Read this & had to share this LONG excerpt from Myth Of A Christian Nation – on the heels of “Moral Guardians,” esp. interesting is the take on “confrontational evangelism.”
The nationalistic slogan, “One nation, under God” influences many Christians to turn to the Old Testament more than the New (Testament) in their understanding of America & of the role of the church within America. Consequently, Christians often turn to the models of Old Testament “watchmen” & of John the Baptist to understand what they are supposed to be doing in the culture, rather than to the model of Jesus. Instead of living to sacrifice for others, we become the Official “sin-pointer-outers.” Instead of gaining a reputation of being humble servants who manifest Calvary-quality love, we gain a reputation for being moralistic & self-righteous…
The Israelites understood themselves to be in a covenant relationship with God, & they also understood that the job of watchmen & prophets such as John the Baptist was to hold the people and their leaders accountable to this covenant. As a matter of principle, prophets & watchmen didn’t hold non-Jews accountable to God’s unique covenant with Israel; their role was only to hold Jews accountable, for the covenant that formed the basis of this accountability was made only with the Jews…
The roles of prophets & watchmen have no application to Christians within American society as a whole… God’s covenant with Israel was not a covenant with America or any other nation. What’s more, the self-understanding of most people in America today is worlds removed from the self-understanding of Jews under the Old Covenant. When Christians model themselves after Old Covenant prophets & watchmen, they end up trying to hold people accountable to things these people know little about & care even less about. It is at best ineffective, & at worst it is positively harmful to the advancement of the kingdom of God.
One of the most clear expression of the Old Testament model of evangelism today is found in an increasingly popular form of witnessing sometimes called “confrontational evangelism.” In this model people are taught that it is the job of Christians to get other to realize they have broken one or more of the Ten Commandments & that they, therefore, deserve God’s eternal wrath. The goat is to get people to see their need for a Saviour… the situation is no different from a Muslim telling a non-Muslim stranger who happens to be eating pork that he deserves to go to hell because the Koran forbids it. Why should the non-Muslim care what the Koran says?
When Christians confront people on the basis of presuppositions not shared by the people they confront, they come across as rude & usually render the gospel less credible to the people they confront.
I’m back, & these are my thoughts… the Christian that receives a “rejection” message from the people of the confronted culture view this rejection as a badge of honor, a real PROOF of the validity of their means & methods. (Check out Dan Kimball’s post on this topic.) Instead, I believe that the rejection has something to do with the distasteful taking of Jesus’ name in vain, portraying a Christ that fits our own model of Christianity, looks, thinks, & acts a like like us, & that really is looking forward to damning these sinners to hell. Ouch.
We often fail to realize that most of the New Testament (specifically the epistles) were written to the church to instruct the church how to live like a church. Even the book of Revelation says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the CHURCHES.”
The gospels, which of course recount the life of Jesus, are a written testimony to the world pointing the way to Jesus . . .
Therefore, we go about attempting to apply Pauline standards to a group of people who are already burdened with the chains of their own condition and who find no hope in yet another set of rules and expectations . . .
Don’t let this get back to Kirk Cameron, he’d be out of the job.
T-I like your analogy about the chains of their own condition…Jesus wouldn’t stand on those chains until the puller said uncle, he’d probably walk next to them and ask if he could take them.