Good evangelism has five common elements by SCOT MCKNIGHT, Christianity Today, 12/9/20.
Priscilla Pope-Levison’s new book she provides and discusses (chapter-length discussions) eight models, and here they are:
- Personal: one on one
- Small group: 8-12 for a focused study on the gospel
- Visitation: knocking on doors, neighbors, initiating conversations
- Liturgical: church calendar as opportunity to integrate gospeling
- Church growth: new ports of entry
- Prophetic: challenging to pursue gospel in word and deed and public
- Revival: organized crowd with music and evangelism and invitation and follow-up
- Media: using various media
Which is your most preferred model?
I will not on this blog go through each of these because I’m encouraging you to get ahold of this book, read it, and devour it. It could make a fantastic 6-8 week adult Bible class or Sunday School class.
She treats each model with kind hands and careful definitions and fair evaluations. This is no book griping about #1 and #5 and #7 and instead suggesting we should all be part of #4 and knock it all off. No, she knows there’s good in each and God has used each. (Think of our posts now on missional theology: If God is the God of mission then God is at work in all the models.)
But what I thought was also fantastic about Priscilla’s book is how she ties it altogether into five major practices and habits of those who engage well in evangelism.
She uses the term “good” and so I add that the Hebrew is “tov” and this is what tov evangelism and tov evangelists look like. They practice five qualities. They are the “gold standard of an evangelistic endeavor.”
- Practice hospitality
- Form relationships
- Live with integrity
- Bear the Christian message
- Root it all in a local Christian church.
By Matthew Bates, Christianity Today, 4/21/20.
… 1. Basic fallacies of biblical interpretation regarding “gospel” (euangelion). Greg Gilbert, John Piper (The Future of Justification, p. 86-91), and those who follow their line of thought combine two well-known errors of biblical interpretation. A simplistic treatment of roots (the “root fallacy” or etymological error) causes them to pay insufficient attention to the ancient context. Because the word euangelion comes from eu- (“good”) and angelion (“tidings” or “message”), they assume that it must mean good news for you and me personally or it simply can’t mean “good news.” Yet in the NT and its world euangelion frequently refers to a royal announcement, such as news of a new king, for the general public quite apart from whether that announcement would result in good for you or me personally. That is, the good in good news is not intrinsically a personal good.
For example, when Vespasian became Caesar, this was heralded as good news (euangelia) for the empire before he had done anything good or bad, without regard for his intentions toward specific individuals (Josephus, Jewish War 4.618, 4.656). Everyone knew Vespasian’s ascension meant that some specific individuals would benefit and others would be condemned. Yet in the ancient world it was still appropriate to call such events “good news” for the empire as a whole irrespective of individual outcomes. Accordingly, Gilbert’s claim, “For it to be good news, we have to know what this king intends to do—whether he intends to crush or to save, to condemn or to forgive,” is not based on accurate research.
In fact, the first time this word euangelion appears in the Bible, we see why. A herald brought what he considered to be “good news” of Saul’s defeat and death to David, but David had the man put to death (2 Sam 4:10). It is still called “good news” in Scripture even though David had the man killed for delivering it! Since an individual is crushed and condemned by the king, this is precisely the opposite of what Gilbert says must define the essence of good news. It proved to be supremely bad news for this man; yet the herald’s message is called “good news” in Scripture because the herald was referring to events of kingdom-wide significance that he considered good news. And this was ordinary usage. This is but one of many examples that shows that Gilbert’s argument is invalid.
Yes, Jesus is a supremely good king (on which, see Joshua Jipp, Christ Is King). But the kindness or malice of the king toward specific individuals did not control how the word euangelion referred in the New Testament’s world. It referred to empire-wide good news apart from what that news might mean for this or that specific citizen. Gilbert’s and Piper’s conclusion otherwise is based on a simplistic construal of the word roots as that is combined with a failure to take into account the ancient context sufficiently.
2. “Gospel” reference failure. But the problem for Gilbert’s and other T4G/TGC leaders’ version of the gospel is even more severe. The word “gospel” cannot successfully refer at all in the New Testament if it means what they think it means. Gilbert’s definition of the gospel makes each individual’s own personal justification intrinsic to the gospel itself rather than a benefit that derives from it.
I think I am summarizing him fairly when I say that for Gilbert, the gospel is God is righteous, you (inclusive of each individual) are a sinner, but by dying an atoning death for your sins Jesus Christ has justified you, so you must respond with faith and repentance (see Gilbert, What Is the Gospel?). The justification of each unsaved “you” is intrinsically part of the gospel for Gilbert. But that would mean that when Jesus is proclaiming the gospel in the NT, then each future unsaved Christian’s unique justification is being proclaimed as part of the referent within his message. So if I you or I am not yet “saved,” it refers to “you” and to “me” even though we haven’t yet been born. But that doesn’t make sense, does it?
The truth is this: when we find the word “gospel” in the New Testament, the gospel is not about me (it does not refer to me), but the gospel’s promises are for everyone, including me. If I choose to accept the gospel, its benefits, like justification, adoption, and forgiveness, are applied to me by the Holy Spirit.
3. Failure to distinguish the objective work of the Christ for a group from its subjective appropriation by an individual. Here I am speaking only to Gilbert rather than the other T4G/TGC leaders I’ve mentioned, as this is a problem with his analysis, but I don’t know how far it extends. Part of the gospel is that “the Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3). The saving work of the king has been decisively accomplished on behalf of his people. But that doesn’t mean each individual who will become a Christian has yet experienced it.
Salvation is about a group of people first, individuals second. The clearest statements describing the purpose of the gospel in Scripture indicate that it is “for the obedience of pistis in all the nations.” This is best understood as loyal obedience or allegiance to Jesus as the Messiah, the lord, the king (see Rom. 1:2-5, 16:25-26; Bates, Gospel Allegiance, p. 68-73). God’s purpose is to create a people for himself. After his enthronement as king, Jesus pours out the Spirit on a group, filling each individual. When each person initially enters salvation, she or he does not enter in isolation. The justified church always exists prior. As the Father and Son send the Spirit to the church, upon our declaration of allegiance (ordinarily at baptism) we are enveloped into the justified Spirit-filled community in such a way that we are justified and have the Spirit too. There is an objective/corporate dimension (the church exists as a justified community) and subjective/individual dimension (a person is not justified until they enter it).
Here’s another way to look at it. The classic theological distinction is between the historia salutis (God’s saving deeds in history) and the ordo salutis (the sequence by which an individual comes to experience salvation). Even though some versions of the ordo salutisare problematic (see Bates, Salvation by Allegiance Alone, p. 166-75 for discussion), nevertheless one can say that on the cross Jesus won justification objectively through his accomplished work as part of salvation history for whoever ultimately comes to be found “in him.” That can never change. The possibilityand promise that we can be justified by faith is part of the gospel in this sense. Yet an individual does not experience the saving benefit of justification until she or he gives trusting loyalty to Jesus as king. That is, subjective personal appropriation of salvation is not part of the gospel proper, but rather one of its applied benefits. An individual’s justification is part of the gospel as a potentiality, but not as a realized actuality.
4. Faulty method leads to a faulty frame and center. I don’t want to beat a dead horse, since McKnight has already taken Gilbert to task over this here and here (and in The King Jesus Gospel). The best method for defining the gospel is to look at the passages of Scripture that give explicit gospel content as well as the overall structure of the Four Gospels (e.g., Mark 1:14-15; Luke 4:18-19; Rom. 1:2-4, 1 Cor. 15:3-5; 2 Tim. 2:8; the sermons in Acts). This is what I do in Gospel Allegiance. When we do this, we find that it is a narrative about how Jesus became the saving king.
The gospel is that Jesus the king:
1. preexisted as God the Son,
2. was sent by the Father,
3. took on human flesh in fulfillment of God’s promises to David,
4. died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
5. was buried,
6. was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
7. appeared to many witnesses,
8. is enthroned at the right hand of God as the ruling Christ,
9. has sent the Holy Spirit to his people to effect his rule, and
10. will come again as final judge to rule.
(Bates, Gospel Allegiance, p. 86-87)
This narrative has a climax rather than a center: Jesus has become the saving king.
Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Flavil Yeakley, a colleague and former PhD graduate of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, studied factors that contribute to people accepting Christ as their Lord and Savior. Not surprisingly, he found that a friend, who listens is the most effective carrier of the Good News. He also found that sharing the Good News follows a “process” model. For more on this see the review by Dr. Kwasi Kena of my book, Review of “Spiritual Waypoints: Helping Others Navigate the Journey”.
Here are Dr. Yeakley’s words:
Separation of Church and Cubicle: Religion in the Workplace,
University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business, 4/30/15,
Where to Draw the Line
… There is a case to be made for bringing religion into the workplace, experts say. Religion makes people happier, and happier means more productive. Employees who are permitted to discuss religion openly at work report having higher job-satisfaction levels, according to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior.
The study, “Applying Models of Employee Identity Management Across Cultures: Christianity in the USA and South Korea,” was authored by Simon Fraser University professor Brent Lyons, University of Maryland professor Jennifer Wessel, University of Hawaii, Manoa, professor Sonia Ghumman, Michigan State University professor Ann Marie Ryan and Kansas State University doctoral student Sooyeol Kim.
Employees who are permitted to discuss religion openly at work report having higher job-satisfaction levels, according to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior.
The study looked at a sampling of workers who identified as Christian, and found that pressure to conform and reduce self-expression had a distancing effect on workplace dynamics. “Engagement in distancing strategies relates to negative outcomes in both the [U.S.] and South Korea, including increased turnover intentions and reduced job satisfaction and well-being,” the researchers noted. They advised that managers should foster a tolerant environment that allows workers to “affirm” their religion.
But what happens when one employee’s increase in happiness means another’s discontent? Is proselytizing just a form of self-expression? “People are more inclined to bring their whole selves to work,” says Stewart Friedman, director of Wharton’s Work/Life Integration Project. “It’s about family; it’s about who you are as a person. The problem with some religions is that they can be divisive, and so where it seems to me to make sense to draw the line is if you are professing your religious beliefs and that causes harm to other people. That’s a problem.”
Workers did not arrive at this place entirely on their own. One workplace trend has specifically encouraged them to bring their personality to work — the push for authenticity. “I am really troubled by the simplicity of bringing your whole self to work,” says Rothbard. “The fact of the matter is, it is difficult and complex to bring your whole self to work, and people who do it successfully are doing it carefully.”
Smooth integration of religion into the workplace is a fairly limited phenomenon, says Wharton professor of legal studies and business ethics Amy Sepinwall. One example is the small business — say, a kosher butcher, where everyone is the same religion and no employee needs special permission to take off on the Sabbath. Here, “there can be a great sense of comfort or ease for the employees as well as management,” says Sepinwall. The other format that works is when an employer of a more heterogeneous workforce holds prayer meetings or religious events, but does not compel anyone to attend. “All of that is to say that I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to have religious practice in the workplace,” she notes. “But I could see that it could become alienating if the practice is enforced.”
by Bob Whitesel, 3/4/15.
A former student in my “Growing a Multi-Generational Church” course once said, “Once the message (Good News) gets into the culture, then it is like an infection and spreads more rapidly, easily.”
- build multiple bridges to a culture
- across which the Good News can travel
- more quickly
- and concurrently.
Here is a downloadable version of Donald McGavran’s seminal article on “The Bridges of God:”
(From The Bridges of God [Revised Edition] by Donald Anderson McGavran. Published in the United Kingdom by World Dominion Press, 1955. Revised edition 1981. Distributed in the United States by Friendship Press, New York. Used by permission.)
Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “N. T. Wright points out in his new book, that the words ‘Good News’ do not mean merely a message – but the transformed lives and new way of living that this message creates. This is a premise behind my book ‘Spiritual Waypoints.” Check out Scot McKnight’s excellent overview N. T. Wright’s latest book Simply Good News to understand how the term ‘Good News’ is much more robust and encompassing than you may have realized.”
Simply Good News: NT Wright’s New Book
by: Scot McKnight, Jan 12, 2015
C.S. Lewis sketched “mere” Christianity in those famous radio talks after World War 2 and the literary deposit, Mere Christianity, has shaped the mind of many of us. Then along came John Stott who “evangelicalized” Lewis’ book in his book Basic Christianity. Then along came England’s third contributor to this basics discussion with Simply Christian, followed by Simply Jesus (filled out in his How God Became King) and now by Simply Good News. Of the three, I like the word “mere” best but Wright’s books have overpowered both Lewis and Stott because he has expanded those studies and set it all in a firmer historical orientation.
Now to Simply Good News, Wright’s recent contribution — yes, a study of the gospel. [Image credit] To repeat what I have said a number of times, most often in The King Jesus Gospel and also in Kingdom Conspiracy, many assume today they know what the gospel is but can be quite surprised when someone points them to a text like 2 Timothy 2:8 (“Remember Jesus Christ, who was raised from the dead and descended from David. This is my good news.”). Wright is pressing against the reduction of gospel in various contexts in our world today.
Commentary from Dr. Whitesel; “This research article published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior indicates that people who share their faith at work, are happier than those who try to keep their faith to themselves. Read more of this interesting research below.”
Study finds that employees who are open about religion are happier
By the editors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 12/17/14
MANHATTAN, KANSAS — It may be beneficial for employers to not only encourage office Christmas parties but also celebrate holidays and festivals from a variety of religions, according to a Kansas State University researcher.
Sooyeol Kim, doctoral student in psychological sciences, was involved in a collaborative study that found that employees who openly discuss their religious beliefs at work are often happier and have higher job satisfaction than those employees who do not.
“For many people, religion is the core of their lives,” Kim said. “Being able to express important aspects of one’s life can influence work-related issues, such as job satisfaction, work performance or engagement. It can be beneficial for organizations to have a climate that is welcoming to every religion and culture.”
Kim said employers might even want to consider a religion-friendly policy or find ways to encourage religious expression. For example, organizations could have an office Christmas party, but also could celebrate and recognize other religious holidays and dates, such as Hanukkah, Ramadan or Buddhist holidays.
Kim has studied organizational psychology and is a co-author on a Journal of Organizational Behavior article, “Applying models of employee identity management across cultures: Christianity in the USA and South Korea.”
Other co-authors on the study include Brent Lyons, assistant professor of management and organization studies at Simon Fraser University; Jennifer Wessel, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Maryland; Sonia Ghumman, assistant professor of management at the University of Hawaii, Manoa; and Ann Marie Ryan, professor of psychology at Michigan State University.
For the cross-cultural study, the researchers surveyed nearly 600 working adults from a variety of industries — including education and finance — in the U.S. and South Korea. The surveyed employees were all Christian, but identified with a variety of denominations, including Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist, among others.
The researchers asked participants how important religion was to them and how it helped to shape their identity.
Results showed that employees who valued religion as a core part of their lives were more likely to disclose their religion in the workplace. Employees who felt pressure to assimilate in the workplace were less likely to disclose their religious identity, Kim said.
But most significantly, the researchers found that the employees who disclosed their religion in the workplace had several positive outcomes, including higher job satisfaction and higher perceived well-being.
“Disclosing your religion can be beneficial for employees and individual well-being,” Kim said. “When you try to hide your identity, you have to pretend or you have to lie to others, which can be stressful and negatively impact how you build relationships with co-workers.”
Kim said there are several ways employees can share their religion in the workplace. Employees might decorate their desk with a religious object, such as a cross or a calendar. They also may share stories or information about their religious beliefs during conversation, such as describing a church-related event.
The researchers found no major differences between the U.S. and Korean samples. They also found no major differences between industries, but Kim said that an organization’s culture also might play a role in determining if employees disclose their religion…