Every Sunday morning, we’ll be posting articles and links that are saying something important about church, culture, and mission. Here’s what resonated with us this week on the web:
Church & Theology
David Fitch offers three ways to move past Post-Billy Graham Syndrome when it comes to evangelism:
Move beyond evangelism as explanation, to evangelism as proclamation of the gospel. Evangelism isn’t convincing somebody else of a particular truth of the gospel. There will no doubt be some explanation involved, but all the explanation in the world will mean nothing apart from proclaiming a reality out of own’s own belief and testimony. There’s an epistemological shift going on here in this move called proclamation. Proclamation is the announcement of an alternative reality that has begun, and that is happening now in our midst. We say “Here’s is what I’m seeing, that Jesus is Lord, he is working in all this for healing and renewal. Can you see it? Can you enter into it? Can you submit to Him?”
JR Woodward interviews Mark Wilson about his new book on evangelism called The Purple Fish:
Woodward: What have you found to be people’s greatest fears when it comes to sharing their faith with those who live apart from Christ ?
Wilson: Many Christians are afraid of being seen as obnoxious and pushy – being “one of them.” They also fear failure and rejection. But 1 John 4:18 says, “perfect love casts out fear.” When we make it a loving spiritual friendship rather than a confrontation, it takes the fear away.
Also, if we are prayerful, we will be guided to those who need us. The Holy Spirit goes ahead of us, opening the way and our job is to simply follow along.
Led by the Spirit, there is no such thing as “cold turkey” evangelism.
Like Nish discusses in Speak, telling and hearing stories – not our personal sermons – is the front door to healing divides in our culture, church, and world. It is how we release our gifts to the community, invite the kingdom to break through, proclaim God’s work, and advocate for justice. People don’t want our soapboxes; they need flesh and blood. We need this message desperately.
News & Views
Albert Mohler responds to Victoria Osteen’s recent comments about obedience to God with a reflection on the gospel:
In her message, Victoria Osteen tells their massive congregation to realize that their devotion to God is not really about God, but about themselves. “I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God, we’re not doing it for God–I mean, that’s one way to look at it–we’re doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we are happy. . . . That’s the thing that gives Him the greatest joy. . . .”
America deserves the Osteens. The consumer culture, the cult of the therapeutic, the marketing impulse, and the sheer superficiality of American cultural Christianity probably made the Osteens inevitable. The Osteens are phenomenally successful because they are the exaggerated fulfillment of the self-help movement and the cult of celebrity rolled into one massive mega-church media empire.
Ed Stetzer comments on California State Universities de-recognizing InterVarsity Christian Fellowship:
The bigger, and ongoing, issue is the continual sanitization of unacceptable religious voices from universities. It’s ironic—those who champion nondiscrimination, in the name of nondiscrimination, are creating rules that push out those who “discriminate” based on biblical belief statements.
A few years ago, I asked in the pages of USAToday, are evangelicals no longer welcome in the public arena? If that arena is a California state university, and those evangelicals want an official school organization, that answer is obvious.
Cote Soerens writes about the immigration detention issue and the recent hunger strikes in Seattle for the Antioch Session:
Thousands of undocumented migrants are detained indefinitely and without a right to representation at privately run jails in the US. Veronica’s husband, Ramon, is one of them detained in Tacoma. Crossing the border without papers is a civil, not a criminal offense. Detention of migrants does not serve the public interest at all, what is more, it drains our tax payer dollars in favor of a private corporation that sneaked a mandate to fill their jail beds into an appropriations bill in 2009. So this is wrong, cruel, and unnecessary from any point of view you look at it. Administrative detention of migrants is an institutionalized form of profiting from someone’s vulnerability and must stop. They get away with this by being sneaky, so Veronica and Ramon are fasting to draw OUR ATTENTION to this situation.
On The Missio Blog
We launched into our September Conversation this week, which is all about “Restoring Unity to the Church Today”:
How Age Diversity Threatens Unity in the Church, by Jolene Erlacher.
Restoring Unity by Exposing the Farce, by Seth Richardson.