"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are", Matt.23:15.

Jesus certainly wants us to get into evangelism, but we do need to remember that the Pharisees were into it as well. Our Christianity is not authenticated by enthusiastic proselytising. Content authenticates.

Biblical Evangelism is the business of moving out into the world to communicate the gospel of God's grace in Jesus Christ. Who then invented the idea that evangelism is best done in a church service? Why, and I include myself in this, have we set about destroying awe in worship, to replace it with a "midday show" for the children of middle-class baby boomers? It may work to "access" the former youth fellowship crew, but it does little for genuine evangelism. All it does is destroy the true nature of church as the gathered flock. The flock gathers to access the "still small voice of God", but who can hear it over the noise?

I'm uneasy with the way we are marketing the gospel. Sure, I've done it myself, which only increases my concern. What has communicating the gospel got to do with selling techniques, group dynamics, manipulation and the like? We sell our product as if we were selling steak knives. We deal with the intangible, Demtel the tangible. Luckily we're not good at it. 90% of non-believers never see our madness.

What has happened to us? Why has a new pop-agenda swept Anglican churches? I want to suggest that we have failed to rightly understand the Biblical doctrine of "church" and we have failed to grasp the real reasons behind falling church attendance. Worse still, we have taken our eyes off the centre of the gospel - the doctrine of justification by grace through faith. The virus of pietism has trapped us into the business of doing rather than receiving.

[Pumpkin Cottage]