“Did they offer a clear presentation of the Gospel?” I ruminate on this question posed by a friend years ago. You could say it was a litmus test for trusting new voices. I am sure my friend intended, “Did they get it right about Jesus?” I think.
On the one hand the question seemed to imply all Gospel proclamation is necessarily the same, not context needed. On the other hand, the question pointed to a need to understand how the Gospel intersects real life. There is no singular presentation. What is clear about the Gospel in one setting, may not be so clear in another.
Despite the questions raised by Brian McLaren’s recent writing projects he wrote More Ready Than You Realize to describe the ways the Gospel may be proclaimed without necessarily learning a script, offering a canned program. Some may find David Fitch and Geoff Holsclaw’s forthcoming book, Prodigal Christianity, to take a similar trajectory with a greater interest in proclaiming the gospel in neighborhoods, or where we live.
Learning to listen, be present, and available to one another and the Holy Spirit is the pretext for any such proclamation. It is not a program, it is part of everyday life. It is only by living among that we can find the right words to proclaim. Yet we must understand we are speaking “reality” into people’s lives by the Spirit and we too are being challenged and changed in the process. This dynamic of proclamation I believe has been lost because a.) our preaching has become limited to a teaching exercise, and b.) we have limited the gospel so narrowly we have lost many if not all the entry points with our culture. I hope to address some of these issues in forthcoming posts.
Fitch and Holsclaw offer four proclamations as starters to proclamation in our neighborhoods.
- God Is Reconciling You In All Your Relationships
- God Is At Work
- God Has Put the Power of Sin to Death and Is Calling You Into Life
- God Is Calling You Into Mission
David offers a follow up, Proclaiming the Gospel as Reality Creating Event: or 3 reasons why this is not your parent’s evangelism.