Sunday, May 8, 2011

Doctrine of Personal Presentation

It is not possible to communicate the gospel without your personal involvement in their lives.

The ultimate Truth is a Person. He cannot be contained in propositions, words or ideas. Those only serve to indicate ways to approach Him. Actually "getting it" is entirely a matter of you and God in personal communion, a one-on-one direct encounter. His chosen means to make that happen is you and I.

Evangelism is not a sales pitch. We do not convince people to follow Christ. If He does not breathe life into their dead spirits, they cannot choose Him. Evangelism is the totality of our presentation of the gospel by how we interact with others. It must of necessity include seeing us in real life over a passage of time, with our failures as well as our successes, along with all the moments do not necessarily qualify as either one. They have to see us, hear us, touch us, smell us.

It was not simply because they didn't have the Internet or other modern technology the early Christians insisted on going to the Lost world in person. There could have been no other way to bring the truth. Just as surely as some hired crier could not tell the gospel truth without living it, so a simple written message would be insufficient. The Bible is printed characters on paper; it means nothing until it is lived by someone who receives it as the love letter of God. It is not God Himself. Sending Bibles is a noble endeavor, but by itself will not save lost souls.

The same goes with discipleship, which is only artificially separated from evangelism. Life is learning, teaching and reaching, and the gospel is the full continuum of existence in the Spirit.

An audio or video recording is also insufficient. No one can be themselves when the recorder is running. That's human nature. No one can be themselves during the first few moments of social encounter, either. The gospel message is not in those first few moments, but in the personal experience which comes over a period of time. Paul spent a bare three weeks in Thessalonica, and worried mightily it wasn't enough. That should indicate something to us today about the gospel, and how cheaply we sell it when we aren't willing to invest more resources in sending persons who are the gospel message.

It is a doctrine of this ministry we will not produce audio or video recordings. The means are available, but they are not suitable. Simple written messages serve only as a reminder of things known, or to provoke an interest in things needed. To truly understand what we teach is not possible without a face to face encounter, extended over time so we can both see each other at our best and worst, and every moment in between.

The gospel message is people.