Sunday, June 01, 2008

My Evangelical Readers Will Be Jealous of Me

I have observed over the years that many evangelicals bemoan the fact that they're no good at evangelism. Either they lack the confidence to share their faith, or they never find themselves in a position to explain what they understand to be the gospel. On Friday night, I got a chance to explain the evangelical understanding of the gospel, even without trying.

To set the scene, I was heading off for a weekend away with a Catholic group and was given a lift to the venue by a girl, along with another passenger. The truth got out that I came from an evangelical upbringing, had been happily evangelical until my early twenties and that I was not yet confirmed as a Catholic. After talking about my background for a little bit longer, one of the girls asked me why a lot of Protestants didn't consider Catholics to be Christians. I outlined the evangelical understanding of the gospel, explaining that a lot of Protestants get very hung up on the idea that Catholics don't believe in salvation by grace through faith and believe that this undermines the sufficiency of Christ's work on the cross. I must confess that I gave a fairly lucid description of the gospel too, which shows that I still haven't lost any of the touch that I had when I was an evangelical myself.

If struck me that evangelicals would get my opportunities to share the gospel if they took an interest in what other people believed and did so with an open mind. Of course, if one wanted to be really cynical, one could simply feign interest, as I suspect most evangelicals do. They could merely pretend they were interested and then press towards the goal. Of course, I suspect that one will get a lot more "opportunities" if they really are interested in the Catholic faith, as I actually am. That said, since there is no room for genuine two-way dialogue in the evangelical understanding of evangelism, contrived and fabricated two-way dialogue shall have to do.

So, to my evangelical friends who are disappointed that they struggle to "share the gospel" with others, consider this: I've probably explained the evangelical gospel to more people than you lately - and I haven't even tried ...

1 comment:

Dave Miers said...

out of interest, what is your current understanding of the gospel? ie - not the evangelical understanding, but your own belief?



ps - hope you had a good weekend.