Saturday, 21 November 2015

Effective Evangelizing

OK, so I've been thinking. Again.

You may have heard this example of a number of blindfolded people examining an elephant – one the trunk, one an ear, one a leg, etc., and each coming up with a different answer as to what it is. This is supposed to be an argument for the idea that no one can have an exclusive lock on the truth; that everyone’s idea of truth is equally valid; that many paths lead to God, and therefore all religions are equally valid.

First of all, it occurs to me that it’s a self-defeating example. It disproves itself, because it, in itself, requires that the observer, us, see the whole picture – see that there is a truth - see that it is indeed an elephant, and that a number of points of view can actually miss the truth. So this example actually illustrates that there can be an ultimate truth, but that various points of view can be wrong about it.

Is Christianity the ultimate truth? Well, we’re not to that point yet. That’s where we invite, saying, “Come and see.” This is exactly what Alpha, done properly, does. This is the heart of Alpha. In Alpha, people receive good Christian teaching, but in a non-threatening context. It  is 7 to 10 weeks over which people develop relationships as they learn about the Christian faith, ask any question or express any opinion without threat, intimidation or condemnation.

But here's another thought, from my former pastor and friend Terry... (Wait, that didn't come out right. He is my former pastor - I hope he is still my friend... especially after this...) But here is what he gave me...

What if the elephant could speak up and say, “Hey everybody, remove your blindfolds, I’m an Elephant!”

Because that’s what God has done.
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son… (Hebrews 1: 1a)
He has revealed Himself fully and finally in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I and the Father are one." (John 10:30) He said, “If you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father.” (John 14:9)

But people need to hear it from God Himself, and only God Himself can change a mind or a heart. I believe the key to evangelizing in these times and in this current generation is to engage in a narrative, not to hold up authority; to discuss, not lecture. Scripture can be used in two ways. We can confront with, "The Bible says!" Or we can engage, with, “Here is what the Bible says. What do you think?"

Want to reach someone for Christ? Invite them to Alpha.

Blessings,

John


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