what is the target?

Ed Stetzer has some interesting thoughts about the gospel that we are preaching and the goal of conversion according to that gospel. Here is his full article at catalyst.

the excerpts that Ed posted on his blog follow:

I continue to see movements gaining traction among Christians that do not seem to have many converts. In other words, they have recruits to their cause, but few converts to Christ. And, I am concerned. I am concerned that in the name of “fixing the Church” we are not proclaiming the Church’s gospel.

So, my Reformed friends, let’s not only read 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John (that is, John Calvin, John MacArthur, and John Piper), let’s go plant some more churches. My emerging church friends, let’s take a pause from the theological rethink and head into the neighborhood and to tell someone about Jesus. My missional friends, let’s speak of justice, but always tell others how God can be both “just and justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” My house church friends, let’s have community, but let’s be sure it is one focused on redemption. My Baptist friends, let’s focus more on convincing pagans than Presbyterians. And, my charismatic friends, let’s focus less on getting existing believers to speak in tongues and more on using our tongue to tell others about Jesus

If you want to convince me (and the body of Christ) to your cause, you must show me it is a better way. You must tell and show something different. You must not just protest what is, but you must show me what should be.

hat tip to Vitamin Z

while we are at Vitamin Z, here is a quote from D.A. Carson that may be related to what Ed is talking about:

“For complex reasons many in the Western church came to speak of ‘the simple gospel’, by which they at one time meant the gospel summarized in convenient and simple form, usually for evangelistic purposes. The result is that for many today ‘the gospel’ or ‘gospel preaching’ refers not to the glorious, comprehensive good news disclosed in scripture but to a very simple (some would say simplistic) reduction of it. Some churches distinguished between ‘worship services’ and ‘gospel services’: one wonders which term, ‘worship’ or ‘gospel’, has been more seriously abused. Doubtless the motives behind these developments were often excellent. But the fact remains that a variety of serious problems were thereby introduced. For many, evangelistic preaching became identified with simplistic preaching. Worse, ‘the gospel’ came to be associated in their minds exclusively with the initial steps of faith rather than with God’s comprehensive good news that not only initiates salvation but orders all our life in this world and the next.”

–D. A. Carson, “The Biblical Gospel,” in For Such a Time as This: Perspectives on Evangelicalism, Past, Present and Future (ed. Steve Brady and Harold Rowdon; London: Evangelical Alliance, 1996), 82.

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