need of Jesus.

The basic problem in these is my heart. My heart needs the gospel. And by the gospel and for the sake of the gospel change is possible.

Edit: I'd also say, that sometimes I don't do evangelism because I'm actually doing something that is genuinely more important for me to be doing at that moment to bring glory to God, which might be.... eating, sleeping, working or any number of other things. Fact remains, I'm not convinced I get down to shaping my life around introducing others to Jesus anywhere near as much as I might do.

6 comments:

  1. Good stuff.

    Do you believe that Christ gives his church some to be evangelists? If so, do you think that you're one, and how does it affect this list?

    I'm genuinely curious, not trying to pick holes...

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  2. 1. Yes he does.
    2. Am I? I'm not sure.

    But, I don't think that the answer to 1 or 2 has much implication on whether I should be doing it.

    Though, I think I might say - sometimes I don't because I'm doing something that his more important for me to do.

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  3. "As Adam Beattie says - "delusions are lies, we need the truth". Giving me training in skills wont help me to overcome delusions. I need a heart captured by the gospel - changed by the great doctrines of salvation and revelation."

    This is absolutely right, but....

    Your solution is doctrinal instruction and application. That's true, but it's only part of the actual solution. You can't get a chair to stand up with only one leg.

    What other things do you see the Holy Spirit working through, along with doctrinal instruction to raise 'a heart captured by the gospel' ?

    What things did the Holy Spirit use in your life?

    I'll tell you one thing: the opportunity to be practically involved in teaching other, has affected you more than almost anything else.

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  4. You use 'doctrinal instruction' like it's a derogatory and lifeless term...

    All change happens in the context of people, within the sound of the gospel... in ordinary and extraordinary situations through design, 'accident' and all sort of other things.

    But, if someone was to set out to overcome my delusion they could do worse than lovingly, humbly engaging my heart with Jesus...

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  5. Sorry, I don't think think that you think that doctrinal instruction is derogatory and lifeless, nor do I think that doctrinal instruction is derogatory and lifeless. I think I said that what you said was true.

    "All change happens in the context of people, within the sound of the gospel... in ordinary and extraordinary situations through design, 'accident' and all sort of other things. But, if someone was to set out to overcome my delusion they could do worse than lovingly, humbly engaging my heart with Jesus..."

    I think I understand what you mean, but it's hard to tell. It's a bit jargonised.

    1. I don't think you are deluded
    2. I don't know what 'engaging my heart with Jesus' means
    3. Let's talk about "a heart captured by the gospel - changed by the great doctrines of salvation and revelation"

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  6. Yeh, sorry.

    Generally, I don't think I'm deluded. But, sometimes when I don't do evangelism it is because I've become deluded.

    "a heart captured by the gospel - changed by the great doctrines of salvation and revelation"

    I suppose what I'm getting at is the seeing that Paul describes in 2 Cor 3v18 that comes from hearing the gospel in 4v4-6, in the very best sense of what that means. In that case, the initiative for change comes from God revealing himself, from the Holy Spirit changing me to be the new creation that I am as a Christian. "Into the same image" to be like Jesus. And that works through human means which includes, though perhaps not limited to, some engagement between my heart/mind and the Bible - usually through someone teaching it, and with other members of the church.

    I particularly mention doctrines of salvation and revelation because those are pertinent to evangelism - do I think God reveals himself to people through speech, do I think people need saving.

    The post is kinda the headlines from a talk, which means it lacks detail. And you're right - it stinks of jargon which is v.bad.

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