But God… (A Blog Post For Lent, Part 2)

In my previous post, I asked you to consider the first two vital truths (of three) from chapelEphesians 2:1-10

  • What we were (that is, the condition of everybody apart from faith in Christ);
  • What we are now (as believers in Christ).

It remains, then, only to consider the third vital truth about the human condition that Paul addresses in this paragraph…

How we got from there to here.  (2:8-10)

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

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Rethinking Evangelism

Some have asked about the current status of the vision for St. Patrick’s—Grandview, since I am no longer an active Anglican priest, and we originally expected the new church to be an Anglican parish. I will take up that matter in my next post. I’ve already written it, but as I was writing, it occurred to me that it might be helpful to deal with another important issue preliminarily. That subject is evangelism.

I grew up believing that the main reason unbelievers were not Christians was that no one had adequately explained the “plan of salvation” to them. Evangelism, then, was primarily a matter of clarifying terms and providing instruction for what steps to take and in what order. I genuinely believed that the gospel was so logical and so persuasive that anybody who heard it clearly and coherently presented would not be able to resist its logical conclusions.

That’s what I believed, in fact, until, as a Bible college student and then as a young pastor, I met people who listened carefully to my straightforward and passionate presentation and then responded, in effect, with a polite “No, thank you.”

I assumed that my presentation must be flawed. I surely must not be saying what I needed to say, what I meant to say. So I polished my spiel and consulted all the available resources designed to enhance my effectiveness in evangelistic witness. And the results were about the same.

Eventually, I came to realize that evangelism—by which I mean the process of sharing the “good news” of Jesus Christ with nonbelievers in such a way that they can understand what it means to believe in Jesus, experienceSheet of paper with Good news text the grace and love and forgiveness of God, and follow Jesus as the Lord of their lives—includes some truly supernatural dimensions and faces some truly supernatural obstacles.

The Apostle Paul, who knew a little bit about evangelism, observed in chapter four of his second letter to the Corinthians that…

If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (New International Version)

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