Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ten Deadly Trappings of Evangelism by Joe Carter.

Primage ompted by an interview with Terry Mattingly ( on Issues, Etc. (2/26/9) I read this article by Joe Carter.

Carter takes shots at the "fadness" of Evangelicalism.  I think he hits the nail on the head.  I highly recommend it to your reading.  Here's a couple of highlights.

#5 Testimonies — Several years ago, during a job interview for a Christian organization, my prospective employer asked me to tell him my "testimony." The fact that I was a Christian apparently wasn’t enough. I had to have a good conversion story to go along with my faith. Now you may have a great story about how the hound of Heaven" chased you down and gnawed on your leg until you surrendered. No doubt your story would make for a gripping movie of the week on Lifetime and lead to the making of numerous converts (see #1). But the harsh truth is that your story doesn’t much matter. You are only a bit player in the narrative thread; the main part goes to the Divine Protagonist. In fact, He already has a pretty good story so why not just tell that one instead?

Evangelism - Telling the Good News isn't "Good" news unless it is Christ Centered / Cross Focused ( anyone?).  I think I've heard it before, "Let's keep the main thing, the main thing."  That's Jesus and all that he did to save sinful men.

#8 Protestant Prayers — Last week one of my fellow coworkers, a young Catholic man, was asked to open our meeting with a prayer. Without hesitation he began reciting the "Lord’s prayer." Afterward I joked that, having come up with such a fine prayer, he might want to write it down for future use. What I didn’t say what how his recitation of the prayer made me uncomfortable.

First, I’m not used to hearing prayers that don’t contain the word "just" (as in "We just want to thank you Lord…") so it had an odd ring to it. Second, it seemed to violate the accepted standards for public prayer. I had always assumed that praying in public required being able to interlace some just-want-to’s in with some Lord-thank-you-for’s and be- with-us-as-we’s in a coherent fashion before toppping it all with an Amen. Third, I thought that prayers are supposed to be spontaneous–from the heart, off the top of the head–emanations, rather than prepackaged recitations. If it ain’t original, it ain’t prayer, right? Can I get an amen?

But where did this idea come from? We have entire books to teach us how to pray yet Jesus managed to wrap up the lesson in less than forty words. Why isn’t that prayer good enough for evangelicals to use? Why do our prayers sound nothing like His example? (And if you are wondering what prayer is doing on a list of evangelistic fixtures then we are really in trouble.)

OK, lets all say it together... "Our Father, who art in heaven..."  The prayer that fits every circumstance and is always appropriate.  There is no better way to learn to pray than to pray this prayer!  It's just like Jesus said, "When you pray, say..."  (Luke 11:2-4). 

Very nice article.  Well worth your time.   What do you think?

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