Ed Stetzer:- Evangelism And Culture

Link

Introduction

In USA Today, Ed Stetzer outlines a couple of points that he thinks stumps Christianity in evangelizing.

 

Foreward

Evangelical culture is an unending story of engagement, retreat when pressures intensify and regret at our failure to achieve any lasting change.

Who is Ed Stetzer?

Ed Stetzer is Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College.

He is also the Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center at the same college, Wheaton College.

 

Points

Empowering

Listening without empowering others to speak authoritatively makes it seem they have tangibly less to contribute.

 

Internal obstacles to evangelicalism

The greatest obstacles to evangelicalism are internal to the movement. In writing on the evangelical movement for nearly 20 years, a recurring truth is that its biggest problem is not from external subversion. To be sure, there are many non-Christian leaders or ideologies that threaten to co-opt the mission of the church.

However, the greatest obstacles to the flourishing of the evangelical movement – particularly in regards to substantively engaging our failings on race – have arisen from within.

Few events capture this truth as much as the debate around critical race theory. As with broader American society, recent evangelical discussions of race have been dominated by the specter of CRT. Efforts by some evangelicals to weaponize words like CRT and social justice as buzz words for dangerous ideology only fortify the barricades and cripple fruitful discussion among orthodox believers about the existence of systemic sin and injustice. Indeed, McDowell’s comments stem from his participation in this criticism.

When church leaders reduce complex ideas to simplistic buzzwords, the end result is always irrational fear and suspicion rather than honest dialogue. There are legitimate concerns about CRT, and I – and many others – have been discussing CRT’s challenges and shortcomings.

Christians would be wise to reflect carefully on it – as well as any academic tool – and how it intersects or conflicts with their faith. But leaders need to recognize how this simplistic and excessive repeated attack has yet again thwarted any efforts to engage issues of race. And before you attack what I just said, make sure you read the next point.

 

Biblical understandings of race

A biblical understanding of race is not silent or neutral but celebratory.

Where McDowell is correct, and where evangelicals can find unity, is in looking to Scripture as the lens for an understanding of race. As Christians, we believe God’s word is sufficient to teach us how to relate to one another, and our reconciliation with Christ is what opens the door for reconciliation with each other.

However, it is important to recognize that Scripture does not flatten race into a homogenized culture. It is an enduring exegetical mistake of many evangelicals to depict Scripture as reinforcing a “color-blind” approach to race.

Throughout Scripture, God consistently upends prejudice, particularly when it arises because of racial or ethnic biases. Yet beyond simply rejecting prejudice, Scripture presents a positive interpretation of race as holding a distinctive place within the kingdom of God.

At Pentecost in Acts 2, the miraculous arrival of the Holy Spirit leads to an understanding of diverse languages.

This gathering then foreshadows Scriptures depiction of heaven where every tongue, tribe, and nation make up the choir of eternal praise ( Revelation 7:9 ).

In both instances, God’s presence works through rather than collapses cultural diversity.

Both our worship and our witness are made more perfect when we model Gospel-centered diversity.

 

Scripture

  1. Acts
    • Acts 2:4 – The Holy Spirit at Pentecost ( Link )
      • And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
    • Acts 2:10 – The Holy Spirit at Pentecost ( Link )
      • …Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,  Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism; Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”…
    • Acts 2:17 – Peter Preaches to the Crowd ( Link )
      • …‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
    • Acts 2:18 – Peter Preaches to the Crowd ( Link )
      • Even on My menservants and maidservants, I will pour out My Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.
  2.  Revelation
    • Revelation 7:9 – Praise from the Great Multitude
      • from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000, from the tribe of Joseph 12,000, and from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.
      • After this I looked and saw a multitude too large to count, from every nation and tribe and people and tongue, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.
      • They were wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.
      • And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”…

Beloved

Beloved.

Never allow the evil one to get in the way of your ask:-

Father God:-

What must I do to be saved?

And, if saved, what tooling do you provide to safeguard my salvation?

I can not get beyond my sins of commission and omission.

Understanding my daily stumbling, though I be clapped for, Heaven does not need “more of me“.

Father God, my one ask, is more of you:-

You must always increase ( ), and I must always decrease ( Arrow pointing down Vector Image - 1870517 | StockUnlimited )
( John 3:30 )

We do not have anything to negotiate your decrease.

We can not bargain our way into increasing.

We can never graduate into sufficiency.

Please pull and prune us, Lord.

Otherwise, we stand fully in the way of your reach, your outreach, and your reconciliatory overtures.

A continual pulling aside.

Not to Sin & Perversion.

Yet, not in the way of your gentle and sweet Spirit.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s