Showing posts with label Evangelism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Evangelism. Show all posts

Friday, February 16, 2024

Too Hot to Handle: Speaking Out of Turn

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

If the quotation in this Breitbart article is even close to accurate, the head of the Roman Catholic church has just thrown one of the most important principles of first century Christian faith under the bus:

“The last thing I should do is to try to convince an unbeliever. Never. The last thing I should do is speak.”

Tom: So now the most revered figure in one of the world’s biggest branches of Christianity insists all testimony to Christ must be non-verbal. What do you think of that, IC?

Friday, January 05, 2024

Too Hot to Handle: Friendship and Testimony

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Earlier this season, TV host Ellen Degeneres took some serious flack for sitting side by side with former U.S. President George Bush at an NFL game in Dallas, especially because she and Bush appeared to be having a good time with one another. Twitter promptly erupted into the usual outrage-fest, with commenters calling Bush a “war criminal” and so on, obliging Degeneres to defend herself:

“I’m friends with George Bush. In fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have. We’re all different and I think we’ve forgotten that that’s okay that we’re all different.”

Tom: No shortage of Christians expressed approval of Degeneres’ comments.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Language Armageddon

Our thought life is a function of our vocabulary. Think about that ... assuming you are able.

Anthropologist and author Christopher Hallpike has observed that it is remarkably difficult, perhaps impossible, to communicate effectively or even think lucidly about something for which one’s language has no words. Societies do not generally have words for concepts they don’t use, items they have never seen or beliefs they haven’t developed.

A higher vocabulary generally reflects higher intelligence, and a shriveled vocabulary limits one’s ability to think and understand beyond the most basic level.

Friday, June 09, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Abandoning Evangelism

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Relevant Magazine says the results of this new study by Barna are shocking.

Tom: I’m more inclined to nod sadly at the obvious, I guess, which is this: 47% of millennials believe evangelizing others is … wrong.

I’m not sure why anyone is surprised. We live in a society that prizes tolerance, inclusivity and a sort of pseudo-respect for the traditions and culture of others above all else. On top of that, the vast majority of Christians have allowed their children to grow up in an environment that propagandizes them from 9:00 to 3:15 five days a week for most of their formative years.

What exactly did we think would happen, Immanuel Can?

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Making the World Sweat

“When the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city.”

Progressives want to tear apart society, ostensibly in order to build a better one, though they can’t tell us how they plan to do that. But they are convinced the existing system is unreformably corrupt, and that oppressed humanity will prosper under a different and better one.

Postmillennialists believe much the same thing, really.

Thursday, November 03, 2022

Media and the Gospel

“The medium is the message”, said the great philosopher of mass media, Marshall McLuhan.

It’s his most oft-quoted line, since it’s so often true. When you have a message to send, you’ve got to be very careful about the form (i.e. the “method” or “medium”) in which you’re sending it, or the message itself can become horribly distorted.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Lies, Myths and Misinformation: Missionaries Are Destructive

The modern, secularist, Leftist legend goes like this: missionaries are evil.

And why?

Because they were really nothing more than shock troops for colonialism. Being the first into remote areas, they led the way for merchants and the military to exploit vulnerable native cultures. And so, they conclude, we Christians should all be ashamed of the work done by missionaries in the past; and today, we definitely should not sponsor missionary efforts abroad.

Friday, December 03, 2021

Too Hot to Handle: Culture and the Gospel

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Immanuel Can: I’m going to temporarily suspend our self-imposed five-sentence limit, Tom, in order to tell you a story about something that happened last year when our provincial standardized test was performed.

You need to know that teachers are all given a specific script for what they are and are not allowed to tell students on the day of the test. They are expressly forbidden to go beyond this script, and doing so is grounds for firing. Teachers cannot add any directions, explanations, definitions or any other kind of information to this. They are not allowed to give any guidance once the test begins, no matter what a student wants or needs. It’s standardized, period.

One of the questions on the test asked kids to imagine a picnic, and then write based on their imagining.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Witnessing and Misdirection

Most falsehoods don’t come with handy labels
Put them on the spot, and people won’t always tell the truth.

They may throw up smokescreens, use cover stories, ask questions they don’t really want answered, tell outright lies — engage in every variety of misdirection.

This comes as no surprise to anyone with the gift of evangelism, or anyone without it who tries to talk to people about the Lord. Where the subject of faith is concerned, it takes wisdom and experience to discern what really matters.

At least initially, people tend to be least candid about the things that mean the most.

Friday, January 03, 2020

Too Hot to Handle: Speaking Out of Turn

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, December 06, 2019

Too Hot to Handle: Friendship and Testimony

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Too Hot to Handle: Globalism and Censorship

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil?
[This post is slightly over four years old, but is starting to look a bit prescient in some respects and a little naive in others — Ed.]

Two legal rulings I came across this week have implications not just for this blog, but for all Christians on the internet.

The first is a ruling from European Union regulators that internet users in its member states have a “right to be forgotten”. Google has complied by instructing all its Blogger users worldwide to post a notice giving EU users information about the use of cookies on blogs originating in Canada, the US and everywhere else. In Europe, 90,000 requests for the removal of links and stories are already being processed and European regulators are now arguing the removals should be global, not just in Europe.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Friday, February 22, 2019

Too Hot to Handle: Abandoning Evangelism

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Too Hot to Handle: Culture and the Gospel

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Too Hot to Handle: EDM in the ‘Sanctuary’

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

4GW and the Church

Have you read anything about 4GW? It’s an interesting study.

4GW is short for Fourth-Generation Warfare, a term first used in 1989 by a team of U.S. military analysts to describe conflict characterized, as Infogalactic puts it, by a “blurring of the lines between war and politics, combatants and civilians”.

In simplest terms, a 4G war is any conflict in which one of the actors is not a state but a sub-population of some sort, ethnic or otherwise. 4GW’s goals are usually complex and long term, and may be achieved through guerrilla tactics, terrorism, psy-ops, economic pressure, media manipulation and/or other non-traditional means.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Too Hot to Handle: Why I Don’t Share My Faith

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Tom: I’ve just finished wading through a list of reasons why Christians don’t share their faith. Here’s what Daniel Darling says keeps him from spilling what he knows about the person of Christ to a needy world:
  1. We don’t share our faith because we don’t realize we have a mission
  2. We don’t share our faith because we misunderstand our mission
  3. We don’t share our faith because we misunderstand the Holy Spirit’s mission
  4. We don’t share our faith because we misunderstand what it means to be a friend of the world
  5. We don’t share our faith because we are ashamed of our identity
Immanuel Can, when I fail to share my faith, it is usually because I’m scared of messing up my next line. So I overthink it, and suddenly the conversation is over and I’ve gotten nowhere significant.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Dawn of the Pod People

If you’ve ever watched a science fiction flick, you’ve probably seen people in pods.

Maybe they were traveling to another galaxy in suspended animation. Maybe they were hooked up to a computer matrix, bamboozled into believing in a counterfeit reality. Maybe they jumped into a one-man escape capsule to hide from aliens with freaky extensible jaws. Whatever the story logic, the image of people in personal life support units is near-universal in the sci-fi genre.

And hey, we’re living it.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Media and the Gospel

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Commentariat Speaks (4)

Broken Arrow asks a perfectly sensible question:

“Pretend for a minute you are a 28 year old, white male, Millennial. Your current girlfriend had an abortion when she was 19, owes $24,000 in student loans for a worthless degree, and works as a receptionist for $16 an hour. You owe a little less but have been in and out of work since 2008. You have a college degree in Computer Science, but most of your money has been made in manual labor after your job was outsourced, which is pretty good money when you can find the work. You have no health insurance, but are paying the Obamacare tax.”

Sounds like an eerily familiar scenario so far.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Dangerous Faith

Other than while acting in the service of governments, real Christians don’t generally use guns, knives or bombs on our fellow men. We’re not looking to conquer the world by force of arms. Instead, we seek to persuade men and women of the truth of what we believe.

In theory, persuasion is a fairly inoffensive process compared to, say, armed invasion. Still, some people respond to the Christian faith with outright hostility. Others are more laid back, a subject we touched on in a post a few days ago.

But as Immanuel Can notes in the comments, our dealings with mellow agnostics are just as much “warfare” as when we engage with hostiles, and may be perceived as threatening even when the message is graciously and lovingly delivered.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Don’t Bury the Lede

In newspaperese, a “lede” (or sometimes “lead”) is the introductory section of a news item. Its purpose is to entice the reader to continue on, enjoying the rest of the story.

Thus to “bury” a lede is to begin a story with details of secondary importance while postponing more essential information.

There’s a video up on the YouTube website that was posted back in May. It shows camera phone footage of a middle-aged, nerdy-looking evangelical doing some street preaching on the campus of Arizona State University. He is holding a sign that appears to read something like “Warning: Homosexuals, etc. will burn in hell”. The preacher is abruptly assaulted by a crazed student who, along with many profanities, shrieks out, “You call yourselves Christians!”

The particular evangelistic technique that provokes this outburst is what I call “burying the lede”. Among other things.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

What Do We Do About the “Live and Let Live” Crowd?

There are people who just plain don’t want to hear it.

The message of the gospel, that is. They think they know what you’re going to say, they’ve heard it all before, and they’ll thank you not to start.

Some of them are outright hostile. They’ve looked around, read a few things, talked to a few people, and they are as satisfied as it’s possible to be (until facing imminent death, when all theories about existence meet their acid test) that they have an answer for life and meaning that does not include Jesus Christ. Any attempt to persuade them to change their mind is exceedingly unwelcome.

So be it. The few brave souls among us willing to intellectually debate them are welcome to do so.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Too Hot to Handle: Globalism and Censorship

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Media and the Gospel

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The End of Evangelism

[Originally presented March 10, 2015]
There is general fear being widely expressed among evangelicals today that we are not reaching people the way we used to. Certainly the numbers of people in the modern West who are becoming Christians seems to be slumping, and a lot of us are a bit nervous about the trend.

Is the Age of Evangelism Ending?

According to, one problem is that the professional clergy people and leaders are not stepping up, and that church ministries and programs are not going out to reach people. Meanwhile, The Evangelism Institute has found that while 85% of evangelical churches have a pro-evangelism statement in their constitution, less than 5% of the people are actually involved in doing something with it. All these worriers are agreed that Christians do still have a message worth getting out to the world, but for some reason we’re just not getting it out. So while this may not yet be the end of the church, it’s starting to look like it’s the end times for outreach, for evangelism, for the gospel.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

My Daughter Says I’m Going to Hell

Cary Tennis at Salon fields a question from an atheist dad whose 13-year old girl is concerned for his soul. It’s an old post but a familiar problem for any Christian who has worked with teens. Tennis’s answer is intriguing, to say the least, coming from an advice columnist, former rock journalist, recovering alcoholic and avowed progressive. 

The letter writer is a single father with shared custody. His daughter is a professing Christian who has attended an evangelical church with her mother for most of her life. When dad broaches the subject of religion, evolution, homosexuality or other hot-button issues from his own worldview, he finds he is distressing his daughter, which is something he’d prefer to avoid.

Hence the request for advice.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Witnessing and Misdirection

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Recommend-a-blog (3)

This might be one the best blog posts I’ve read from anyone of any denominational stripe.

If that sounds like dangerously high praise, give me a moment to convince you.

Andrew Heard starts by telling us that “The most dangerous people in our Christian community are the leaders and evangelists who not only long to see growth but who also have the closest sympathy with the needs and concerns of the sinners we are seeking to reach.”

Really? Seems a bit counterintuitive.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Too Hot to Handle: Culture and the Gospel

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Too Hot to Handle: Why I Don’t Share My Faith

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Woman in the Pink Coat

I saw you downtown this morning as I was heading back to my car, standing on a step-stool and yelling to make yourself heard. A fit-looking guy in his forties or early fifties, casually dressed in jeans and a fitted sweatshirt, your neat-trimmed beard streaked with silver. Nothing strange or threatening about you really, except for the shouting. From the way people cringed and hurried past you, I could tell they didn’t like it.

At first I thought you were ranting about something political, but then I saw the Bible in your hand. That made me curious. So while all the people around me kept walking, I stopped and listened.

You know, it wasn’t a bad message you were preaching, at least not the part of it I heard. You weren’t calling down judgment on the people passing by, or trying to badger them into joining your church; you were saying that God loves us, that He sent His only Son to earth to save us, and that no matter how bleak the world looks or how badly we’ve been hurt or how many times we’ve screwed up, there is hope if we trust in Him. I worried for a while you were going to say something weird or creepy, but you didn’t.

You were just … loud.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sceptics, Seekers and Opponents

Vox Day has an interesting piece on the subject of A Manual for Creating Atheists by Peter Boghossian, a book written with the purpose of teaching, in Boghossian’s own words, “how to talk people out of their faith”.

Day makes the point that Boghossian’s position could not be more distant from that of an authentic sceptic in the traditional sense: “Boghossian’s very stated purpose is in direct and explicit opposition to everything Sextus Empiricus advises, beginning with ‘suspension of judgment’ ”. A reader imprudently engages him on this and Day responds (with my italics):
“Scepticism does not mean ‘I am dubious about X.’ It does not mean ‘I am going to convince you that X is better than Y’. It does not mean ‘I will only believe X if there is sufficient evidence to justify it’. It means: ‘I have no opinion about either X or Y, and if you assert that X is better, I will argue that Y is better in order to produce a contradiction of equal weight and thereby allow me to suspend my judgment.’ What virtually no one who talks about scepticism seems to understand is that for the sceptic, suspension of judgment is not the method or the initial approach, it is the objective.”
— Vox Day
I had not thought of this before, but it provides a good jumping-off point for looking at the issue of how people respond to the preaching of the gospel.