May 4, 2008

2 + 2 =

The occupation of my days recently has been the act of putting two plus two together. My journey has been chronicled in this and this previous post.
A couple weeks ago I attended a ministry evangelism seminar given by Pastor Charles Rosel. His emphasis was on the trend of the Church today to forget about the “evangelism” part of “ministry evangelism.” He reminded us that you, or the one to whom you are ministering, may not have 5 years of life remaining in which to build a relationship. He encouraged us to be “deliberate and aggressive in sharing the gospel”, certainly an outdated thought among many evangelicals today.
This really steps on my toes, though; I am very good with ministry and very lousy with evangelism. I have been bolstered by the postmodern theological thought of meeting needs by building a slow relationship before sharing the intimidating and often unwanted gospel. Yes!, I thought, this is my type of evangelism and since then, I’ve been cruising along quite happily.

Until Peru.
In Peru, I experienced strong, effective evangelism accompanied with meeting physical needs of earthquake victims. Oops. . . So that’s what I’ve been missing.

I began stewing about that. Now Charles Rosel walks into my life and says things like, “The social gospel is too social with no gospel.” And “There is not enough sense of urgency in relational evangelism.” And my personal favorite because it doesn’t step on my toes, it steps on the toes of many others I certainly question, “We will not win the world by strutting on a platform.”

In 1998, David F. Wells wrote a book called “Losing Our Virtue: Why the Church Must Recover Its Moral Mission.” I recently picked it up so I can compare what he predicted with today’s environment and maybe get some understanding of our Christian young adults today, whose popular, watered down theology seems to be leaving them restless, very self focused and full of litigation. It is going to take me about three years to read this book because I am a “bear of little brain.” And I'm not advocating everything the book says, I do not want to go back to the time of gloom and doom sitting side by side in our church pews. I don't. Don't let that concern dismiss the theology discussed in this book. This book addresses what I think is the root behind the invalidation of the faith of young adult Christianity today. Without the strong doctrinal roots, our young adults are finding their faith useless and hollow, shall we say "vain", in real times of need, in real times of trying to resist temptation.

To sum it up: what is my “two plus two”? I am trying to put ministry evangelism together with biblical theology in a popular theology world to produce something of substance before I die and motivate the new generation of disciples of Christ to authenticate their faith. Our country can’t take much more moral disintegration and faith that’s built on shifting sand, as I, personally, also cannot.
Meanwhile . . . on the homefront . . . Tom S. is having trouble following my train of thought in my threads. (I suspect it is because he "doesn't always read the details") He asked me the other day, with the fragility a psychoanalyst uses when questioning a patient teetering on the edge, "Val, do you really think Joel Osteen is following you around?"
He is so not getting me.

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