The Process of Evangelization
Here is an aside from the December 17 update of "Debugging Manipulation" that I think is worth calling special attention to here:
An aside. I mentioned in the second paragraph that Conviction is the set of thoughts generated by the Holy Spirit in the mind of the unbeliever that are intended to convince him to be saved. When coupled with the doctrine of Total Depravity, we see the impossiblity of the mind of the natural man to generate the thoughts that represent true conviction. This should lead us to abandon the delusion of our being able to "debate" or "convince" people to be saved, as well as disabuse us of the delusion that we "convinced" or "won" repentant sinners to Christ. This understanding necessarily dictates a change in our Evangelization strategy to one more along the lines suggested by Blackaby and King in their book "Experiencing God", who suggest that one "experiences God" and discerns His Will by looking for evidence of God's working in the natural world that matches certain criteria outlined in scriptures. If we liken the Church to an army and our current situation in this world as a war, then our task is not to "independently launch sorties" against the enemy by proactively witnessing and preaching. Rather, we should wait for promptings from the Holy Spirit and "run to the sound of the guns" when someone formerly resistant to the Gospel and who knows we are Christians suddenly starts talking about God and religion in a receptive way. The latter case is clear evidence that the Spirit is working in the heart of the atheist, and our confidence in being able to "help birth" a new believer will be directly proportional to our relationship with the Holy Spirit as He works with us. This is not to say that evangelists are obsolete, but should be viewed in the "army of God" as "Special Forces" units that create the situations and opportunities that we "regular grunts" exploit. It appears that our current post-modern world resists attempts by men to sell them God, but is incredibly receptive and appreciative if informed that God Himself, in the form of the Holy Spirit, is miraculously interacting with them at that very moment. We need to adopt the strategy that Philip adopted when he told Nathanael about Jesus being the Messiah, and who, when met with skepticism, invited him to come see Jesus for himself: If Jesus/God cannot sell Himself to someone, then what hope do we have of succeeding where God fails? In 2 Timothy 2:24-26, Paul's advice to Timothy with regard to evangelization talks about meekness while trying to help those who oppose themselves and are taken in the snare of the Devil. This meekness is not toward the sinners Timothy is trying to reach, but toward God who, in response to Timothy's work with the lost, "peradventure give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, and recover themselves out of the snare of the devil." Paul is clear about his view of the process of salvation: He (and Timothy) are to preach without any delusions of their ability to convert any hearers, but meekly submits to the timing and will of God for the necessary impartation of repentance to the wicked that comes from God alone. When they acknowledge the truth and are saved, they obtain the Holy Spirit which brings the authority to cast out demons. They then "recover themselves ouf\t the snare of the devil" by "casting the rascals out" as the first "miracle" that they work as believers. Our job is to tell them that they can do it and are supposed to do it.
2011-01-02 03:00:00 by Gerald