Agreement or Conversion? To What End is Our Preaching?
Are we attempting to bring agreement between the Gospel and those to whom we are preaching? Are we seeking to have people understand and state that what we are saying is valuable and even true? Or are we seeking for something more substantial? Or are we seeking, by the power of the Spirit, to actually change something?
When I go to the people to find out what they want, I recognize that what they want may not be what they need. What they may want is a worship service that entertains their senses and youth programs for their children so that they may have something productive to do. What they may want is a gospel that fits into its “proper” sphere never encroaching upon the people’s responsibilities. What they may want is a safe and nonthreatening place to satisfy their religious “requirement” of going to church one day a week.
But the gospel doensn’t fit into our lifestyle. The gospel doesn’t encroaches on our “resposiblities. The gospel invites us to a changed life. The gospel seeks to change our priorities. The Gospel seeks to change us. The Gospel doesn’t merely seek to say that you already are in agreement with it. Neither does the Gospel say that “all sane men are already in agreement with it. No the Gospel says, “HEre is the truth, walk in it. The Gospel says, “I have taken you from death to life. The Gospel calls us to a different way of being in the world.
And thus all methodologies that seek to “entice” people out of bad ways of being in the world by making use of those old methods are destiened to fail. You can’t facilitate change while supporting the status quo. You can’t call for the Kingdom of God which means the downfall of evil while placating that evil. AS preachers we may not always do it, but our goal is to bring the people into the precense of the transformative God. To do that, there must be something alien about that God. That God cannot be fully understood. We don’t fully know what That God will do, but we do know that if change will come, this mysterious God that has