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Evangelistic Endeavor -- 1

Well, this is the beginning of what should be an interesting journey for the next couple of weeks. I have been in California visiting family and friends for about two weeks now. Starting today, I'm going to be helping with an evangelistic series in San Francisco as part of my requirements for the MDiv which I'll be completely finished with in December.

I decided that it might be fun and educational to blog through the series. I really have no idea how busy I'm going to be so we'll see how often I post. My goal is to post about every other day. I don't plan on sugarcoating how things are going but instead will provide an open and honest evaluation from my perspective. Hopefully it will provoke good discussion and fresh ideas of how to share the Gospel.

I realize that being critical about an evangelistic series can be controversial. After all, it might seem as though God is on trial. Our efforts will be prayed-up and our deepest desire is to trust in God and lean on his guidance. So, what right do I or anyone else have to be critical? I have no doubt that God will bless our efforts BUT I also believe that we must continually analyze our methods. The evangelist has had all of us read "Gospel Workers" and "Evangelism" in preparation. In those books, EGW mentions several times that our attitudes and methods play a major role in whether or not someone will accept the Gospel. She writes that many people don't accept the Gospel because of how it is presented and packaged, not because of the message itself. I fully belive this and I hope provides me the "right" to analyze. Feel free to disagree, agree, and extend the discussion. Also, look out for the upcoming issues of Spectrum which I will have articles in about the series.

The journey begins. . .


Anonymous said…
This is a great idea! I think that conventional evangelism campaigns of this type tend to be idealized by their fans and stereotyped by their detractors and you have the opportunity to provide an honest narrative documenting the real thing from a perspective of faith and commitment to Christ's mission. Great!! I will be praying for you and reading with interest.
David said…
Of course, the Reformation was based on the freedom of conscience, thought, and speech. But it was also based on a thorough and constant study of the word of God and sought to imitate the Master Jesus. The freedoms mentioned above are easy today. They are already built into our U.S. Constitution. Back in the Dark Ages, people died for those freedoms. If death hung over our heads today, I wonder how many "open to analysis" folks would open their mouths and endanger their lives. Would it close down Spectrum? I believe we can honestly say that persecution would tend to limit the number of Spectrum reformers, and it would demonstrate who is really searching for the truth or just venting anger at a group of people because that's easier than helping them.

I love you, Spectrum brothers and sisters, but you need to vent your frustrations on God in prayer. Then you will come out humbled and loving, and ready to do the Master's business.

I appreciate your passion for the word of God and believe that we can all benefit from being reminded of the Bible's central position in the life of faith. However, I do not see how faithfulness to the bible and openness to analysis are mutually exclusive. I believe that when approached with humility the bible always causes us to re-evaluate everything we are doing, everything we are committed to and everything we believe we know.

I also would caution against assuming that some members of the community of faith's penchant for analysis does not come from their personal prayer life. To make those kinds of assumptions without a personal knowledge of the individual is a dangerous activity. It betrays an attitude of judgment that inhibits dialogue, conversation and community.

It is true, we do live in a time when we no longer experience the kinds of persecution that took place in the Middle Ages, and I hope you join me in thanking God for that. Yet, if the kind of persecution previously experienced by the church were to reemerge I believe it would create a sense of urgency to know for sure that what we do is effective and meaningful. Instead of inhibiting analysis, I believe those, like yourself, who have a passion for their faith will engage in vigorous dialogue because we wouldn't be able to afford not to.

The life of faith has a large cognitive element to it, which we must never lose sight of and I thank you for reminding us of that. But it also is highly communal. To be a Christian is to be committed to community and in community there must be room for analysis, dialogue and conversation from as many perspectives as possible. I appreciate your committment to that communal element of the life of faith and hope to learn more from your informed and spiritual perspective.
spo said…
The heart of the reformation sought to bring God's will into the forefront of spiritual life. To make God accessible to all. Those who where persecuted were blamed of heresy and "venting" against a system that for all practical purposes "worked".

It is ridiculous at this day and age to believe that we can continue to always do things the way we have for the past hundred years and get the same results. The world has changed, and the people in it have also changed. I do not believe that Trevan or anyone that is truly evaluating the way we do something is "venting". They are rather trying to update and better our ways to reach more people for God's Kingdom. To make Christ and His message accessible to more people. Clearly they are not being persecuted the way the reformers were, but they are being persecuted by constant criticism and accusations. As continuous dialogue pointed out; we cannot go on judging people as being less sincere about their walk with God if we do not know them. When we judge others' motives we are no better than the church of the middle ages!

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