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Pre Evangelism

Read time: 2 minutes.

A bunch of us went to a day conference at All Souls earlier this month. It was centred around Randy Newman of the US CS Lewis Institute, and his book: Mere Evangelism. In a related session Glen Shrivener from Eastbourne showed that what ‘progressives’ assert is as much a belief as Christianity and in fact logically contradicts an atheistic philosophy, eg ‘rights’ are based on Christian concepts and are opposite to the accepted philosophy of evolutionary ‘survival of the fittest’.

A number of points arose that overlap with the motivations of Knowing The Times so here’s a mix of inputs:

  • Start where they are – there are lots of different places but common themes

  • We need an intertwined mix of preaching and apologetics (the 'application' part of a preach)

  • John Stott said we speak with Bible in one hand and Newspaper in the other

    • He spoke of Paul in Athens (also Lystra) Romans 1, 2 – starting with well-known facts that actually point to God.

    • Be serious: Many people are rejecting our Gospel today not because it’s false but because it’s trivial. People are looking for an integrated world-view which makes sense of all of their experience.

  • People do realise things are broken in their thinking (they see the damage) and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. Jer 2:13b

  • God is using non-Christians as well as Christians to raise questions on why things are broken. This is by his providential goodness. A few of them:

    • Nina Power
    • New Culture Forum, Peter Whittle
    • Jordan Peterson
    • Tom Holland
  • Their ideas of how things should be look so Christian – which I’m not sure they are even aware of (maybe because most church leaders are so silent)

  • Usually what is broken is untruth (lies) in a whole range of areas:

    • evolution, history, natural world, family life, sexuality, economics, politics, other-religions

  • The Biblical approach to these things needs to be taught to Christians first so they can:

    • be amazed and encouraged

    • pass them on in conversations - really ‘putting the world to rights’

  • Teaching can be done as part of normal sermons where there is a change of emphasis to do Application in a more purposeful way

  • always in the context of Grace

I heard about another meeting for pastors, ’Leading the Way’, the same week. This included our Twitter/X friend RT Kendall – he’s the gentlest of men but asked – how much do you pray, how much reading the Bible, do you preach eternal punishment? Many do not preach it and do not believe it, however revivals happen in the context of preaching ‘eternal realities'. A 1 minute comment on this.

To me that reveals our own un-holiness – we value ourselves too highly and the need and therefore cost of Grace too low. People need to know that there is one who is holy and overwhelmingly attractive to those being saved. They are seeking an authentic voice – the same that spoke through Romans:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, Rom 1:18

None are righteous, no not one …. 3:10

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: 1:16