Thursday, January 14, 2010

Good point


"'Preach the Gospel; when necessary use words' is like saying 'Tell me your phone number; if necessary, use digits.'" Nathan W. Bingham

19 comments:

Blogger said...

I don't get it. Preach the gospel without using words is something that can be done. You way of life should glorify God. People should something different about you, and the way you handle stress, family, life. So you can preach the gospel without words. When I worked in a grocery store as a teenager an old man would come in every day, sometimes twice in the same day. He would say hi to EVERY employee. One day he said he was feeling good enough to go back to work. When I asked him what he did he said, "I'm a preacher." To this I went "Ohhhhh, that makes sense."

You can't tell someone your phone number without digits. So I don't get it.

stranger.strange.land said...

"...call for Simon, whose surname is Peter;
Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved." (from Acts 11:13b & 14)

Trish, you probably already know this, but for those who don't, there is a good article by Ray Comfort at the Living Waters web site about this.

Craig

stranger.strange.land said...

Tim Berens, who believes in preaching the gospel with words, told the story of a Christian (let's call him Al) who wanted to preach the gospel to his co-workers solely through his lifestyle.

Al would always have a kind word to say to his fellow employees, was always cheerful and never complained. He was a model employee, never slack on the job. His desire was that in this way others would see Christ in his life. Maybe someone would even ask the reason for his commendable disposition.

After several years, another employee approached him, saying, "You know Al, I've noticed that there is something different about you." Al was overjoyed that his non-verbal witness had finally borne fruit. Then the other man said, "You are a Vegetarian too, aren't you."

Blogger, you are right in that if we are Christ's, our lives should, and will, show it. (See Romans 12). But the Gospel itself, the message of salvation that the church has been given to proclaim, is about something that Jesus did.

Paul told the church at Corinth:

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

(1Cor. 15:1-4) KJV

The Gospel is what God has done for us. It is the "Good News," proclaimed in words, that Jesus Christ has done all that is necessary to save sinners from the condemnation that they deserve and declare them "righteous" before God. This righteousness is Christ's righteousness, and is applied to us by the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the word.

So, yes; we are to let our light so shine that men will see our good works, and glorify our Father which is in heaven. (Matt. 5:16)
Then give 'em the word. In words:-)

Craig

The Murphy's said...

Blogger 3:38- I agree...Trish- Is the Gospel merely a formula?

Blogger said...

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying your actions are your LEAD. But when you have someone (like the bass player in my band) who has HEARD me testify, and has refused the message, I can only "preach" through my actions.

stranger.strange.land said...

The Murphy's: Trish- Is the Gospel merely a formula?

Well, I'm not now, nor have I ever been Trish, but here goes.

The gospel is the message, the good news, that Jesus Christ has, lived a life of perfect obedience to God's law as [my] representative. Moreover, on the cross, he endured the eternal wrath of God as punishment for [my] sins, and died in [my] place. (He was qualified to do that, being a perfect man, able to endure that, because he is also God).

He was buried, and rose from the dead the third day.(The grave could not hold him because [my] sins were gone, and he had no sins of his own). He ascended to the right hand of the Father in heaven, where he intercedes on [my] behalf.

That is the gospel, and it answers the question, "How can [I], a lawbreaker and sinner be justified and accepted before a holy and perfectly just God?" [My] sins were imputed to Jesus' account. His obedience was imputed to [my] account, and was [mine] when [I] believed in him.

Can you put your name in those brackets?

So, there is a formula in relating the gospel to people, but it is not merely a formula. It is the person of Jesus Christ, and what he has done to save lost sinners.

Craig

stranger.strange.land said...

@ Blogger

I am praying for the salvation of the bass player in your band.

Craig

Fish with Trish said...

Thank you Craig for your thoughtful answers.

Please don't ever stop posting on my blog. You're a blessing.

Ryan, I hope that Craig's answers have helped you. Do you think the Gospel merely a formula?

Nohm said...

From this outsider's eyes, it tends to come across as a formula, especially when using the "Good Person Test".

In other words, when I've had the gospel shared with me, it nearly always feels scripted instead of a personal conversation.

That's just my experience.

stranger.strange.land said...

Nohm.

Thanks for the feedback from your personal experience.

When I present the gospel in a post, I know that it comes across as you have described. The reason is that I usually try to get all the essential elements of the gospel into my presentation. (Our sin and need, Jesus as our substitute, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, the promise of the gospel, and the call to repent and believe). I feel like I have to get everything into one paragraph.

In person to person encounters it is different. I still consciously try to include all of the elements of the gospel, but it seems more natural in a face to face conversation.

In either situation, I think I am perhaps too light in speaking of the law and damnation, even though I read a lot of Jonathan Edwards. I guess I am just in too much of a hurry to get to the GOOD news.

Anyway, Nohm, I for one truly appreciate what you have to say about this, as well as other issues. Thank you.

Craig

B.t.w., do you ever have pensive moments where you give serious consideration to your upcoming death and to what happens afterward? Just wondering.

The Murphy's said...

Craig- You presented a formula.
Trish- they haven't helped and no its not a formula....

Nohm said...

Hi Craig (aka stranger.strange.land),

To clarify, I was talking primarily about times when people presented the gospel to me in person. It's actually very rare that people do this to me online (even though I visit a lot of Christian blogs), although the "muslim version" of evangelism is presented to me in the muslim chatrooms I sometimes hang out in.

I hope that clarified where I was coming from: that, in person, when the gospel is presented to me, it comes off as if they're reading from a script.

Secondly, you asked:

"do you ever have pensive moments where you give serious consideration to your upcoming death and to what happens afterward?"

So, the short answer is "no".

The longer answer is: sure, there are times when I will think about my death in a serious-ish way, but even then if I was to think "what happens afterward", it would be me thinking of the people that I love. Since I don't currently believe in a heaven or a hell, there's no "what happens afterward" (to me) for me to think about.

But since I think I have little to no control over when I die (well, except for my smoking... and maybe my diet), it isn't something I think about much. When I do, it's more of a bummer in the "oh man, think of all of the technological breakthroughs in the future that I'll be missing out on" or "I'm really going to be bummed to never see family and friends again when I do", and certainly not "oh my gosh I might be going to hell".

I take the Christian/Muslim concepts of Hell just as seriously as you take the Greek concept of Hades. Do you worry about maybe going to Hades? Probably not.

I hope I was able to explain my point of view.

Always a pleasure chatting with you, Craig.

Be well.

Nohm said...

Hi again, Craig.

To nutshell it, I "give serious consideration to [my] upcoming death and to what happens afterward?" in the same way that you give serious consideration to what happened before your birth.

stranger.strange.land said...

In a sense, I have been thinking about what happened before my birth. When I read things like, "...chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world," it makes me realize that I must have existed in some way before my physical existence. To exist in the mind of God must be more substantial and real than you or me, for instance, imagining a not-yet-existing person, like a future grand-child.

And since God is eternal and omniscient, I must have existed eternally in His mind. I think about things like that, as far as I can grasp it. It affects the way I think about my present relationship with Jesus Christ.

Craig B

Nohm said...

Hi Craig,

As to what you just wrote, I can only reply with "fair enough".

Was I able to answer your question about my thinking of death and "what happens afterward"?

Nohm said...

Hi again Craig,

I think I can clarify it like this: I don't give serious consideration as to whether I'll be going to Hell or Heaven, or any number of other post-death places that any other religion believes in.

I don't currently believe in "souls", so it's my opinion, based on the evidence that I've seen, that when our brain stops, "we" stop.

To really get to how I think about this, please research the words "determinism" and "emergence", although "determinism" has more to do with what we're currently talking about.

One of these days I'll be able to phrase this in an understandable way, I promise.

stranger.strange.land said...

Sure, Nohm. You were very clear about what you don't think about.(Did that come out right?? :-/)

"Determinism" I understand.
"Emergence" _ Totally clueless.

Craig

Nohm said...

Hi Craig,

I'm actually surprised by how well you took my claim of determinism, since that usually gets a weird reaction from people.

But yes, I'm a determinist. In other words, I think that this entire conversation was "pre-determined", but not by any kind of intelligent agency. The butterfly flapped its wings, and this conversation is the resulting tsunami. :-)

So, yeah, I think that we're "just" amazing meatbags with a head full of neurons. But it's awesome.

As for "emergence", I encourage you to start with the wikipedia article about it. It's my opinion that the language of the universe is math, and what we see and experience is the emergence from that.

Brian Johnson said...

Hi Trish,

I've recently discovered healing as part of the gospel. Other than speaking to the ailment and commanding it to go in Jesus' name, no words are really needed. In fact, the recipient will come back to me and tell me, for example, how the pain has gone.

I did the Elijah Challenge Training on the web and then went out and practised it. Believe me, it works!

See my website page explaning more:

at this location