I am enjoying the current issue of Themelios. The article Do The Work of an Evangelist by D.A. Carson is truly excellent. It ties closely to the main theme of Armchair Theology so here is an excerpt with my commentary.
For some Christians, “the gospel” (equivalently, “the evangel”) is something you preach only to unconverted people. The gospel merely tips people into the kingdom; transformation and sanctification are sustained by discipleship. Once people become Christians, then the work of life transformation begins, often buttressed by various discipleship seminars: “Biblical Leadership,” “Learning to Pray,” “What to Do with Your Money,” “Christian Marriage,” and so forth—none of which falls under “gospel,” but only under post-gospel discipleship.
One of my main goals is to see the gospel applied to all life – especially growth in holiness:
In recent years, however, many preachers and theologians have convincingly argued that “gospel”/“evangel” is the larger category under which both evangelism and discipleship fall. In the NT, gospel is not everything—it is not law, for instance—but it is a very big thing, precisely because it is the unimaginably great news about what God is doing in and through King Jesus, especially in and through his cross and resurrection. A careful reading of Scripture shows how often Christian conduct is grounded in the gospel itself.
This was a game-changer for me a few years ago. Every time we see a command in the Bible it is prefaced with the gospel message. This isn’t limited to just the New Testament. Read Ex 20:2 and see how the ten commandments are prefaced with a message of God’s saving work for his people.
For instance, the gospel is to be obeyed (e.g., 2 Thess 1:8); certain behavior conforms to the gospel, while other behavior does not (1 Tim 1:10–11). Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Eph 5:25)—transparently, this is a gospel appeal. In short, in the NT the gospel is preached both to unbelievers and to believers. It calls unbelievers to repentance and faith; it calls believers to ongoing faith and conformity to Jesus.
Gospel ministry is ministry that is faithful to the gospel, that announces the gospel and applies the gospel and encourages people to believe the gospel and thus live out the gospel.
A look back on the most important event in history:
Why are you a Christian? Why is the building you attend church standing there? Why do we have centuries’ worth of hymns and books? Why is the Bible the best-selling book of all time?
Because we believe that in Jerusalem in the first century a man walked out of his grave.
But how can we prove that the resurrection happened? There was no video surveillance. There were no autopsy reports. All of the involved witnesses were biased.
Why do we believe Jesus rose from the dead?
You take out fire insurance so that if, in the unlikely event that your house burns down, you’ll get your house back. You don’t really believe your house will burn down but you admit the possibility and prepare for the worse.
Sometimes you’ll hear Christians argue for “fire insurance” faith. What does it look like? You might try persuading your neighbor to become a Christian just in case there is a God. “What harm could it do,” you ask, “just to be safe?”
This is the modern-day outworking of Pascal’s wager: Continue reading The Impossibility of “Fire Insurance” Faith
This is a simple, but important, post.
What Fuels Evangelism?
Why do you believe you should share the gospel? Is it out of guilt? Do you feel like it’s expected of you and you need to share it so you can fit in at church? Is it out of pride? Will bringing newcomers to church make you look good? Is it out of habit? Do you do it because that’s what your church has always done?
These are not healthy motives for evangelism. To look at the only healthy motivation for evangelism we need to look at what evangelism actually is. Continue reading How The Gospel Fuels Evangelism
This article, as part of my sabbatical, is a reminder of content you may have missed in 2012.
Holding God and his gospel in high regard is the center of the gospel-centered movement. What does that mean? It means we declare the news of “the good news”:
Bottom Line: If we aren’t evangelism-centered we aren’t gospel-centered.
Read Gospel-Centered Means Evangelism-Centered.
If you live in New England and you believe that being gospel-centered means evangelism-centered, listen up.
The Gospel Alliance New England is bringing in pastor Rob Burns, who has been really effective in evangelism in Philadelphia, for a conference discussing how he’s seen success sharing the good news on “hard ground.” The conference is being held at my home church, Norwich Alliance Church, in Norwich, CT.
The three sessions of this conference are titled:
- “A Gospel Worth Proclaiming” – What is the Gospel? Why would we proclaim it?
- “What is Proclamation?” Declaration and Demonstration (Words and Deeds)
- “Everyday Living” – What does it look like to live the everyday with Gospel Intentionality
Cost for this whole-day event will be $12 ($15 at the door) for individuals or $10/person for groups of 5 or more. Also, lunch is included in that price! Be honest – you were going to spend that much on lunch alone.
If you plan on attending please let me know in the comments below (email subscribers please click through to the website) so we can meet up during the conference!
You need to read Mark Dever’s preposterously good book on evangelism.
This short book gives the who, what and why of evangelism. It’s a short read and a good one. Dever does an excellent job of making important distinctions that aren’t often made in our churches:
- He explains the difference between the gospel and good truths which aren’t themselves the gospel.
- He differentiates between evangelism and the results of evangelism.
Following are a few quotes I highlighted:
What isn’t the gospel?
The Good News is not simply that we are okay… The Good News is not simply that God is love… The Good News is not simply that Jesus wants to be our friend… The Good News is not that we should live rightly.
What is the gospel?
The good news is that Continue reading The Gospel And Personal Evangelism