I’m convinced that pre-evangelism is essential for reaching people with the gospel in postmodern settings today. But perhaps I need to make my case a bit more persuasively. After all, isn’t the gospel self-authenticating and powerful enough on its own? Do we really need to appeal to fallen people’s inadequate reasoning in proclaiming a message about rebirth? Perhaps my quoting of Schaeffer, Moore, and Keller still leave you wanting input from a higher authority.
Fifty years ago, Francis Schaeffer, the one-of-a-kind preacher and evangelist in postmodern Europe (before most people ever heard the term postmodern) told us, “Pre-evangelism is no soft option.” More recently, Russell Moore awakened us to the reality that “we can stop counting on the culture to do pre-evangelism” for us.
From Unlikely Converts, pages 13 to 15:
“Don’t you just love stories? We sit on the edge of our seats to hear them. We download podcasts that feature them. We pay money to hear comedians tell funny ones. We wake up when a longwinded speaker breaks from explanations, elaborations, and emendations and says, “This reminds me of a story.”
“Randy Newman has done it again! His latest book on personal evangelism is so captivating and inspirational that I read it in one sitting.” So says Dr. Lyle Dorsett, Billy Graham Professor of Evangelism at Beeson Divinity School, Samford University Randy’s latest book is Unlikely Converts, the result of his doctoral research on how we can help non-believers come to faith. I’ve asked Randy to write a series of four guest blogs here to share some of what he discovered (and hopefully entice you to buy his book!)
In addition to a healthy theology of grief (last week), a healthy theology of death is also essential to being able to say “goodbye” well when the time comes. Having a “theology of death” may seem odd, morbid, and even wrong. Ours is such a life-affirming and life-focused culture that we rarely think of death. Therefore, it is not surprising that most of us don’t have a theology of death, much less a well-developed one. But this is exactly what we need in order to be able to say goodbye well.
As I shared last week, in January I said “goodbye” to my father, as he passed “from the land of the dying to the land of the living.” Since then I’ve reflected on four principles that can help us say “goodbye” well. I hope you find these principles helpful as you join me in transitioning from the season of saying “hello” to the season of saying “goodbye.”
A quick Google search of “Science and Faith” brings up 144 million matches in half a second. Many of these sites repeat the “conflict” narrative—science and faith are at war, and science will ultimately win because it has reason and evidence on its side.
This conflict narrative seems to be more and more common. However, it is the wrong story. In this series, I will identify three assumptions underlying this narrative. I will then share reasons why these assumptions are wrong, and therefore why there is no conflict between science and faith—we should be talking about the “and” not the “or.”
What would you say if asked why you believe God is a person and not an impersonal force? This is the question someone asked me on a recent flight. I offered five reasons, four of which I have summarized these past few weeks. This week I conclude this series with the fifth reason I gave: I and billions of others worldwide—and for centuries—have encountered God as a Person.
Last Tuesday I lost one of my heroes. Christian speaker, author, and editor Jim Sire passed “from the land of the dying into the land of the living” to a great reward at age 84. He not only had a massive influence on me and countless others through his many books (such as The Universe Next Door, which is one of four books I suggest each parent read with their children before college), he was also a friend and mentor to me and so many others. We can learn at least three lessons from Jim’s life.
In my last post, I offered the first reason why, especially during this Christmas season, it is important to remember Jesus is fully human. In this article I suggest a second—to not do so means we minimize the worth of God’s creation (including ourselves). The incarnation is a constant reminder that God, more than anyone, values the physical world just as much as the spiritual world.
“Hello, is this Stan? My name is Jean. I think I’m your mother.”
These are the amazing words I heard when I answered the phone on September 7, 2017. After nearly 55 years I was reunited with my birth mother. I blogged last week about two of the three truths I’ve understood more deeply since getting to know her these past few months. But this has also caused me to reflect on the love and courage of the woman I have and always will call “Mother”—the woman who adopted me.
CEO Uzziah got it almost all right. He built a great company (country). He was well respected in his country and by the nations around him because he lived by the first three leadership best practices. He also apparently followed this fourth best practice for some time. However, he forgot this fourth principle after he was seasoned, and it cost him his position as a leader and more. What happened? And as we are successful how can we avoid this same fate?
CEO Uzziah is blessed by God and becomes an exceptional leader. But this is not only because he followed the first two leadership principles. He also understood and applied a third principle—trusting God is not enough. We must also work to be excellent at what we do. This is the secret of the “both/and” and makes all work a spiritual endeavor. Only understanding this can energize a leader to lead well for the long haul.
Can we hope to find common ground in “the public square” over the critically important social issues of our day? Over the past seven weeks I’ve illustrated how the three different answers to “What are we” determines our answer to this question. But our view of what we are also determines our view of whether abortion and euthanasia are ever justified, whether the gospel makes sense, how Christians best grow in their faith, what constitutes “ministry,” and so much more. Let me explain…
What is the essence of Christianity? How does being a follower of Christ relate to thinking, to work and to life? Why is this the title of your blog and the topics you address? These are questions I am often asked. So I decided to add a “Definitions” page to my website and offer my answers to these questions.
In my last post, I shared the first reason why it is important to remember Jesus is fully human this Christmas season. The second reason is that we devalue the worth of God’s creation (including ourselves) if we forget his humanity. The incarnation is a constant reminder that God, more than anyone, values the physical world just as much as the spiritual world.