[243] Evangelism II
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[243] Evangelism II

Recently I used this space to discuss the absence of evangelism among biblical Christians?  Two points were made—the secularization of the larger culture, and an absence of sermons on the afterlife.

The second one begs the question: Why.

A recently published poll indicated that a sizable slice of pastors—over 30% (if memory serves)—fear saying anything that may generate what we now call “pushback” from their congregations. In short, they do not want the gospel to be a stumbling block—which, of course, is exactly what it is.  Think about that.  One-third want to shape their message to the appetites of their parishioners, rather than have their parishioners be shaped by their message.

Might that be true among campus pastors as well?

Among many larger churches—those with big websites and lots of visitors–we hear the “searcher” copout.  “We want to appeal to those who are searching, questioning whether they want to accept Christ.”  There are plenty of faith crises among Christian college students, placing many of them in this category.  Apparently, telling those spiritual wanderers their eternal security hangs on their relationship with Christ may be a put-off—particularly in a postmodern (truth is personal not factual) culture in which claims to exclusive truth are rejected as intolerance.

Do you think Paul would be muzzled by that?  And while we’re at it, is not the eternal dichotomy very much a part of the whole counsel of God?  Further, might not a more fearless rendering of spiritual truth be exactly what the searchers need to hear?  Might not it be wiser to spell out the truth in love and trust the Holy Spirit to apply the words than juke around the entire subject?

But there may be another, more disturbing reason: a creeping universalism among evangelicals, including pastors.  We are in an era of analytics, even in Christian circles.  Polls indicate a strong strain of postmodernism and its concomitant universalism among believers.

I have no idea if this latter reason contributes to the absence of afterlife preaching.  I hope it does not.  But until I hear a lot more such preaching, I will be wondering.


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