Thursday, April 20, 2006

Do you know any "real" pagans?

Last night in our prayer meeting we mentioned several straight-forward, practical points for ministering in a pagan culture from D.A. Carson’s excellent book, The Gagging of God:

1. Develop relationships with pagans. “Many Christians, not least Christian preachers, simply do not know any out and out pagans. It is time they did. They should rearrange priorities and befriend some of them. When more and more people think of church as alien, the only way, humanly speaking, that people are going to attend public services and hear the gospel well articulated the context of a worshiping community is if friends invite them.”

2. Be bold and humble. “This is not an invitation to discourtesy. But boldness, coupled with an unassuming humility that conveys the impression that Christians are only beggars telling others where there is bread, will always elicit better attention than the half-embarrassed, semi-apologetic bearing of the person who is more frightened of people that of the living God.”

3. Expository Preaching. "In my view, it is usually best (though there are exceptional circumstances that overturn this preference) that . . . sermons be expository messages, not topical ones. . . . This approach is wiser than the purely topical approach with minimal reference to biblical texts because (1) it directs people’s attention to the Bible, not to the preacher, and, if done properly draws them into reading the Bible for themselves, and (2) by directing people to think through texts, the preacher is helping them to linearly, coherently, through God’s gracious self-disclosure in human words."

4. Trust God for outcomes. “Remember that men and women are not converted, finally, by our oratory, theological brilliance, or homiletical skill. God in his mercy may use all these and many, many more gifts. But only God is able to bring people to himself. That is ample incentive to prayer.”

5. Grow. “Finally, speaking of prayer, it is vitally important to recall how our secular, postmodern society affects those of us who are believers. We may think we are being faithful, when somehow we no longer believe in the God of the Bible—the God who is sovereign, the God hears and answers prayer, the God who alone can save. . . . In other words, it is of paramount importance that those of us who are believers live and breathe in the atmosphere of God-centeredness, of gospel-centeredness. This will drive us to our knees in intercession, and incite us again and again to reform our lives, our churches, and, so far we are able, our world, in line with the Word of God.”

3 comments:

Sandee R said...

I miss Weds nights...

Andy said...

BM,
You are so right. How often we try to "minister" to unbelievers in word only. It does take a relationship with someone to have any credibility to talk to them.

Good post.

ac

N8 said...

Brad,

Great sermon Wed. night. We should definitely spend more time considering how we might encourage one another and help train each other in building relationships with unbelievers; and, more convictingly, how we might lovingly (but honestly) confront each other regarding our sin--fear of man.

It is telling how often these two realities go together, isn't it?

I wonder if you would have any suggestions for reading on this subject?

N8