Be not content to merely throw truth at them

Jesus-Reaching-Out

Sharing the gospel is never easy, regardless of how much experience you have. I’m not a terribly gifted evangelist; it doesn’t come naturally—but it’s still something I’m required to do. Because it doesn’t come naturally, though, there’s a problem: It’s really tempting to rely solely on facts; more specifically, it can be really tempting to rely on a particular style of presenting the facts of the gospel.

 

Now, it’s not that facts are wrong—evangelism necessarily requires the transmission of truth claims. And it’s not that there is a particular style of evangelism that’s wrong. Some find relational evangelism very effective; others are equally so with street witnessing, and so forth. Our challenge really comes in when our preference for how we proclaim the truth gets in the way of why we proclaim the truth.

J.I. Packer explains this well in Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God:

Love made Paul warm-hearted and affectionate in his evangelism. “We were gentle among you,” he reminded the Thessalonians; “being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” (1 Thess 2:7-8). Love also made Paul considerate and adaptable in his evangelism; though he peremptorily refused to change his message to please men (cf. Gal 1:10; 2 Cor 2:17; 1 Thess 2:4), he would go to any lengths in his presentation of it to avoid giving offense and putting needless difficulties in the way of men’s accepting and responding to it. . . . Paul sought to save men; and because he sought to save them, he was not content merely to throw truth at them; but he went out of his way to get alongside them, and to start thinking with them from where they were, and to speak to them in terms that they could understand, and above all, to avoid everything that would prejudice them against the gospel and put stumbling blocks in their path. In his zeal to maintain truth, he never lost sight of the needs and claims of people. His aim and object in all his handling of the gospel, even in the heat of the polemics which contrary views evoked, was never less than to win souls, by converting those whom he saw as his neighbors, to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. (Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, Kindle location 440)

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