A couple of options…

Continuing the discussion of evangelism, I wanted to discuss two ways that the Christian “good news” is often shared.

1. Personal Savior –The Billy Graham Method

This is the traditional evangelical mode of evangelism, and as the 20th century showed, it reaped success all over the world. This type of evangelism focuses on revealing the need that everyone has for a personal savior in their lives. By revealing the depravity of the individual’s ability to find fulfillment (& eternal life), Jesus is presented as the way to freedom both in this life and the one to come. Despite this method’s tremendous success, I question it’s effectiveness for the 21st century. Its linear way of presenting the gospel as personal fulfillment appears formulaic to today’s generation. As a result, Christianity appears to be just another entree on the buffet of religious choice, and a highly unpopular one at that. And in a society as affluent and “spiritual” as ours, people no longer realize that they even have a need for the personal savior being presented.

2. Generalized Apologetics – A Liberal Method (notice I said “A” not “The”)

Reacting against the seemingly simplistic model of personalized evangelism, this model counters by attempting to remove the overly “Christian” overtones from theology, particularly anything related to evangelicalism. The message is made as generalized as possible, dropping the typical labels associated with Christianity. The goal is to promote justice and unity in the world, and hopefully present a more intelligent form of faith that many of the folks who reacted against the first model may find appealing. Visible impact towards the betterment of society is the goal. Adopting secular categories for religious discourse is seen as the best way to achieve this impact. While this project is often quite successful, it can have the tendency to melt into society, eventually losing all aspects of its’ faith basis, becoming just another program or group. By dropping the historical particularity of the Christian faith, it also becomes simply another choice among the many.

Ok, I apologize is I offended anyone with these two very rough characterizations, as both sides have (& still do) achieved much success. However, my problem is that these are often the only two options Christians are presented with when it comes to interaction with the world. Personal salvation or social impact… Is there not another way? So I ask again, is evangelism still possible?

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