Thursday, October 28, 2010

Restoring Apologetics to Evangelism, Part 2: The Model for Private Action

Finally, for this series, what should be our “person to person” method of evangelism under this new rubric I have proposed?

My private model takes for granted that the public model, described in the last entry, is in effect, so it isn’t something you can go out and do on your own right now. In essence, if we have enough public events going on, there will be, inevitably, a corresponding increase in questions to us from non-believers, and many more opportunities for us to start conversations (eg, “Did you see that show last night where Witherington debated Zindler? It was a massacre!”). That’s enough to get encounters started.

After that, there’s going to be a burden on us, since obviously, we’re not all equipped to answer any possible questions. We’ll need to assemble some sort of resource index, so that, for example, if someone asks us a question or raises some objection concerning the cosmological argument, and we’re not that good on that topic, we know who to go to who IS good with it.

So in one sense, my private model isn’t a lot different than the one we now have; it just starts from a different base, and requires a little more work on our part – which, given Matthew 28:18-20, is something we’d best not be shying away from. Making disciples of all nations isn’t done from your living room couch, after all.

Which raises another point, one somewhat beyond the scope of this series, but which deserves notice: Our current evangelistic methods are pretty darned poor when it comes to follow-up. When it comes to one prominent evangelist, once you walk the aisle you’re told to “find a good church home.” That’s a hard task these days anyway, but what kind of follow-up is that? None at all. There will need to be better connections made between conversion and discipleship as well – which will be a lot easier when evangelism relies on historic fact rather than “personal testimony,” since under my proposed system, discipleship has already started in the process of evangelism.

Tomorrow I’ll issue a summary post with links for the entire series, which others can also conveniently link to, and offer some final thoughts.


  1. 'We’ll need to assemble some sort of resource index'.
    Why not just an iPhone app with all the answers at your fingertips? An A-Z apologetics compendium...

  2. It seems to me that 2 Cor. 3: speaks of a life-based testimony or of a life that is itself an evidence of one's salvation and/ or sanctification. The competency available through the Lord Himself and the simplicity of the New Covenant along with the change produced by the Spirit of God provides us with a life testimony. Any such testimony of God's Grace working through one life to another is both personal and public in nature and whatever else it is, it is the reflected and refracted Truth (3:18 with 4:4-6. Chapter four, looks to be adding or focusing on the imperative of the need for honesty (verse 2) and an effort to manifest (2b and 3 with 4-7) or - in other words - to make the truth obvious by way of our living or life's example. The trials and tests of life verses 8,9,10 etc serve to outline the evidence for Christ's inner work through His grace and mercy that is to be 'evidenced' or communicated in selfless lives and living... or so it seems to me.. drMSBsr Cape Town

  3. @ Philip: Someone did suggest that to me once. That would be fine, but I'm not the sort of person who could do the tech work on that. At best I could provide the data that the technical person could work with

  4. @ Dr. Marc et al: I cannot see relating those passages to what we would call personal testimony. In context of 1 Cor. 3, Paul is referring to the honor and reputation that is accrued to him as a result of his work among the Corinthians. His comparison is specifically to the sort of letter than would serve to introduce someone who was new to a community and would have no standing or honor in that community. He is not using this as a segue into using honor and reputation as a basis for evangelism.