Sunday, March 28, 2010

Excerpt from "The God Who is There" by Frances Schaeffer

On sharing the Gospel...

"As I seek to do this [pushing the point of tension away from non-Christian beliefs], I need to remind myself constantly that this is not a game I am playing. If I begin to employ it as a kind of intellectual exercise, then I am cruel and can expect no real spiritual results. As I push the man off his false balance,he must be able to feel that I care for him. Otherwise I will only end up destroying him, and the cruelty and ugliness of it all will destroy me as well. Merely to be abstract and cold is to show that I do not really believe this person to be created in God's image and therefore one of my kind. Pushing him towards the logic of his presuppositions is going to cause him pain; therefore, I must not push any further than I need to.

If we find the man ready to receive Christ as Savior, then by all means we should not talk about presuppositions but tell him the glorious good news. The whole purpose of our speaking to twentieth century people in the way I have outlined is not to make them admit that we are right in some personally superior way, nor to push their noses in the dirt, but to make them see their need so that they will listen to the gospel. As soon as the person before us is ready to listen to the gospel, we do not push him any further--it is horrible to be propelled in the direction of meaninglessness, against the testimony of the external world and the testimony of oneself.

As we get ready to tell the person God's answer to his or her need, we must make sure that the individual understands that we are talking about real truth, and not about something vaguely religious which seems to work psychologially. We must make sure that he understands that we are talking about real guilt before God, and we are not offering him merely relief for his guilt-feelings. We must make sure that he understands that we are talking to him about history, and that the death of Jesus was not just an ideal or a symbol but a fact of space and time. If we re talking to a person who would not understand the term "space-time history," we can ask "Do you believe that Jesus died in the sense that if you had been there that day you could have rubbed your finger on the cross and got a splinter in it?" Until he understands the importance of these three things, he is not ready to become a Christan. (pp 156-157)

F.Schaeffer (1998) The God Who is There. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

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