Connecting the Dots in an Unconnected World

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Evangelism is not Cultural

Today, I read the following blog, titled, Postmodern Evangelism. While the article is well written and makes, for the most part, an accurate assessment concerning the culture in which we live, I find myself disagreeing with the conclusion. Concluding that confrontational evangelism or soul winning, no longer works, the author advocates for the development of friends that we can influence for Christ over a longer period of time. While I agree we do win our friends to Christ, experience has taught that some are friends for a longer period of time and many are friends for just a brief period. Allow me to share a few reasons for my disagreement.

First and foremost, I disagree based on the New Testament model of evangelism. The New Testament model is a confrontational model. The disciples won souls publicly and from house to house. We can find no better model to impact our culture with the gospel than the Biblical model. We must stop trying to reinvent the wheel of evangelism and start rolling down the hill.

Second, I disagree that our culture is somehow unique. The culture in which the first century church existed was not significantly different than our culture today. In fact, most church growth prognosticators declare that we are living in a culture almost exactly like the one the first century church experienced. Skepticism, persecution, state sponsored opposition, arrogance, blatant sin and outright rejection were the norm then and they are the norm now. While we need to befriend the lost we must also confront them with their sin and the salvation that Jesus so freely offers.

Third, a person simply declaring that there are no absolutes is for them ultimately to declare an absolute. We may be guilty of analysis paralysis. In our desire to understand the culture we may have become guilty of categorizing people improperly. I know people of every generational designation that fit the characteristics of a different generational identity. Personal soul winning, confrontational evangelism, is not about generations, it is about individuals. When we actively work to win souls, some people trust Christ while others reject Him. This is true of every generational group. It is also how the New Testament describes that people would respond to the gospel.

Fourth, to take a "long range" is to operate on the premise that those whom your are befriending will have a long term opportunity to respond to the gospel. The lostness of an individual demands a holy urgency of us who know Christ. James 4:14 declares, Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. Those we befriend may not have a long term opportunity and will spend eternity in hell if we do not with compassion confront them with the claims of Christ.

Finally, to think that cultural norms trump the power of the Gospel may well reflect our own attitude concerning the Gospel. Paul declares in Romans 1:16, For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. It is the Gospel that is the power of God unto salvation, not our process, what ever our process may be.

Even in this postmodern culture Confrontational Evangelism or Personal Soul Winning still work. However, it only works when we practice it. Find someone you can lovingly, in a Christ like way, confront with the Gospel today and see what only God can do to save a soul from hell.

Attempting to Connect the Dots...


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Doing Funerals

In the five day period beginning Friday, December 6 and continuing through Tuesday, December 10, I conducted four Funerals or Memorial Services for people who had no affiliation with our church, Southside Baptist Church of Sarasota, Florida. Someone asked why I would do that. There are three reasons I conduct Funeral or Memorial services for people not affiliated with Southside.

The first is conviction. I believe in the innate dignity of human beings, all human beings. People who have not been reached by the ministry of a church that preaches the gospel are just as worthy of a Funeral or Memorial service as those who are a part of the ministry of a gospel preaching church.

The second is ministry. As we all know the death of our loved ones is often a traumatic time. Those that are left behind need to know that someone from the family of God cares about them in their time of sorrow. Ministry must not be limited to only those who have been reached with the gospel. There is a huge population of people who need to know that God loves them and that God's man and God's people care about them in their time of sorrow.

The third is evangelism. Often, those not affiliated with the church need to hear the gospel. Family members do not need to have their deceased loved one "preached" into heaven. However, they do need to hear the good news that Jesus, loves them, died to pay for their sin and rose from the grave to give them victory over death. For many it may well be the only time that they will hear the gospel and have opportunity to receive Jesus. I am privileged to preach to more lost people at funerals than at any other gathering. It has amazed me to see literally thousands of people, across 36 years, who have prayed to receive Jesus at the close of a service honoring their loved one.

Finally, I have always been honored to be a preacher of the Gospel and to represent both God and the church to those who do not know Him.

Attempting to Connect the Dots...


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Revival News

November 6-10 of this year I was honored to lead revival services at the First Baptist Church of Sterling, Oklahoma where Dr. Mark Hall is pastor. God visited us with great power. Below is a link to an article published by the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger, the state paper for Oklahoma Baptists concerning the impact of the revival on the church. I commend Dr. Hall for his capable leadership at this fine church. Revivals still work when we are willing to pay the price for His power.

Attempting to Connect the Dots...


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