Adapting our Witness to the Age

The Gospel hasn’t changed and doesn’t change, but our witness to it can and must be adapted to the times. Why and How for our Now !?!?!

I grew up in the era of Evangelism Explosion (EE) a method of sharing the Gospel that felt somewhat like selling used cars. I say that, making that association, because I became an EE trainer at the same time I was selling used cars for a dealership in Oregon. The crossover of techniques for closing the sale were beyond obvious. EE worked very well in a era when most Amercans felt like that should (ought to) be followers of Christ and live a moral life. That is no longer true of our American culture.

You have to get them lost before you can get them saved… The EE method includes the idea that someone must become convinced they’re spiritually lost before they can become convinced to become saved. Frankly, I’m not sure the method truly accomplished it’s intended outcome on a regular basis but it did aid in creating a church culture of nominal Christians who prayed a prayer for salvation but continue to live with disregard for the moral teachings of Jesus Christ.

As we percieve that guilt (even though rightly owned) is no longer felt in our culture, we need to pivot away from presenting Christ that way.

The questions I’ve been asking are: Are you where you want to be in your spiritual life? Are you living daily in the abundant life and the eternal life (John 17:3) of truly intimately knowing God?

For those who claim to be followers of Christ I suggest we meausure whether our discipleship (our apprenticeship to Jesus’ way of life) aligns to his teachings. As Apprentices of Jesus, We are learning from Jesus how to live our lives, as He would, if He lived our individual lives. Does that describe me? Does that describe you?

I heard Dr. Steve Blakemore (Wesley Biblical Seminary) answer a question related to the failure of pray a prayer for salvation style of evangelism. He answered humbly, and so succinctly, so spot-on, that I decided to share it. He made the statement in a course on Moral Theology and the Gospel, speaking off the cuff, per se. I have slightly edited the content to smooth out its off the cuff-ness to simply what he was communicating.

I think, especially [when] communicating in the West to younger generations of people, you can talk until you’re blue in the face to try to convince somebody that they’re a sinner who stands before the judgment of God but people in the West. especially in America at least. and probably in Europe as well, have no concept of sin anymore.
When you say to someone that they sin, they say “I’m not a sinner. I haven’t killed anybody.”  But if we can begin to talk to people about the things that they are in bondage to, and the aspects about their moral lives that haunt them. And, instead of speaking to them in terms of guilt, we were able to talk to them in terms of the fracture of our very souls, our very existence as human beings. And that somehow Jesus Christ came to put us back together. And oh, by the way, that also involves forgiveness. And it involves so much more.
I think, people recognize that they don’t have peace of mind. They don’t have comfort. They know that there are things that are disjointed in their lives –now. Not everybody will [acknowledge it] but there are plenty of people that (if we would learn how to speak the gospel, and we could take a kind of moral theology approach about human flourishing, human wholeness –and move from there to the issue of human guilt and human need for forgiveness from God. I think we might find ourselves in a much better place to then be able to offer the wholeness and the fullness of the gospel message. At least, that’s what I think.

Enough said.
Grace & Peace, Tim


Tim Morris is the Director of Ecclesiolae Ministries Foundation, cofounded with Julie Morris. Ecclesiolae seeks to support Christians in their Spiritual Formation, Strengthening Ministry Marriages, and expanding the growth of MicroChurches within MegaChurches. Tim earned a BS in Business Management and completes an MA in Theology, from Wesley Biblical Seminary in the Spring of 2024.

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