Our post modern western culture has abandoned any concept of absolute truth. What this means is that the “rules” of evangelism are changing. To use a sports analogy, we are playing full contact football and our culture is playing soccer. We are simply not playing the same game. We are trying to sell truth to a culture that no longer values it, because it does not believe truth exists. What our friends, neighbors and co-workers value is practical, e.g. whatever helps them through the difficulties of life. The game has truly changed [pun intended].
Not only has the game changed but two very destructive lies have been injected into the game.
“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you must agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate”. Rick Warren
The question becomes, “how do we introduce people to our faith in the new game?” Do we need a new approach? Or maybe a return to a very old approach? How about doing it the way Jesus did it? Jesus came into a religious world that was committed to the truth much like ours is. They were sure they had the truth down pat. Jesus came along with a very radical message. He didn’t say, “I have a new truth for you”. He said,
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
He didn’t come claiming to simply speak truth, He claimed to be the truth!
Jesus did not come to refine the Jewish religion, He came to replace it with Himself!
He is our faith! He didn’t come to call people to a system of belief, He came to call people to Himself.
Here is how their new faith came to the first Christians, Jesus said,
“Come follow me”.
There was no statement of faith or proclamation of truth – just an invitation to follow HIM.
“Simon Peter, I want to use your boat to sit in while I talk to these people”.
“Hey Simon, go out into deeper water and lower your nets”. “Master, we’ve been fishing all night and caught nothing, it’s a waste of time but since it’s you who is asking, OK”. “OH MY GOD! LOOK AT ALL THE FISH WE’RE CATCHING!!!” As they followed him they came to know the truth, because they were coming to know Him!
Can we trust in the idea that if we introduce people to Jesus by loving them the way He does, they will come to know Him and as they grow in their relationship with Him, they will be led into the truth they need to know to share in His life?
Can we trust Him to reveal truth?
What about dealing with sin? Don’t we have an obligation to confront people with their sin? Sure, but which comes first, love or correction? Which came first for Jesus? And who does confrontation better, us or the Holy Spirit?
I am thinking that maybe it is OK that the world no longer believes in moral truth. Maybe it means that we will have to live our message rather than just speak it.
Does this mean we have nothing to say about what the Bible calls sin? No. But what it does mean is that love for the sinner should always be a greater motivation for our words than our love for the truth.
Here is the test; am I confronting sin because I hate sin or because I hate what sin is doing to this person?