Surprised by Oxford is a memoir of Carolyn Weber‘s (then Carolyn Drake) first year at Oxford. She arrives in the autumn and by spring has become a Christian. This is a story of how you might wish all evangelism went. She meets a stack of incredibly smart, thoughtful people who are humble, kind, articulate Christians. Her non-Christian friends by and large recognise that she’s on some sort of spiritual journey and are supportive of that. There are no crazies and no bigots to be seen on either side! Read more
Posts tagged ‘evangelism’
Last time we looked at a tool widely used in Australia, and the next of our ‘iCatechisms’ has the same basic approach — but with a few big tweaks. It’s dubbed ‘the big story’ and has been developed by James Choung, who is currently the national director of evangelism for InterVarsity (USA).
A series about digital summaries of Christianity
Last time I asked if forgiveness is the best story we have to tell, and now I want to show you three bite-sized versions of what we believe. Each one has a different angle, with its own pros and cons, and each one provides a basic repertoire for talking about faith, however simplified it may be.
First, let’s get some terminology out of the way. I think of these primarily as catechisms, summaries of Christianity for people who are already Christians. That’s a pretty old-fashioned word, especially as these are all online tools, but I think it’s a good fit. I prefer it to ‘gospel presentations’ because these are not exactly about the gospel, and I prefer it to ‘evangelistic tools’ (implying ‘outreach’) because I think they’re generally more useful for teaching insiders than for communicating with outsiders.
He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me!
This classic hymn is all about the problem of sin, and its solution, the great Saviour Jesus. It’s a real celebration song, and when Charles Wesley first penned the words, he was excited enough to write 18 verses! The sin it refers to is tangible, obvious, and strongly felt, and there are verses for sex workers and even murderers. But these are new people, looking at past evils washed away with grace and joy. Read more
Scot McKnight opens The King Jesus Gospel by relating several stories about the confusion of the word ‘gospel’. He reckons evangelicals by and large use the word to be ‘how you are saved’ and that this results in a culture where the key thing is to get people ‘over the line’. In his view, it leads to evangelistic strategies that focus on driving people to one moment of decision, but have little to say about a life lived for Christ. This is why, he believes, 75% of Americans say they’ve made some sort of decision to accept Christ but only about 25% actually do something about it, like attending church.
McKnight’s argument is that while the ‘Plan of Salvation’ is part of the gospel, it is not the gospel itself. Rather, the gospel is about the story of Jesus as the culmination of the story of Israel, and the Plan of Salvation flows out of that. He’s cutting against the idea that the Gospels are merely a record of Jesus’ life, while the content of the gospel message is found later in the Epistles. Why, he asks, are the Gospels called ‘The Gospel according to…’ if they are not the gospel? Good question! Read more