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Evangelical Magazine (November 2006)

Evangelical Magazine (November 2006)

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Published by: evangelicalmovementofwales on May 13, 2008
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Published by the Evangelical Movement of Wales
Bridge-building:
How shall they hear?Reaching HeartsA passion for the lostO-mission
 
November/December 2006
£1.80
 
 The Evangelical Magazine: November 2006 3
Publishers
Evangelical Movement of WalesBryntirionBridgendCF31 4DXWales, UK 
Tel: 01656 655886Fax: 01656 665919offi ce@emw.org.uk 
Registered charity 222407
The Evangelical Magazine is published bimonthlyand promotes and witnesses to the historicevangelical faith of the Christian Church.
The views expressed by individual contributors to thismagazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions of theEditorial Board or of the publishers. Advertisements, whileaccepted in good faith, do not carry the Board’s endorsement.November 2006 Volume 45 No.6
ISSN 1743-4092
© Bryntirion Press 2006
Cover image courtesy Björn Kindler
Editorial Board
Mark BarnesAndrew ChristofidesSpencer CunnahChris JenkinsPeyton JonesHuw KinseyChristine OwensMenna ThomasKeith VineJohn Woolley
Consulting Editors
Revd Stephen Clark Revd Philip EvesonRevd Graham HarrisonRevd Stuart Olyott
 e Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea are both land-lockedlakes, but there is a significant difference between them. e Sea of Galilee has both an inlet and an outlet. Waterflows through it and as a result the Sea of Galilee is alive with fish and all sorts of marine life. But the Dead Seahas only an inlet. No water flows out of it and as resultthe Dead Sea is lifeless, with such a high concentration of dissolved minerals in it that it is not even fit to drink. Allof which is a thought-provoking picture of the church of  Jesus Christ in the United Kingdom at this present time.
Evangelise or perish!
A Christianity that only takes in will end up a deadChristianity. No matter how much sound teaching wehear, fellowship we enjoy, or reformed our worship, if itdoes not flow out in gospel witness to the world around,church life will grow stale, unwholesome and dead. ere is a great danger at the moment that the issues thatare preoccupying church life are just internal matters.Great energy can be expended discussing—perhaps argu-ing about—what hymn book should be sung from, what version of the Bible should be read and what the correctorder of service should be. It does not really matter whatthe issue is if it has the practical effect of drying upgospel outreach. If that is allowed to happen, then very quickly spiritual gangrene will set in and do its lethal work. A generation or two later you’ll find a church thathas become a nasty clique dominated by a few families who still drag themselves along. But the church will havecommitted suicide, leaving a building to be turned into a warehouse, antiques centre, garage or mosque.One of the keys to any church’s life is its evangelism. Weevangelize or perish! So how do we overcome Britishreserve, natural shyness, our preoccupation with otherthings and lack of spiritual zeal? How do we change ourchurches from being like the Dead Sea, only taking in,to being more like the Sea of Galilee, taking in but alsoflowing out into the community in vital gospel witness?
Accountability
“We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according towhat he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore,the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…” 
(2 Cor. 5: 10-11). e Bible’s first motivation for evangelism is the ultimateaccountability of the whole human race to Jesus Christthe Judge. A verdict will be delivered at the final judg-ment. e apostle Paul stresses the individuality of this judgment. Each one will receive what is due. We areassessed personally before the Judge with no excuses, nopassing the blame and no hiding place. As the AmericanPresident Truman reportedly put on a plaque on his desk in the White House, ‘e buck stops here’, so it will beon the Day of Judgment. No secrecy. No cover-ups. Noprivate confessionals.
Editorial: Why evangelise?
Inside...
How shall they hear?
(Peter Jeffery)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4Christianity Explored
(Andy Christofides)
. . . . . . . . . . .
5Reaching Hearts
(Ben & Bethan Thomas) . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6Opening Doors: Stories from local churches
. . . . . . .
8Going out with the gospel
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
10Use words if necessary
(Chris Jenkins)
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
12A passion for the lost
(Anne Kelland)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
14O-mission
(Roger Carswell)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16Church on the move
(Ross Mackeznie)
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
18Reviews
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
20In righteousness I will see Your face
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
22Children’s Pages
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
23Update
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
25
 is provides an urgent spur to the task of making thegospel of Jesus Christ known. Will we be able to face theLord Jesus Christ with a clear conscience if we know that we have neglected the responsibility of sharing the gospel with people who must also stand before that same Judge?Can we be reserved, laid back or prayerless in the lightof the coming Great Day? Evangelism is not a Christianhobby or an optional extra in the Christian life. It is arescue operation as urgent as any lifeboat that is launchedfrom our shores into a stormy sea. e verdict of JesusChrist, the Judge, leaves us with no option but to startlooking for ways for the gospel to flow out from ourselves,from our homes, and from our churches.
Responsibility
“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him whodied for them and rose again” 
(2 Cor. 5: 14-15). Paul’s ego andreputation were not at stake as he made the gospel known.In fact, he was able to be detached from criticisms that werelevelled against him. His experience of Jesus Christ had puthim beyond self-centred considerations. e love of Christhad rendered him indifferent to both the flattery and thedisapproval of human beings. He was not the centre of hisown universe any more. He lived for Jesus Christ whoseglory was the determining factor in his thinking. e amaz-ing reason for this was that Jesus Christ had died for Paul,and he could never get over that astounding fact. As far asPaul was concerned, the sacrifice that Jesus Christ had madeon the cross had meant the death of the old Paul with hisobsessive self-righteousness and pride. He could no longerlive for himself in that way. God had given him a whole new focus in his life. Does that challenge us? Are many of ourinhibitions about evangelism associated with pride? What will he think of me if I tell him that I am a Christian? What will she say about me to others if I offer to read the Bible with her? How will my neighbours react if I share the gos-pel with them? But the love of Christ strips selfish motivesfrom our hearts and drives us out with a passionate desirethat other men and women around us should discover thegrace of God and the new life in Christ that we have found.
Persuasion
“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were  pleading through us; we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be recon-ciled to God.” 
(2 Cor 5: 20). Christianity is not about humanbeings finding their way to God. It is about God sov-ereignly opening up a way back to Himself by a gigantic actof grace. e root problem that the gospel addresses is oursin, which is the primary obstacle between us and God. Weneed to be reconciled to God. In the gospel Paul describesa great exchange that has taken place:
For God made Himwho knew no sin
[the Lord Jesus Christ]
to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him
(2 Cor. 5: 21). ere is a beautiful symmetry here. On one side there is Jesus Christ who is sinless. On the other side there are sin-ners like us. As a result of God’s gracious intervention, JesusChrist is made sin and we are made righteous through faithin Him. So simple, and yet so extraordinarily wonderful!But the publicity of this great plan of reconciliation, alldevised and executed by God Himself, is placed in ourhands. Paul describes the message as
‘the word of reconcili-ation’ 
(2 Cor. 5: 19). at is why evangelism requiresmore than silent testimony. It requires words. It is a mes-sage in words about what God has done in Jesus Christ,and that message has to be passed on. Certainly people will be encouraged to listen as a result of our Christianbehaviour and as we demonstrate the love of Christ tothem. But we cannot hide behind the silent witness of our lives, even holy lives. No one can believe the gospelunless they have heard it. Faith comes by hearing.People sometimes ask what right we have to intrude uponthe lives of other people with the gospel. It’s so un-Brit-ish! But in evangelism we are not acting as interferingbusybodies, but as personal representatives of the King of kings. No doubt being ambassadors for Christ requiresdiplomacy, but it also carries with it a certain dignity. Wehave every right to face men and women with the claimsof Jesus Christ. He is their rightful King, whether they acknowledge Him or not. Indeed, we are to do morethan that—as ambassadors we are to plead with men and women to accept the reconciliation which the Lord offersto all in the gospel of grace.If these great biblical incentives are not enough for usto make every effort to reach out with the gospel thenour churches will die. ey will dry up. And they willdeserve to dry up, and be nothing more than examplesof what happens in a Dead Sea where no water flowsout—where we have nothing to say to a lost world des-perately in need of a message we claim to possess.
Spencer Cunnah
 
Evangelism is not primarily a matter of method andtechnique, but of a correct biblical attitude on the part of Christians. is article is not about evangelistic methods.Its concern is rather to help believers see their God-givenresponsibility to evangelize a lost world.
How
we do it isnothing like as important as doing it. is is not to say that method is unimportant. Unfortunately, in recent years, much evangelism has been so man-centred thatit has produced countless ‘decisions for Christ’ but few conversions to Christ. A method that does not see soulstruly saved, but merely attracts and entertains sinners, isnot biblical evangelism. e purpose of evangelism is toreach sinners with the gospel, so that they might come inrepentance and faith to Christ.One of the problems of the man-centred methods of thelast forty years is that some Christians have been put off from doing any evangelism at all. Evangelical believerstend to swing from one extreme to another. We see bad,unbiblical methods being used and decide the safestthing to do is nothing. is attitude is just as wrong as apreoccupation with instant results. ‘No evangelism’ is notthe answer to bad evangelism.A correct attitude to evangelism will reflect three things,namely:a concern for the glory of Goda concern for lost soulsa concern to be obedient to the commands of Christ. Western civilization, in Europe and North America, hasproduced a culture that cares little or nothing for God. Youonly have to think of some of the things that are legally andsocially acceptable today, like abortion and homosexuality,to see the truth of this. God no longer counts in the think-ing of most people. e nominal Christianity propagatedby religious programmes on the radio and TV demonstratesthe same truth. For most people today biblical Christianity is a joke, an outdated theory that is no longer relevant, andbeing ‘born again’ has become a term of disdain.
A concern for the glory of God
Only one thing is going to change all this, and that is formen and women to be truly saved and made new in Christ.Once a man knows and experiences the joy of new (that is,spiritual) birth he will never mock it. Once a sinner’s eyesare open to the beauty of Scripture it will be his delight forever. One of the reasons why God saves sinners is that they might be to ‘the praise and glory of his glorious grace’ (Eph.1:6). us God is glorified in the salvation of everyone
4 The Evangelical Magazine: November 2006The Evangelical Magazine: November 2006 5
 who comes to Christ. ere are many other ways in whichChristians can glorify God, but surely one of the greatest isto be used by God to proclaim the gospel of Christ through which alone sinners can be saved. It is no use mourningover the way the world thinks of God if we do nothing tomake Him real to men and women who are dead in theirsins. Our first concern, then, must be for
the glory of God 
.
A concern for lost souls
Men and women without Christ as their Saviour are goingto hell. ey are not simply going to ‘a Christless eternity’,as it is often put. ey are without Christ now. ey are go-ing to exist for ever under the wrath and judgment of a holy God. Christians often ask, ‘How can I get a burden forsouls?’ e answer has to be: read the Bible and believe it.Believe what it has to say about the terror of the Lord andthe eternity of judgment. en consider that this is what your unbelieving children and parents and friends will haveto face unless they turn to Christ. If that does not give youa burden for souls then nothing will. If unbelievers are toavoid hell they must be saved. ere must be a genuine work of the Holy Spirit in their lives that transforms themby grace and justifies them by faith. If we believe this, thenour methods of evangelism will be those which, as far aspossible, avoid empty decisions. We want to see these folk truly saved, not just become religious for a short time.
A concern to be obedient
Do you see how these two concerns will govern our atti-tude to evangelism and give it both relevance and urgency?So thirdly, will be
a concern to be obedient to the commands of  Christ 
. He has commanded us to go into all the world andtell out this gospel. Once our attitude is right, evangelism will become inevitable. We will not have to be persuadedand organized into periodic ‘evangelistic campaigns’, but will see evangelism as a privilege and joy.
 Peter Jeffery is a retired minister an author of a number of books including “How shall they hear?” (published by Evangelical Press) from which this article is taken.
How shallthey hear?
Peter Jeffery 
 
Christianity Explored is a ten-week course aimed at introduc-ing people to Jesus Christ. Week by week course participantsexplore Mark’s gospel, addressing three questions that are at the heart of Christianity: Who is Jesus? Why did he come? What does it mean to follow him? 
So runs the promotionalblurb for a course that has become so widely used by church groups throughout UK.At a time when almost total ignorance of the Christianmessage pervades the land, anything that can be usedto shine gospel light into the gloom is most welcome.Christianity Explored is most welcome!Devised by the Anglican curate, Rico Tice, (currently on the staff of All Souls in London) the course is thor-oughly scriptural, simple to use and, vitally, simple tounderstand. Over the past six years at St. Mellons BaptistChurch in Cardiff, we have used the course in varioussettings and with different groups. On each occasionthose participating have been helped; believers have beenstrengthened and, often, outsiders have been converted.So, what’s it all about?
Christianity Explored 
is Scriptural
 e course takes participants on ‘a walk through Mark’sgospel’ where they encounter the Lord Jesus Christ forthemselves. e content is thoroughly biblical, simply examining the text of Mark and relying on the Spiritto apply the message. An often repeated phrase used by Rico Tice is, ‘We preach Christ—God opens blind eyes’
Christianity Explored 
is Simple
First, it is simple to use. e course comes with threemain booklets: How to run the course, Study guide lead-ers’ edition, and Study guide for participants. ese areavailable from Christian bookshops or from the course website (www.christianityexplored.com) where next day delivery is an option. Along with the booklets, the sitecan supply invitations and posters in order to advertisethe course. When
Christianity Explored 
was first launched, a gooddeal of preparation time was necessary in order to givethe sessions’ main talks which needed to be adapted fromtranscripts in the course manual. Now however, a seriesof videos and more recently DVDs have become avail-able in which Rico Tice gives the talks. e sessions areshot on location around Britain and are of such a highstandard that I personally no longer give the talks myself but simply play the recordings. e advantage is that now non-preachers can run the course.Secondly, it is simple for participants. e publicity sup-plied makes it clear that those attending need no priorknowledge of Christianity. ey are assured there willbe no ‘religious bits’ such as singing or prayers; also thatthey will not be asked any direct questions or asked toread out loud, but they will be given plenty of oppor-tunity to ask questions of their own. e course is very simple and readily accessible to all who attend.
Christianity Explored 
is Flexible
A possible barrier to churches using the course is perhapsthat ten weeks is too much of a commitment. Fromexperience we have not found this to be the case, withnumbers holding up well and even increasing over theperiod. However, the course is flexible enough to allow for a shorter six or seven-part series to be offered if time was a real issue.
Christianity Explored 
is developing
A version of the course for use with those who have Eng-lish as a second language has been developed. is is very helpful for use amongst overseas students, refugees andasylum seekers. A youth edition has just been launched which could be useful in schools and church youthgroups.As a follow up to
Christianity Explored 
,
Discipleship Explored 
is now available, taking participants through thebook of Philippians.In conclusion, this is a really useful and most welcomeresource, which in the right hands and under the Spirit’sguidance can be used by any believer to the benefit of many and to the glory of God.
 Andy Christofides is the pastor of St Mellons Baptist Church, Cardiff and a member of theeditorial board of e Evangelical Magazine.
A  rviw  r ticl
b A n Ch ris tofis

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