Evangelism and the Cross by bigplew
November 28, 2007, 1:18 pm
Filed under: Evangelism

by Mike Plewniak

Here is a great post by Irish Calvinist called “Trying to Listen and Communicate Better in Evangelism”. I like it so much I decided to put it here in it’s entirety for your benefit. I think he is making a great point and believe this is something we need to keep our pulse on in our evangelism.

There are a lot of challenges facing believers as we labor to communicate the gospel to those around us. We are increasingly presented with a community that is less biblically informed then we saw in past years. Many people do not think and operate within a framework to process such things as sin, redemption, a sufficient savior, and dependence.

Furthermore, I have found that the fundamental questions that people are asking are coming from the wrong angle and aiming at the wrong goal. For instance, many people operate under the unbiblical notion that asserts something like, “How can God be just and not forgive me?” Whereas, the question the Bible asks and answers is “How can God be just and forgive me?”

The prevalent thought is that we are all of such a value and our good so eclipses our bad that we are deserving of a break from God rather than the wrath of God. Too many think of God’s forgiveness like a tax break that is given to folks just for showing up. This is not so. We are not deserving of anything from God, much less forgiveness and full pardon from an angry, offended Judge!

As faithful heralds of the truth we need to make sure that the wrong question is not the one that is being asked but instead the biblical question. The cross is foolishness in any other framework. Why would he die if you and I were good? Why would he endure such hostility and rejection if we are so docile and acceptable? Why would he die if we never would?

So we must follow our great evangelistic model in the Apostle Paul who labored to demonstrate the awful wickedness of the human heart. Paul beat the drum of radical human depravity through the first two and a half chapters of Romans. His point is to get everyone backed into the corner agreeing with our own utter sinfulness and God’s unflinching justice and resolve to promote his holiness. Until we are “silent” and “accountable to God” (Rom. 3.19) we are not able to even begin to process what it means to see the righteousness of God manifested (3.21-26) and ultimately vindicated (3.27) through the cross. Paul’s whole point here is that God has always been demonstrating his righteousness, previously through the law and now through the cross. It has always been accented by our radical depravity but now it has been punctuated with holy clarity through the cost of satisfying the infinite justice of God, namely the infinitely glorious and valuable Son of God.

We need to listen better and communicate better in our gospel proclamation. Many people are asking questions, but too often both the questions and the answers are the wrong ones. Show the depravity of the human heart in such a way that people are asking, “What must I do to be saved?!” rather than “Why would I need to be saved?” Portray Jesus’ crosswork as the glorious demonstration and vindication of righteousness.


1 Comment so far
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Great post, great post. When I speak to people about my recent “realization” of God’s overflowing grace in my life, they don’t quite understand when I describe myself as “depraved” and full of “evil”. They often speak of how they think that people are inherently good. And I disagree…the “good” that we see in others’ lives is a direct result of God’s grace, not something within them.
But people, myself among them until recently, still have a hard time thinking that they didn’t have something to do with their conversation or their need for a Saviour (for the unbeliever).

Comment by svandyke

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