Thursday, August 31, 2006

Mark Dever on Evangelism

Mark Dever is Pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church and Executive Director of 9Marks. On the Together for the Gospel Blog, he wrote this:

"One part of clarity sometimes missed by earnest evangelists, however, is
the willingness to offend. Clarity with the claims of Christ certainly
will include the translation of the Gospel into words that our hearer
understands, but it doesn’t necessarily mean translating it into words that our
hearer will like. Too often advocates of relevant evangelism verge over
into being advocates of irrelevant non-evangelism. A gospel which in no
way offends the sinner has not been understood.

Look at Peter at Pentecost in Acts 2. He wanted to be
relevant. But that relevance gave his words more bite, not less. How
did Peter witness to those he wished to see saved? He said to them, among
other things, “let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus,
whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ,” (Acts 2:36).

Relevant? Yes. Pleasing? No. Clear? Undoubtedly.

Be clear about the fact of sin (Isa. 59:1-2; Hab. 1:13; Rom. 3:22-23; 6:23; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; I John 1:5-6). Be clear about the meaning of the cross (Matt.
26:28; Gal. 3:10-13; I Tim. 1:15; I Peter 2:24; 3:18). Be clear about our
need to repent of our sins and to trust in Christ (Matt. 11:28-30; Mark 1:15;
8:34; John 1:12; 3:16; 6:37; Acts 20:21). What would it mean to evangelize
without being clear about what the Bible says about these issues?"

This is a great quote. I think this is a message that needs to be heard by all who wish to be earnest evangelists. The Gospel is offensive, and we don't do anyone any favours by attempting to take the sting out. If you take the sting out, you take the saving power out!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Thoughts on Mark Driscoll's "Missional Ministry"

Tonight I listened to a sermon my Mark Driscoll called "Missional Ministry". This sermon addressed how to reach different groups of people with the gospel. One of the things I took away from this is that we don't need to reject making the gospel culturally relevant. We don't change the gospel, but we can change the way we present it. For example, if a person going to minister in China got dressed up in a traditional Chinese outfit, and sang a Chinese song to share the gospel, no one would have a problem with that. However, there seems to be a trepidation in the church about becoming relevant to postmoderns. In many ways, I am one of them. I am scared that in trying to reach postmoderns, we will may compromise the purity of the gospel. But is it any worse compromise the gospel, than it is to completely ignore them by not sharing it at all? By the grace of God we need to find a way to reach ever increasing new groups of people with the True gospel of the Bible.

New Desiring God Website and book I am reading

Here is an exciting note for everyone.....

The New Is Coming Soon
Watch for our redesigned website,
providing more content, improved access to all of our content, and many other
improvements, to be released this week.

So check back at soon for the update.


Also, I am reading a book called No Place for Truth or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology. It is slow to start out with, but I am trusting that it will get better as it goes along. I figure that it will be a good disipline to continue with it and not just give up on it after the first chapter. Too often in life we give up on things to early!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Reaching out without selling out

I have recently been enjoying the writings and ministry of Mark Driscoll. For those of you who don’t know who this is, Mark Driscoll is the founding Pastor of a church in Seattle called Mars Hill Church. He is very straight-up, and doesn’t hide from making bold statements. For a introduction to some of his quotes, take a look at Vanessa’s blog where she lists some of them from his book, Confessions of a Reformission Rev.

Most recently, I have been reading his book called The Radical Reformission: Reaching out without selling out. The book is basically about how to reach the culture you live in. There is a great chapter in this book called "The Sin of Light Beer: how syncretism and sectarianism undermine reformission. " He goes on to say how when it comes to engaging culture, we often fall into one of four camps: Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots and Essenes. Pharisees separate from the culture, Sadducees blend into the culture, Zealots try to rule over culture (through changing the culture by Christian politics whether it be left or right), and Essenes who ignore culture. Furthermore, Pharisees and Essenes would be sectarians (who stay out of the culture), and Sadducees and Zealots are Syncretists who go too far into the culture.

Both sides fail Jesus's command from John 17:13-18:
But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may
have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world
has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from
the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify
them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have
sent them into the world.

Jesus said that we are not of the world, but that we are to go into the world. How we find this balance is the difficulty. When you go into the world, you will get "christians" who bring you down for being too worldly, but when you try to take a stand against the world there are "christians" who say you are being to harsh or legalistic.

I think the key is for each individual Christian to be convinced in their own mind what is right for them, based on Biblical principles and their God-given conscience. These two gifts from God are the keys to making our way through grey areas. I pray that God would give our generation a hunger for His Word, and sharpen our conscience so that we would be effective in reaching our culture without selling out to syncretism or sectarianism.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A word from Piper...

I decided to swing by today and read a fantastic quote by Piper.

Piper Quote of the Day
"The day you hear that you have cancer, or that your child is blind, or that a mob is coming, you turn away from light books to the weighty ones that were written on the precipice of eternity where the fragrance of heaven and the stench of hell are both in the air."(The Hidden Smile of God, pg. 61-62)

In a day and age where the light books are so easily found in Christian bookstores and the weighty ones are found as easily as a needle in a haystack, the quote rings so true. It is such a reflection of our Lackadaisical christianity. Things are fanciful and pleasant, and so are our books.

So what is an appropriate response? Read a weighty book "that (was) written on the precipice of eternity where the fragrance of heaven and the stench of hell are both in the air."