Robert Griffith | 26 March 2023
Robert Griffith
26 March 2023

 

The postmodern culture in which we all live today really can’t tolerate biblical evangelism. Their commitment to subjectivity and relativism cannot accommodate a faith that is exclusive, narrow, and declares non-negotiable truth. That shouldn’t surprise us – Jesus told us to expect to be hated in the same way that He was (John 15:18).

Moreover, Scripture also warns against appeasing (James 4:4) or embracing (Romans 12:2) the world’s values. But that’s easier said than done. We are called to separatism without monasticism – being in the world but not of the world. We can’t live our lives and engage our mission field without coming into contact with our anti-Christian culture.

For most of us it’s difficult to avoid immersing ourselves in the postmodern thinking of our friends, families and colleagues – and we see signs of this even in the realm of evangelism.

The term “share your faith” is now deeply embedded in the evangelical vernacular and I’m afraid I have used the term myself many times, in spite of my problem with the whole concept. Most of us use  this term as a synonym for our evangelistic encounters. But those three words reek of postmodern subjectivity!

It’s not your faith and you can’t share it.

This post-modern mentality says that my faith is my faith and I certainly would be happy to share it with you. That’s not at all what we want to do. We want to explain the faith, the Christian faith, truth. Our greatest example for that is the Lord Jesus Christ, Who throughout His ministry presented the truth.

Jesus was relentlessly committed to the truth. He spoke the absolute truth into every situation. Either people accepted the truth and rejected error, or they held tightly to their error and began to hate Jesus – because they saw what He was doing as an attack on them – and it was in many ways.

We don’t share our faith, we announce it. It’s not our faith, it’s the “faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3 ESV). It’s the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I rejoice that the Christian gospel rests on objective historical facts that transcend my own experiences or validation – God’s creation, man’s fall and Christ’s redemption. I’ve watched in agony as Christians have vainly tried to duel with other religions and worldviews on the basis of personal experience. Those encounters rapidly degenerate into an endless subjective standoff.

The experiential evangelist is powerless to refute someone’s very different experience. The truth of the biblical Gospel crashes through all of those man-made barriers with God’s own written testimony. It doesn’t hinge on our personal skills or powers of persuasion. It is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

Yet there remains no shortage of people willing to substitute “the power of God” with their own ideas and agendas. The ‘prosperity gospel’ attempts to entice people into God’s kingdom through the offer of material riches. The gospel of dead religion offers salvation through personal performance and human effort.

The gospel of seeker-sensitivity hinges on their ability to attract people that the Bible tells us don’t exist: “There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.” (Romans 3:11). Meanwhile, proponents of the social gospel advocate charitable works and social causes as the redemptive answer for a world overrun with sin.

I recently read statement which had been posted on Twitter by the political arm of an influential denomination. It simply said: “We are fulfilling the Great Commission when we welcome people from other nations to our country.” That is a blatant lie told by people who should know better! The Great Commission is a command to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations …” (Matthew 28), not to roll out a welcome mat at border checkpoints.

Works of compassion are meant to adorn the gospel, not replace it. When other adjectives encroach on the gospel (i.e., social gospel, prosperity gospel, etc.), it’s often an indication that it is no gospel at all. (Galatians 1:7)

Our worth as evangelists can only be measured by our faithfulness to the message we have been called to preach. We find ourselves in good biblical company when most people reject the message we proclaim. Noah, Jeremiah, and even the Lord Jesus Himself, had relatively few converts by the end of their earthly ministries. Yet they all excelled in the sole measure of success for evangelists – they never deviated from the message they were called to preach.

That remains our benchmark for evangelistic success as far as God is concerned. He has called us to preach the gospel, both “in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). We are to called to present the truth of Who Jesus is and what Jesus has done to secure our reconciliation with God. It is God and God alone, through His Spirit, Who will draw people to Himself (John 6:44) and it is Christ Who will continue to build His church (Matthew 16:18).

Sharing the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and leading people to Him is our job. Converting those people and transforming them into the image of Christ is God’s job.

Our confusion regarding that simple statement is the root cause of the rapid decline in the growth of the Church and now negligible impact the Church is having in the world today.

Don’t share your faith – share Jesus Christ and Him alone!