From: Jim Beale (email@example.com)
Date: Mon Aug 25 1997 - 02:43:04 EDT
At 12:07 AM -0400 8/24/97, John Neal wrote:
>Well, Jim, I can certainly understand your point, of course. It remains
>that the message was none other than the gospel. It's simple. You just
>don't know the ramifications from the transmission of the gospel,
>especially over a medium such as this one. You can't see the people who
>receive it, nor can you (usually) directly talk with them.
I'm just trying to say that it has been my experience that one must
earn the right to explain the gospel to someone. I've tried it both
ways, and the wham-bam approach has been without discoverable fruit.
But whenever I've taken the time to get to know where a person is
coming from, and committed to praying for them, and shared a bit of
my life with them, the gospel has been readily received.
I think there is a place for mass evangelism. But, do you suppose that
these people haven't heard the gospel before? Many have been innoculated
against the genuine article by such superficial and boorish presentations.
They feel quite comfortable in deleting such a message because they take
offense at the form of the message (as opposed to its content). Do you
think that just any presentation of the gospel is ok?
Let me tell you this: A Christian must find ways to proclaim the gospel
that are not offensive, because the gospel itself is offensive. Since
you are going to have to tell people that they are sinful and in need
of the Savior, and that without Him they are going to hell, it is very
important to find a manner of presentation which is not offensive in and
of itself. It's just too easy to delete a message without considering
its content. And *that* after all, is what you are trying to avoid.
Do good, let your light shine before men (Mt. 5:16). Be as wise
as a serpent and as harmless as a dove (Mt. 10:16). If possible,
take time to become acquainted with people and their problems before
you preach the gospel to them (John 4).
Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey,
to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to
be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.
>God's world, and God's word fits quite nicely into whatever context one
>is willing to receive it in. I realize that all have different contexts
>of reception, but just because one's does not coincide with another's,
>you ought not to impede the work of Christ. (Even if the originator of
>the message did it in spite - as Paul said, "whether in pretense or in
>truth,Christ is proclaimed; and in that I rejoice". - Philippians 1:18).
Let me just ask you: Do you think this verse justifies any and every
presentation of the gospel? Does it even justify the Crusades? I'm
just curious how far you think this verse can go.
If you are proclaiming the gospel out of pretense, then where is your
reward? And if you are proclaiming it in truth, then you must proclaim
it in accordance with the truth, and be subject to the local governing
authorities wherever you go. It just so happens that Carl Conrad is a
governing authority on b-greek. He maintains order on the list in a
kind and gentle way. He is not a bitter old man. He is our Christian
brother, and, in my opinion, one whose forgiveness you ought to seek!
The worth and excellence of a soul is to
be measured by the object of its love.
~ Henry Scougal
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