If you are prone to being offended by my commentary on the church, either redirect your browser to somewhere less controversial or feel free to go here and pick up a few items for the stoning that I sense is heading my way.
Maybe it is just me, but I've noticed recently that most Christians I know are not sharing the gospel anymore. Well, they are sharing something...it's just not the gospel. Seriously...it just seems like most of the Christians I know are not telling anyone the good news of (whispering...) Jesus...Christ.
"Hold on there Fletch...are you saying what I think you are saying? You pointing fingers? Publically? On your blog? You don't know of any Christians sharing the gospel? Well, listen here, Mr. MangoTimes big-mouth...I think you are full of peach juice and limeade! I know plenty of Christians that are out there telling others about what they believe. These are good home-schooling families...doctrinally sound...conservative folks...with obedient, well-tempered children...that know the gospel inside and out...and they are out in the world regularly sharing their beliefs. How is it that you don't see that from your lofty perch in Mangoland?"
I know a lot of these folks too and before you start lobbing quarry rocks, listen to what I'm actually saying.
I said that I don't see many Christians sharing the gospel. I didn't say they weren't busy sharing what they believe. They are definitely busy...only they are busy sharing a LIFESTYLE. There is an enormous difference between sharing a lifestyle and sharing the gospel. One message is based on what HAS BEEN DONE for you and the other is steeped in what YOU MUST DO. Can you see the difference?
There are plenty of individuals and families out sharing what they believe. I've heard friends passionately share their belief in homeschooling. I've heard people share how they arrived at allowing God to bless them with a quiverful of children. I've heard parents share why they believe in worshiping corporately with their kids. Some believe in the perfect liturgy. Others believe in what they deem proper music. There are those that share what they believe to be right about their denomination. Others have strong beliefs in their version of the Bible. Some believe strongly in the correct political party. Today's Christians believe in their list of the really bad sins. They believe in what they deem proper modest attire. They believe in the perfect curriculum. They believe in their theology. The list could go on and on of what they believe and how they practice their faith and they are bold messengers of what they think and how they live!
These "lifestyle evangelists" are not sharing the gospel! Their time and their focus is given to convincing others to follow them and to adopt their choices. Instead of providing hope to the hopeless, they encourage others to "be the same as them and DO the same as them." Know what I mean? It goes something like this: "We're Christians...we follow Christ...let me show you how we live our lives and why we've made these choices in life," instead of "We follow Christ, let me tell you who He is and what He did!"
I realize that I am oversimplifying things here, but that is how we do things at theMangoTimes. We provide gross generalizations and leave it to you to refine our comments and find the truth in what is being said. In general, I don't find anything wrong in sharing your life with others, I do it here on theMangoTimes regularly. But, it's not the gospel, it has no power in and of itself to save you or spare you. It might help and improve your life, but that's not the gospel! As Christians, our instructions were not to convert people to a lifestyle of modern evangelicalism or rigid orthodoxy, we were instructed to share the good news and to give others a reason for the hope we have.
Lastly, I'm not stupid. I recognize that there are some believers who know and speak of the gospel regularly, only I see them doing that typically with other Christians. Don't get me wrong, I believe the gospel needs to be repeated to believers (regularly!) and that's one of the reasons I am a huge advocate of weekly communion. It gives both believers and unbelievers hope.f
How about you? Are you busy telling others the good news of Christ's finished work on the cross? His redemption of sinners? Or have you fallen into the trap of sharing a lifestyle with others? One has the power to save, the other is just busy work!
I guess what I'm saying is that more folks(myself included) need to share less of their own story and their own lifestyle choices, and share more of Christ's story and more of his lifestyle.
Kelly's comment below led me back to her site where I saw a great little video about Penn Gillette (Penn and Teller) and his interaction with a Christian after a show. It's worth the watch!
Quiely Making Noise,