broken breadUpdate: Don’t do much updating to my posts but I was just listening to Michael Spencer’s weekly podcast #162 (aka imonk) and something he said kind of summed up in a sense the following post I wrote earlier this afternoon.  He was speaking about meeting an educated young man this past week and discussing evolution and how refreshing the conversation was and then stated, “…not going to change the minds of people, don’t even want to try. Because the cost would be too high to my ability to share the gospel, and the gospel is what puts all of these things into perspective. You’ll never know why we can have a different attitude about science than fundamentalists have if you don’t understand that the gospel is what adds the value to everything we do or takes away the value from what is not valuable.”  Bingo bango, Spencer is right on.   

Much of what I encounter in the “Christian” blogosphere seems to suggest that we can almost argue, reason, or push people into the Kingdom with a barrage of the most impressive explanations and the right combination of the slickest words and terms in the English language.  It’s as if the particular kind of bloggers I have in mind assume that in our interacting and conversing with unbelievers—if our theological acumen and scientific knowledge is only weighty and persuasive enough—we will render the unbeliever/skeptic speechless and bring him to his intellectual knees (and subsequently, to the place of genuine faith).    

Well, I beg to differ.

Some are quick to point to Paul conversing with the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers in Acts 17.  But even there “Paul’s evangelism again follows the pattern of ‘reasoning’ about Jesus and the resurrection (IVP New Testament Commentaries).”  When Peter writes “…always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you”, I get the feeling that he isn’t saying anything close to “Be ready to list 15 irrefutable reasons you believe in intelligent design”, “Be ready to shoot down Darwinism without a minute’s notice”, or, “Be ready to fire off 10 points that prove the superiority of your ‘Judeo-Christian’ political views.”  No, that’s not what the apostle says.  We are to be “prepared to make a defense for a reason for the hope…” and the most uneducated among us can do that.  In other words, the gospel is good news not only among the poor but also among the ill-educated (I’d further point out that the poor and ill-educated aren’t always one in the same.  Ill-educated folks aren’t always poor and all poor folks aren’t always ill-educated). 

The late Malcom Muggeridge had the following to say in 1969 and I think the issue he raises applies today.

I have also received a very large number of letters, many of them of quite overwhelming sweetness and charity. I venture to quote from one which I opened as I was writing these words. The writer is a monk who had done me the high honour of reading some words of mine, which, he was kind enough to say in his letter, ‘the gentle Saviour used to give me a better understanding and appreciation of our Christian heritage, and a more fervent determination to stand loyal come what may.’ He goes on:

‘Every morning at 5 a.m. before I go to offer the Holy Sacrifice, as a small token of my gratitude to you, I ask our beloved Saviour to be good to you and to those dear to you. I will continue to do that for whatever short time remains before I meet Him face to face.’

No one human being could possibly do another a more precious favour than this; such gestures flood the whole universe with light. I have put all these letters some thousands of them in a large metal box in the hope that after I am dead someone may go through them. They reveal, I think more fully than any public opinion poll or other so-called scientific investigation, the extraordinary spiritual hunger which prevails today among all classes and conditions of people, from the most illiterate to the most educated, from the most lowly to the most eminent. The various moral and theological and sociological disputes of the day, however progressively resolved with ecclesiastical connivance, have nothing to say to this spiritual hunger, which is not assuaged by legalized abortion and homosexuality, solaced by contraception, or relieved by majority rule. Nor will it take comfort in the thought that God is dead, or that mankind has come of age, or even in ecumenical negotiations for writing off Papal Infallibility against the validity of Anglican Orders. The only means of satisfying it remains that bread of life which Jesus offered, with the promise that those who are of it should never hunger again. The promise stands. ~Malcolm Muggeridge, “Jesus Rediscovered” (from the forward).

I propose that we: 1). Focus our energies on ever exposing and addressing man’s grim spiritual condition and crisis (i.e., broken fellowship with his Creator due to his own rebellion)…  2). Appeal to those who just may be hungry, and share the “bread of life” with them…  and 3). Lay off our countless efforts and near addiction to “winning” the arguments.