Water Cooler Evangelism
- Thursday, May 18, 2006
Christians want to see the relevance of the gospel to their everyday lives and they want to demonstrate that relevance to their friends and co-workers. Primarily, they want to share their faith and do so smoothly and effectively. Many Christians are paralyzed with fear, or a failure to see the connection between the gospel and every day affairs, or an inability to segue smoothly into a conversation about Christ. Let us offer some practical help.
First, choose an issue that is current and interesting. Consider this news item from the weekend: "The Episcopal Diocese of California on Saturday avoided widening a rift over gays in the global Anglican Communion by electing a heterosexual man as its next bishop...the Rt. Rev. Mark Andrus [became] successor to Bishop William Swing, who is retiring after 27 years. Two openly gay men and one lesbian were among the seven candidates on the ballot. No gay or lesbian cleric has been elected bishop since the consecration of Gene Robinson in 2003 as bishop of New Hampshire which threw the U.S. church and the worldwide family of 77 million Anglicans into turmoil. 'Your vote today remains a vote for inclusion and communion -- of gay and lesbian people..' Andrus said. 'My commitment to Jesus Christ's own mission of inclusion is resolute.'"
Persons in this culture are certainly open to talking about a number of issues this story raises. There is the issue of whether or not homosexuals can be considered Christians, whether or not homosexuals should be ordained to the ministry, the stance of the Episcopal church in light of their historical witness and in light of Christianity as a whole, the issue of Gene Robinson specifically, the move at this point to elect Mark Andrus over gay and lesbian candidates, the issue of Andrus speaking of his own commitment to inclusion in the aftermath of his election, and his comments regarding Christ and His so-called commitment to inclusion.
Second, raise the issue of one's source of authority. The discussion over homosexual ministers or whatever subject you choose may lead in several directions. Ultimately, as answers are given, the question of authority must be raised. In other words, ask the persons with whom you are speaking to what authority do they appeal in formulating their opinions? Most persons are their own authority and their feelings and opinions come from a hodge-podge of ideas and notions they have picked up over the years. Those ideas and notions often contradict one another.
Persons can be challenged on at least two fronts here. Initially, you might point out the fact that it is illogical or that it makes no sense to hold opinions that contradict one another. Then, you might point out that unless one has a source of authority and recognizes what that authority is, one is by definition going to be inconsistent on many points. Inconsistency is intellectual foolishness. Most persons don't want to be fools.
Third, now that the issue of authority is on the table, raise the issue of ultimate questions. All people, whether they actually do so or not, if they are going to make sense out of life or have meaning in life, must ask and answer at least four questions concerning ultimate reality. You can raise these questions and help them think about ultimate things. 1) Where do I come from? 2) Why am I here? 3) How do I live while I'm here? 4) What happens when I die?
Fourth, engage in worldview dialogue. On an evolutionary worldview, the view to which most persons in our culture subscribe, in answer to the above four questions, we come from a random chance accident that set into motion a purposeless evolutionary process. We actually have no reason for existence other than ourselves because there is nothing beyond the material world and the material world is here by accident. On that worldview, it really makes no difference how we live because nothing matters. When we die, that's it, we simply cease to exist.
Recently on Spiritual Life
Have something to say about this article? Leave your comment via Facebook below!
Listen to Your Favorite Pastors
Add Crosswalk.com content to your siteBrowse available content