The Ramblings Of John Campea

Life Beyond The Movies

The Magic Formula Gospel I

The Magic Formula Gospel
I just finished a meeting with a VERY nice man who represents an evangelistic ministry organization. What the organization does (a well know organization by the way) is train people how to share their faith with strangers. Now, on the surface this sounds like a good idea, but as I listened to this nice man give me his presentation it became more and more apparent that all he was really offering was a “magic” formula.

Basically, he told me that at their seminars I’ll learn how to approach a person, instantly assess where they are spiritually, and then how to present the gospel to them with the highest chances of “success”. It took the importance of authenticity and relationship right out of their mathematical equations.

This old approach starts with a presupposition that people will just accept “truth” when they hear it explained. Most of the people I know never accept anything without seeing it in action first. They don’t buy the car before test-driving it. They can be told it has great handling, that it’s great on gas, that the engine has so many horses… but until they’re allowed to get behind the wheel and really see it in action it’s all just words.

I can “present” the Gospel anyway I want, the fact of the matter is that the people I know will think it sounds nice, but until they SEE the faith I describe in words lived out in action, then it’s all just unverifiable theory to them. To see it in action they need to be close to me. To be close to me they need to be in relationship with me.

Even then, once a relationship exists, a uniqueness embodies it that makes it different from any other relationship I have… all relationships do. So to try to apply a formulaic approach to presenting the Gospel seems trite at best. In all of His recorded actions, Jesus never presented the good news to anyone the same way twice. To Jesus there was no such thing as “formula”.

Don’t get me wrong. This man who met with me had nothing but the VERY BEST of intentions and motives. He loves God, and just wants to see people meet Him. I bless him in his mission. I just don’t know if the battle plan he has for his mission can be effective in a post-modern world.

Just my two cents worth. I could be wrong.

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April 16, 2003 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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