Posted on November 16, 2012
The Mode of the Gospel: Gleanings from the Great Commission
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
We must gain an understanding of worldview evangelism and seek to implement it in all aspects of ministry. A basic framework for worldview evangelism is:
- We no longer have a generation gap; we have a worldview gap in Western culture. Assumptions we took for granted 25 years ago are no longer true in a postmodern, post-Christian culture:
- The Bible has two testaments, Old and New, begins with the one true God, records the Fall of Adam and Eve, and presents Jesus as the sin-bearer.
- History is linear and moves with purpose.
- The vertical and horizontal emblem worn round the neck is not a “plus” sign, but God’s wonder- ful sign of redemption and forgiveness.
- Death is not the end of our existence.
- Real differences exist between good and evil, truth and error, right and wrong, fact and fiction.
- Without connectors into another’s frame of reference, communication is impossible. The Gospel will remain isolated unless some links are established that build bridges to other worldviews.
- The most effective modus operandi for building bridges to another’s worldview is listening compassionately, learning comprehensively, and looking for open doors to engage others interactively with the Gospel message.
- Find out where the person is at in their spiritual pilgrimage by asking what they believe.
- Discover how they got there and why they believe what they do.
- Demonstrate genuine concern and admit the universal desires and complexities that we all share.
- Confess that your convictions and beliefs are in process and they were not always as clear to you as they may now be.
- Define words like sin, salvation, God, Bible, et al. Use synonyms where possible (sin = rebellion, God = Creator, salvation = promise of eternal life with God).
Worldview evangelism is as much relational as it is rational. We must be known not only for our confession but also for our character. We must be ready not only to define and defend the Christian faith, but also be a people of truth, integrity, respect, humility, and authenticity. In a “Word”, we must exhibit evidence of God’s presence in our lives (Gal. 5:22-23). Typically, we first establish an ethos and pathos before demonstrating the relevance of the Logos.
I’m indebted to D. A. Carson’s The Gagging of God and his chapter “Athens Revisited” in Telling the Truth: Evangelizing Postmoderns for this notion, and many other aspects presented here.