David Robertson tackles some comments made by Paul Scanlon and points out why banning both the practice and mere mention of evangelism is not an answer the church should see as credible.
‘We live in a day where politics is everywhere, and everything is about politics. On one level this has always been true. Jesus is Lord, not Caesar. That’s a political statement. Every sermon touches on the polis, on the city of man, on our earthly citizenship. But that’s not what I have in mind, at least not entirely. What I mean by “politics” are the elections, the elected officials, the political parties, and the endless stream of policy debates and legislative, economic, and judicial controversies that so much of our daily news and social media feed comment on constantly. What is a pastor supposed to do with these controversies and debates? That’s my question.’
I basically agree with Denny Burk here. Others, such as Russell Moore, have recently made similar arguments.
This was really interesting. ‘The difference between those who have made professions of faith and wandered away from the truth, and those who have never heard the truth is stark. The ever present knowledge that God exists and that one day you will appear before Him as Judge. The restlessness of knowing you can never be completely happy without God and that you will have to return to Him…one day. The desperate search for satisfaction in all manner of things to prove that life without God is possible, and preferable. The desire to enjoy worldly experiences without that nagging twinge of conscience. The gradual distancing from Christian family, friends and church, due to guilt. The anger when people presume to judge your lifestyle. The terror of going to a very real place called Hell, forever.’
‘No, this isn’t going to be a guilt-trip session on how Scripture assumes that a Christ follower will also be connected to his body, the church, although that’s true. This isn’t even going to be a spiel on why you practically need the church, although that list could be long and meaningful. I just want to ask you to consider how your present participation in the church, or lack thereof, will reverberate not just on the future church, but also on the future you.’
‘It’s not hard to see the difficult parts of pastoral ministry. Expectations are high. The weight of pastoring is heavy. Discouragement is a constant temptation. People can and will hurt us. It’s right to be honest about these. Paul was. He frequently wrote about the challenges he faced as an apostle (2 Corinthians 4:7-12, 11:16-29). He was honest when people let him down (2 Timothy 1:15, 4:16). Paul was honest, but he didn’t throw a pity party. Despite his difficulties, Paul understood the incredible privilege of ministry.’
‘With a properly joined up, national approach to gospel work we could see genuine advance for the Kingdom of God. Sadly, all too often, we retreat to where we feel most comfortable. Whether it is our desire is for the urban and trendy or whether we’re after more traditional suburban comforts, such desires will inevitably see the demise of churches in towns like Middlesborough, Rochdale, Salford and Oldham. Such attitudes will see swathes of working class people heading straight for Hell because we deem the schools not quite as good, the cafes not quite to our liking or the parents at the school gate not “my type of people”.’