Archive for February, 2009
Perhaps you are longing for more Christ-centered, God-exalting, Doctrinally-rich hymns for your church or family to sing together? Or perhaps you are tired of the shallow songs that you listen to on the local pop-Christian radio station?
If you haven’t heard of Church Works Media yet, then you must stop by their website.
When my family gets together, we print off the latest Chris Anderson hymn and sing it around the piano. Here’s two of my favorites:
The Da Vinci Code‘s influence upon our nation’s pop-culture is evident. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard, “What about the Gnostic Gospels?”
Then I’d have almost 8 extra dollars!
Rather than getting into a technical discussion (in which I would fumble around a bit and he/she probably wouldn’t get much out of it anyway), this response usually helps moves the discussion away from the Gnostic Gospels:
The Gnostic Gospels truly are fascinating. Have you ever read the Gospel of Thomas? Interestingly, it records Peter as saying, “Make Mary leave us because females don’t deserve to live.” Jesus responds, “Every woman who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of heaven.”*
In his book, The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, Mark Dever gives 12 practical steps that Christians should take towards becoming evangelists (paraphrased):
- Pray. Ask God for opportunities and the power to take advantage of them.
- Plan to evangelize.
- Accept that evangelism is our job as Christians.
- Understand that God requires faithfulness even if we don’t feel gifted.
- Be faithful even when you have a cultural excuse not to evangelize.
- Take risks even if it may jeopardize a relationship.
- Prepare to evangelize, whether it be practicing on friends or thinking about answering potential objections to the gospel.
- Look for opportunities, expecting God to answer #1.
- Love others. This love will overcome our fear and help us to value their soul more than our pride.
- Fear God. “When we don’t share the gospel, we are essentially refusing to live in the fear of the Lord.”
- Stop blaming God for being sovereign. “We should not conclude from his omnipotence that our obedience is therefore pointless.”
- Consider Jesus (Hebrews 12:3).
Pray for God to open doors for gospel witness. Romans 3 makes it clear that there are none who seek after God. If, then, an individual is seeking God, we must assume that God is seeking that particular individual. Based upon this, our evangelism must be founded upon the fact that God works and God is working, not upon our ability to persuade or convince.
Withal praying for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: that I may make it manifest as I ought to speak.
Some more thoughts on this verse:
- The Colossians were to pray for Paul and his associates.
- The Colossians were to pray for them with the purpose that God would open up doors for speaking the gospel.
- This gospel message was the reason for Paul’s imprisonment.
- Paul must reveal the gospel by speaking it.
Here’s my favorite one:
Challenge: I think you can make the Bible mean anything you want.
Response: So, you’re saying that the meaning of the Bible is objectively fixed and crystal-clear?
When sharing the gospel, frequently I hear, “How could a good God allow evil into the world?”
Although there are many ways to respond and several views on the issue within Christianity, I usually respond like this:
The question almost makes it sound as though evil is this rabid dog that God released into the world to bite everyone. This is not the case; rather, God allowed his created beings to make choices. In allowing for choice, God did create the potential for evil. Had He not done that, we would not be having conversation; we would be robotic and therefore incapable of asking why questions. However, you have already acknowledged that there is much evil in the world. Interestingly, in the Bible, Jesus equates lust with adultery and hate with murder. Is murder evil? Is adultery evil? Based upon all of this, have you contributed to the evil in the world?
I would hope there would be more interaction between the individual and me, but at least you can see my line of thought. I try to see every potential objection to Christianity as an opportunity to speak to hearts, trusting that the Holy Spirit is working.
You are explaining the gospel to an individual and he says, “I just can’t believe there is only one of way to heaven.” Perhaps you are frozen in your tracks as you think, “what do I do now?”
I usually say something like this, although there are no “silver bullets” for questions like these:
God is not obligated to make a way of salvation for those who have shattered his laws and violated his standards in rebellion against him. However, God in his mercy and grace has made a way of salvation for those very people; He did not have to do this to begin with. Further, He could have made a 2nd or 3rd way of salvation, but man in his rebellion would have sought a 4th or 5th or 78th. The problem, then, is not with God, nor with His way of salvation; the problem is ours. We will not come to God on His terms; we will not follow His way.*