4.03.2010

EVANGELISM & CHURCH DISILLUSIONMENT--What is the Solution?

Next week, I speak at an Evangelism Conference in Canada. You can find details for the conference here. I will be interacting with some of the common problems and misconceptions about evangelism and the church at the conference.

I found this video on what I think is typical of what many people think about the church today. I would love your interaction with the video. Yes, I have some real problems with it. Would love to introduce him to a proper Reformed ecclessiology. But is any of this valid? Thoughts?

11 comments:

  1. Hello;

    I listen to you on radio and am blessed.

    The video: yes, I can agree with some things he says, but i just can't stand his "emergent" arrogance, there is always something wrong and it is always "the church" not his/my sin.

    My suggestion to him would be to read the Bible as Gods complete word to us (not as a bunch of writings from men of old), and meditate deeply on the Gospel, for it is what saves.

    God continue to bless you in His ministry there.

    Terry

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  2. Hi Terry,

    Great comments. Yes, we immediately blame the church today without looking at the problem of our own sinful hearts.

    I am happy to hear our radio program is a blessing to you. Appreciate hearing from you.

    Chris

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  3. Yes, there are a lot of "emergent" themes in his speech.

    I do see his as a misconception regarding what the church should be, probably because of his upbringing in a very stylized program-oriented church "culture." Perhaps Reformed ecclessiology might bring him relief for his complaint regarding the church's efforts to have their own (somewhat subpar) version of the world's culture, but what about his talk about the church expecting the world to come to us?

    Is there a kernel of truth to his frustration with the church's self-sufficiency? I only ask with an eye directed at the Reformed church in general, because I have known people who might otherwise have made it their home if it weren't for the fact that they couldn't see any evidence that anyone cared about lost souls as people who made up the local congregation.

    Preaching as a means of grace to be sure, but can I deny that I don't see a lot of evangelistic fervor both in myself and my brothers and sisters. In my church, we are always happy and welcoming when a guest unexpectedly drops in (something I can't say happens in all Reformed churches), but how concerned are we as individuals to see the gospel promiscuously preached to as many ears as possible if every Lord's Day is simply a matter of routine for so many.

    I don't see the answer in a certain guilt-trip mentality that also sometimes exists, where congregations form a committee on evangelism and give it a budget.

    Maybe I'm answering my own questions as I go along.

    I do plan on being at the conference. Very interested to hear some of these issues explained.

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  4. It seems to me that Reformed ecclesiology really would be helpful for this young man. I also think that there are some other Reformed truths that would benefit him as well...

    A defined understanding of common grace would help him. He has already intuitively felt the disparity between the Christian ghetto and the world. He sees the the monastic tendency of Churches. Perhaps hearing about a well defined doctrine of common grace would help him articulate his concerns. Sometimes a label for something makes a big difference.

    Understanding that all people are made in the image of God has helped me to enjoy people and not be afraid of the world. I can appreciate everyone because they all bear his image. And this also reminds me every day that all of us humans who bear God's image have tarnished it and need forgiveness in Christ.

    When I think about this it helps me to realize that I get to be a witness to the Good News of Christ with my words and deeds out in the world in my every day life. I don't have to be afraid of the world and sinners. I simply want to be a Christian in the world pointing others to Christ.

    I approach the world expecting people to be as they are... full of sin. I'm not surprised when people do sinful things and I don't gallop away from them on my self-righteous high horse when people act like sinners. As a Christian, I'm called to be in the world... just not of it.

    This then makes me appreciate that there is a place I can bring my wordly friends to hear the Gospel preached from the Word. It's a place called church. I bear witness to this preached Gospel in my everyday life and then I bring sinners to be formally evangelized by it on Sunday.

    It's simple at the end of the day. I guess we like to make it complicated and difficult when it's really not.

    There is so much more to say about this!

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  5. Hi Mark, the complacency concern is legitimate. I am not sure we really understand what it means to be salt and light. Our Reformed doctrines and convictions should grant us confidence and desire to pursue the lost, but, strangely, this is not always the case. Will address this, and really appreciate your comments.

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  6. Brad, you write, "I bear witness to this preached Gospel in my everyday life and then I bring sinners to be formally evangelized by it on Sunday."

    Great statement, Amen, brother!

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  7. love the radio program.its a real blessing.especially enjoy fridays..

    one comment in the vid was that christians never come to were homosexuals are.i find this interesting as many church groups have gone to pride parades to preach.i think what he really means is that he doesnt like the message.Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.Matthew 3:8.I beleive the very idea that one must repent of there sins is completely foreign to people.armenianism has almost completely taken over chritianinty.

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  8. I only had a few minutes to spare and as I began watching the video I got to the part where he said "after about a year (of paid ministry) I got really disillusioned ... and so I left".

    Seems to me that the man in question was going through some burnout from his introduction to full-time ministry and chose to exit stage left instead of persevering through it. Burnout is a natural part of the ministry, isn't it? Even if he wasn't in a paid position, it's still common to experience frustration or disillusionment with church because it's an organic institution with warts and wrinkles that can drive anyone a little batty. But we persevere because we love the church, right?

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  9. I think he has a valid point about labeling things "Christian," and using the term as an adjective rather than refer to people. The protestant church tends to attempt to baptize different elements of culture. For example guitar hero games become "praise hero," angry rock music is labeled Christian however there is no recognizable difference between that music and other metal bands. I am thinking of groups like POD and thousand foot crutch.

    Conor

    Conor

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  10. Theodore, yes, good point. But paid fulltime ministry--is he ordained? What kind of church was this? I suspect that it was a marketing mega church, and he is simply rejecting a common baby-boomer narcissism that he grew up with. You're right about the church with its warts, but, hopefully, he will find a church that is genuine and sincere in its worship and practice. The experience will be quite different. Thanks for the comments.

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  11. Connor, yes, we really don't know, at all, what it means to be strangers and aliens--as in the world but not of the world.

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