Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Open Ears?

"If anyone has an ear, let him hear:" (Rev 13:9)

This past Sunday, I attended the North Carolina Baptist Pastor's Conference in Greensboro where my friend, Alex McFarland, an apologist and president of Southern Evangelical Seminary was speaking. Alex quoted a statistic that to me was quite eye opening.

According to a 2008 survey conducted by the General Social Survey, 89% of those aged 18-30 "would be willing to listen to a Christian explain their faith."


What does this say about the idea that post modern's are not open to the Gospel? For my international readers, I am not sure how these statistics compare to those of your culture, but the statistics support what I believe to be true: people are much more open to the gospel than we give them credit for.

This openness doesn't mean that they will necessarily embrace our faith right away. As Alex pointed out in his message, the gestation period for faith is much longer for this age group than it has been in the past. Imparting our faith to this group requires a relational witness reinforced by a holy life. It requires an investment of time.

But at the same time, we need to recognize that reaching this younger generation for Christ may not be as difficult as first thought. I believe this generation is looking for a faith worth believing. They are disenchanted with the church and organized religion but intrigued by Jesus. Further, they are not looking for the way to heaven, but are seeking to have a meaningful life and to make a difference here and now.

Jesus offers everything they are looking for. We must present His timeless message in these truth-less times with boldness and relevance. We must be willing to listen and to dialogue - not to lecture. And our efforts must be Spirit-empowered and guided.

In Acts 16, the Bible says that the Lord opened the heart of Lydia to pay attention to the things that Paul was saying. She was baptized and eventually became a great help to Paul and his ministry. If we want to share the gospel with people in our day, we must depend upon the Holy Spirit just as Paul and the apostles did.


Dru Morgan said...

I think the clarification needs to be made when we use the term "gospel". Is the gospel "Give Jesus a try, and your life will improve" or "God is angry at sin, and sinners, including you and me, but has, through no works of our own, made a way to show mercy to us through the only savior, Jesus, that if we repent and trust in Christ alone, we can be forgiven."

One is a much easier sell. But, the truth is the only one that will set us free. If we, as you say, are to rely on the Holy Spirit to change hearts, then we should be bold with the true gospel, and not try to add to it or soft-sell it to increase our closing rate. The gospel is the power of salvation.

Darrel Davis said...

You are preaching to the choir here Dru. I am not advocating watering down the gospel.