Dr. Randy Newman has given the Church another gift in Mere Evangelism.
If you are familiar with any of Randy’s work, then you know that his holistic and thoughtful approach to evangelism challenges many of our preconceived notions or narratives about what evangelism should or will look like today. In “Questioning Evangelism,” Randy questioned (wink) the pre-packaged and simple evangelistic methods which have been so common in evangelicalism. While pragmatic (and no doubt fruitful in some situations), such methods do not typically honor the non-Christian in their doubts and questions. Nor do they honor what we know about how Jesus presented the gospel and his kingdom to those he encountered.
In “Unlikely Converts,” real stories of God’s saving and transforming work in others not only led to good lessons for our work of evangelism, but they were also deeply encouraging. God really is still at work today! As much as we need tools to grow in our own evangelism and relationships with non-Christians, we need to be desperately dependent on God to move and work.
This is what I’ve come to love about Randy’s work: helpful reflections on the work of evangelism that never depart from a dependence on Jesus to seek and save just as he promised. Now in Mere Evangelism, he gives us his thoughtful reflections and honest heart through the lens of C.S. Lewis. The result is an absolute treasure. Continue Reading
My father’s funeral service was held at ten in the morning on August 20th. It was a fitting time to find some closure and express grief before our God who draws near to the brokenhearted.
As I prepared my eulogy for the service, I knew that properly honoring my father and my relationship with him would require giving voice to the good, the difficult challenges and our sins against each other, and all that Christ did to reconcile and heal our relationship. I recognized I would be straying from the norm for such speeches, which tend to focus only on the positives of someone’s life. However, I saw this eulogy as an opportunity not only to heal from my own grief, but to minister to others in theirs. I decided to enter these harder places to share how Christ met me and my father and healed our relationship when it was most broken. Continue Reading
Rev. Duke Kwon and Dr. Greg Thompson’s recent posts at The Front Porch (Here and here) have kicked up a lot of important conversation about White Supremacy; both it’s motives and methodology. In response, I want to share my story about the ways in which I’ve recognized how White Supremacy has invaded some of my views and attitudes. My hope is that by “going first” and sharing my story, others might see themselves in Kwon and Thompson’s writing and critiques, and receive them as a gift of love to the Church (as I have while I followed their work the last few years).
Here is how White Supremacy invaded my theology. Continue Reading
In a recent conversation, I was asked for my views regarding racial reconciliation and justice, especially as it pertained to local churches in my denomination (the Presbyterian Church in America, or PCA). I explained in response how the Lord has put this work on my heart over the last 4-5 years. As I have tried to lead in this area, both in concrete action and dialogue, I have often been met with accusation, defensiveness, resistance, and slander. Such reactions have only convinced me even more that the subjects of race and racism, both in and outside of the church, cannot be avoided but must instead be addressed by local churches head on.
I further explained how I believe our presbyterian and reformed tradition has a rich theology of lament, restitution, and corporate sin which seems to be conveniently ignored and forgotten in recent conversations on these subjects. In light of ongoing racial disparity in our communities and churches, I concluded by saying that the White Evangelical Church at large (which includes the PCA) must accept responsibility for advancing racism and segregation in our country for centuries; actions which continue to have lasting impact in our communities and our churches today.
My response was met with thankfulness and gratitude, and a warm conversation followed where it was safe to talk through challenges and obstacles in pursuing racial reconciliation and justice. However, there was one question that followed which required further explanation:
“What exactly do you mean by responsibility?” Continue Reading