Category: Evangelism and Pluralism

Do We Jeopardize a Person’s Salvation by Sharing the Gospel with Them? (podcast)

Greg considers the evangelism implications of the idea that we are all IN. Why risk someone having an opportunity to opt out? Episode 494 Send Questions To: Dan: @thatdankent Email: Twitter: @reKnewOrg Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play | RSS
The post Do We Jeopardize a Person’s Salvation by Sharing the Gospel with Them? (podcast) appeared first on Greg Boyd - ReKnew.

Syndicated from Greg Boyd – ReKnew


Do People Exist in Parallel Universes, and Do They Need Jesus? (Podcast)

Greg talks the sin economy and if sin actually threatens God. Episode 474 Send Questions To: Dan: @thatdankent Email: Twitter: @reKnewOrg The Interview: Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play | RSS
The post Do People Exist in Parallel Universes, and Do They Need Jesus? (Podcast) appeared first on Greg Boyd - ReKnew.

Syndicated from Greg Boyd – ReKnew

Tim Tam Evangelism

I can still remember the first time I ever had a Tim Tam. I’d never seen or heard of them before, and I was skeptical that this cookie from Australia was as good as my friends said it was. I was already an adult by this time and had enjoyed many different cookies (perhaps too many), but there was something about this chocolate covered wonder that took me by surprise.Tim Tams are chocolatey and creamy, but also crunchy. The middle wafers aren’t overcome by the moisture of the filling. My first bite was one of disbelief. The rest of the cookie was in me before I even knew what happened. It was everything my friends said it would be and much more than I ever could have imagined.You might be thinking that I’m either over-exaggerating or just really into sweets. Maybe a little bit of both. But Tim Tams changed my life, and I thought they needed to change the whole world too.For a while, I took Tim Tams to different gatherings. I wanted other people to try them because I knew some people had never heard of them. I even brought over a dozen boxes to church one Sunday as a sermon illustration. Now, this phase ended pretty quickly after I realized it was unsustainable - Tim Tams are some of the most expensive cookies you can buy.But for quite a while (and still to some degree), I was a Tim Tam evangelist. I wanted everyone to try them. But, I came upon a problem. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t make people eat them. Even if I paid for them, some still decided not to partake. And that’s when Tim Tams changed from being just a cookie to an object lesson for evangelism.The word evangelism comes from the Greek euangelion, from which we also get our word gospel. As a noun, euangelion refers to the good news, which, in the Christian tradition, means the good news of what God has done for the world through Jesus. As a verb, it means to be a messenger or bearer of that news. To be a Christian evangelist is simply to share the good news of Jesus Christ.That sounds pretty tame, doesn’t it? Then we do so many of us have a bad taste in our mouths when we hear the word evangelism? I think one reason, at least, is that the church has done a poor job of it. Our history has been one of coercion, discrimination, and hypocrisy. Can you imagine if I came up to you and offered you a Tim Tam as if they were the best thing in the world, and then you saw me eat Mr. Christie cookies as I walked away? Or if you said you weren’t really interested but I took a Tim Tam and shoved it down your throat?In some sense, Christians are guilty of this kind of evangelism. We have offered a message that has lost credibility because of our actions that go along with it. We have offered the world a Jesus who seems to be okay with oppressive political power, sexual violence, materialism, and consumerism. Of course no one is perfect, and Christianity doesn’t teach that we can be, but there’s a difference between making mistakes in our pursuit of faith and willfully misusing the Christian message for our own personal profit.Other times Christians have tried to force the gospel message upon other people, either damning them to social isolation or calling down fire and brimstone if they don’t accept it. In many parts of the world where faith and political power are closely entangled, people simply have no choice but to claim themselves as Christian.So where do we go from here? Do we scrap evangelism altogether? Do we just let everyone do their own thing without telling anyone about the gospel? If that’s the case, then I have some bad news.If evangelism is to share a message, we are all evangelists of something! Whether we like it or not, none of us can escape this because we are all alive, living in a specific context, communicating and interacting all the time. Our words, actions, schedules, social media content, and wallets all speak to what we believe and whom we serve.None of us can live a neutral life. We all represent something. The question isn’t whether or not we are evangelists, but what kind of evangelists we want to be. I think the church needs to realize where we’ve fallen short of our call to evangelism. It seems like we’ve become either wishy-washy or domineering with the gospel message with which we’ve been entrusted. What if, instead, we re-claimed this task and started living it out the way Jesus wanted us to? We get a hint of that in the letter of 1 Peter.“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” - 1 Peter 3:15bWe must remember that what we’re called to share, through our words and actions, is a message of hope. It’s a message that God has not given up on creation, but is constantly working to bring us redemption and new life. We should be ready to tell people why this is and how this happens in our lives. But before we do that, we need to make sure the hope is really in us and that we are not simply evangelizing because it’s the right thing to do.We are to share this hope with gentleness and respect. This goes for anyone we might come in contact with, from our friends, co-workers, and even our kids. This means listening to the other, treating them as you would want to be treated, and not forcing anything upon them.John Bowen, in his book, Evangelism for Normal People, reminds us that evangelism is actually God’s work, not ours. It’s something that we are called to and involved in, but the end result is never up to us. It’s not our job to force an outcome but to trust that God is in control. He also reminds us that evangelism is an invitation, not coercion. We should invite people to experience God, to see for themselves that the Lord is good. That starts with our own transformation, a commitment to love the people we come in contact with, and a realization that everything is our lives determines the kind of message we will tell.
Syndicated from Blog - Moses Falco

Season After Pentecost (Proper 10[15]) – The Epistle Passage: Paul’s preaching style

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love.” (Ephesians 1:3 – 4)
One of the things I learned early on with Paul is that sometimes it takes breath power to read his epistles out loud. Paul tends to pack a lot into one verse/sentence. I assume that it is enthusiasm for spreading the word of the Lord and not wanting to leave out a detail or aspect. But just as it takes breath power to read Paul, it takes thinking power to unpack all that he says. Because he packs a lot of theology into his writings as well.
“He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” (Verses 5 – 6)
I have tried at times – when writing, commenting, and pondering – to explain the different theological, religious, spiritual teaching and thinking that goes into these epistles. Usually I end up running out of steam. And/or, starting to ramble on in long sentences myself!
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” (Verses 7 – 10)
Paul also uses a great many punctuation marks to tie together his thoughts and reflections. Or probably more precisely (and actually more fair & even handed to Paul) it is the translators who marshal together the words and phrases in tight ranks and rows, trying to capture and herd together everything that Paul has to say. And it is they who have translated and transcribed the sentences that embrace a world of meaning.
“In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.” (Verses 11 – 12)
Unless some occasion or need arose, Paul only wrote one letter to the congregations that he started and nurtured. So it makes sense that he would try as much as he could to pack in one letter everything that he could. And maybe the congregations that received the letter (and passed them on to other churches) studied the letter slowly and carefully. As we do, actually, in our modern times.
“In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.” (Verses 13 – 14)
When one sits back and contemplates that Paul wrote all of these letters filled to overflowing with theology, Christian philosophy, spirituality, redemption, and salvation – yet all of the letters centered on the topic of following Jesus Christ and our Lord God – one can appreciate how massive an undertaking it is to follow the Divine. There is so much to consider and keep in mind. It seems like a daunting task. And Paul lays it all out so eloquently and so well.
But that’s thing, beloved reader, and that is Paul’s exact preaching style. Making each movement and action in the Christian life so profound and deep. And Christianity is not always like that. As much as I admire Paul (and I do, really) it takes a lot of breath power and energy to live out a Christian life according to Paul.
There are other ways though. And we may yet explore those this week. Shalom for your day, beloved reader.

Syndicated from Pondering From the Pacific

BGWG 9: Mission

Ebony and Steve discuss the topic of mission, and how that important calling often has been tied up and confused with Eurocentric/US-centric colonialism. Topics include:

Ebony’s recommendation: the Kinky Curly Theological Collective (1:20)
Steve’s recommendation: The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk M.D. (4:58)
Steve and Ebony’s history with missions (11:42)
The connection between mission and colonialism (15:47)
Examples of American syncretism into Christianity (19:20)
The need for humility in cultures where you don’t know as well as they do, but they still look to you as the American expert (22:44)

Questions or comments for Ebony and Steve? Email Apple Podcasts | Android | Email | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS

7 Shocking Things Atheists Have Denied

Morality. Logic. Themselves. It seems like when some atheists try to deny the existence of God, they also need to deny the existence of some very fundamental things. In this video, I talk about the seven strangest denials I have heard from various atheists.


Filed under: Evangelism & Missions
Syndicated from Holy Spirit Activism

How Ken Ham’s Religion Pushes Our Children Towards Atheism

Ken Ham and his followers may think they’re defending Christianity and ensuring that our faith will be passed along to future generations, but the reality is they’re putting our children and grandchildren at risk of rejecting the faith entirely. I think what’s particularly tragic is that it doesn’t have to be this way; what Ken […]
Syndicated from The Official Blog of Benjamin L. Corey

The Prosperity Gospel vs. Jesus: Why These Two Things Are Not The Same

I believe that Christianity is a religion founded upon the life, teachings, and example of Jesus of Nazareth. Any version of Christianity that is built on a different foundation– whether it’s founded upon “following the Bible” or some foundation other than “be like Jesus,” isn’t really Christianity at all, even if it tries to go by […]
Syndicated from The Official Blog of Benjamin L. Corey

Pope Francis Is NOT A Champion Of The Marginalized

Pope Francis has, by and large, been lauded by many progressive Christians since the earliest days of his papacy– I have been one of them. In fact, in 2015 I was interviewed by CNN as one of a variety of non-Catholic faith leaders who liked and respected him, even going so far as to say […]
Syndicated from The Official Blog of Benjamin L. Corey

Season after Pentecost (Proper 6 [11]) : The Gospel Passage – Spreading the Word

“Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness.” (Matthew 9:35)

According to the gospel of Matthew, Jesus had just completed a series of healings, and was setting out to see and spread his ministry to the people of that area – the writer of Matthew has does not name specific places.

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Verse 36)

Not having studied animal husbandry, I am forced to assume that sheep do not do well without someone to make sure they have access to good food and clean water.

“Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Verse 38)

Now this is interesting. From the way this verse/sentence is constructed you would almost think that “laborers” are going to come out from buildings, or something, and go out to do the harvesting that is the Lord’s. But these “laborers” do not come from an outside source, but are the disciples that are supposedly traveling with Jesus. And it strikes me this is an unusual way to maneuver someone or a group into doing something. Yet, it is also familiar – this leading with already set intention. Like a subliminal motivation instead of an overt instruction.

“Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.” (Chap 10: 1 – 4)

And I have to conclude, since it is obvious that this was written after Jesus’ ministry was over, that there was some purpose in phrasing the suggestion for laborers to go out. It reminds me somewhat of the theological perspective that we, as God’s called and chosen people, are the ones who bear the responsibility for spreading the word and message of God. In fact, the end of the book of Matthew ends with such a directed purpose.

“These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.” (Verses 5 – 8)

You can be sure, beloved reader, when I post this I will most certainly put it under the tags of “Mission” , “Missiology”, and “Missional”. And I want to remind you that mission can be done close at hand. Jesus, in essence, told his disciples not wander far but to stay close to home and close by in the land of Israel.

The lectionary, while noting the verses that follow verse eight, do not include verses nine to twenty-three.

“Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food. Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. As you enter the house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” (Verses 9 – 23)

I am not too surprised at this, for two reasons. Number one, the verses are pretty prophetic and predictive about what happens after Jesus’ death. We can see that in the last section of verse 23 that seems more “end of the world-ish” than one would expect. Number two, the theme this year is new believers coming to faith. Stopping at verse eight leaves the emphasis on ministering and converting new believers. The verses that follow have less to do with new believers and more to do with those believers who are heading out to do missional work.

Do not think it too unusual, beloved reader, that the RCL crafts what verses and passages are presented and when. Just as Jesus (according to the writer of the gospel of Matthew) arranged for this disciples to be laborers in the Lord’s harvest, so does the RCL seek to present scripture in such a way that it supports a theme and a purpose. In the same way, do not doubt that I have a theme and purpose in what I write and I. But rest assured, my purposes are good and to aid you on your Christian journey. Selah!

Filed under: Revised Common Lectionary Year A 2017 Tagged: Character of Jesus Christ, Evangelism, Missiology, Mission, Missional, Nature of Jesus Christ, Revised Common Lectionary, Season After Pentecost
Syndicated from a simple desire

Amazing Miracle Reports from Christ for all Nations

Daniel Kolenda, President of Christ for all Nations (CfaN), has released a series of new videos featuring powerful and faith-inspiring testimonies of some of the miracles he has witnessed on his campaign meetings in Africa.

This video features Nigerian woman Placita Outa, who severely damaged her spinal cord in an accident. Doctors performed many surgeries to repair it, but the final surgery left her paralyzed. She had to rely on crutches and the help of others to move around. Jesus totally healed her on a CfaN campaign.

As Daniel Kolenda and some of the team were getting into the car after a meeting at a Gospel Campaign in Sapele, Nigeria, a woman stopped him. She wanted him to pray for her three-year-old son, who lay dead in her arms. Daniel took the child, held his body for a moment, prayed a simple prayer of faith and then left.

The following night the woman returned to tell the rest of the story. As Daniel drove away, the boy came back to life! He is now perfectly well. When the crowd of 200,000 heard this, they broke into wild cheering, and the whole city of Sapele was rejoicing.

This woman was totally blind in both eyes. She attended one of the meetings in Abidjan, and the Lord healed her left eye. So the next night she came to give glory to God.

While interviewing her on the platform for a testimony, Daniel learned that her right eye was still blind. He told her to cover that eye with her hand, and he prayed for
her. But nothing happened. So he covered her eye with his hand and prayed again, commanding the eye to open. “Mama, look at me. What do you see?”

She looked at him intently for a few moments, and then suddenly started shouting, “Oui, oui, oui, oui, oui!” (Which is French for, “Yes, yes…!”).

And this is one of my favourites. In 2010, Mohammed began to lose his hearing, eventually becoming deaf. Without any money, he could not visit a doctor to diagnose or treat the problem. He simply had to live in silence.

While returning home from visiting his stepbrother, Mohammed missed his train. Unusual circumstances thwarted him, forcing him to stay another night in Accra. He decided to spend the night at the local plaza – where Christ for all Nations happened to be holding an evangelistic Campaign. Because Mohammed could not hear, he did not know what the event was about. So he simply lay down on a bench at the Campaign grounds and fell asleep.

But he woke up suddenly to the feeling of liquid in his ears – even though it was not raining. As he removed the liquid with his fingers, his ears popped open. His hearing had returned! And the first sound he experienced after two years of silence was the voice of a preacher praying for the sick. Mohammed could hardly believe what was happening. But this he knew: Jesus Christ had just healed him.

Mohammed wanted to get the message to his wife. So he announced the name of his city and said, “If anybody knows me … tell my wife, ‘Jesus is the Son of God!’” The crowd erupted in praise. No football team had ever recåeived such an ovation. The people were jumping and dancing and shouting for joy.

Filed under: Signs & Wonders
Syndicated from Holy Spirit Activism

5 Things I Wish Conservative Christians Understood About Muslims

Conservative Christians seem to have a lot of opinions about Islam and our Muslim neighbors. Those opinions are often grossly misinformed at best. I’ve met very few conservative Christians who have spent any considerable amount of time in friendships with Muslims; it’s also true that I’ve rarely met an overly anti-Islamic conservative Christian who has studied [Read More...]
Syndicated from The Official Blog of Benjamin L. Corey


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