Listening today to Tim Keller's lecture (not sermon) on the Supremacy of Christ and the Gospel in a Postmodern World. It's great so far. I'll type quotes as I go.
There's a fundamental schism in American cultural, political and economic life. There is the quicker-growing, economically vibrant, morally relativist, urban-oriented, culturally adventurous, sexually polymorphist and ethnically diverse nation. Then there is also the smaller-town, suburban, nuclear-family, religiously oriented, traditional values, white-centric other America with its diminished political and economic force. -- Michael Wolfe
Progress of evangelistic strategy: Crusades (Billy Graham) > personal evangelism methods (evangelism explosion) > seeker services (Willow Creek) > ALPHA
There are three problems.
The TRUTH problem: all truth claims are perceived as constraints, power plays and exclusive.
The GUILT problem: since Freud, all consciences are seen as filled with guilt since the listener knows they ought to be good. That's no longer there.
The MEANING problem: they don't believe texts or words can really get meaning across. Who's to say what it means? Meanings are unstable.
Jonah as representation of church doing evangelism in a post modern world.
1) Gospel-theologizing. "Go to Nineveh and preach." Gospel is not "gerbers of the bible" with theology as "advanced stuff." All theology is an exposition of the gospel. Mark Thompson, NSBT, "Clear and Present Word". God gives himself - that is the gospel. The speech of God's main goal is the salvation of sinners. The Word comes to Jonah and says go preach.
"Human language is not best seen as an insufficient human creation, but as an imperfectly utilized gift from God. And the whole purpose of human language is GOSPEL." Tim Keller
Older methods of gospel sharing (evangelism explosion) did a fine job with systematic theology (God, Sin, Christ, Faith), but did poorly with Biblical Theology (Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration). Older presentations are more individualist/consumeristic. The Lordship of Christ over all of life doesn't naturally follow from them. The Emerging church has picked up on this. Better on corporate> kingdom, but weaker on atoning work of Christ. Leads to "liberal legalism" of "let's serve the poor, let's get a part of the kingdom program, let's live for others."
PROCESS rather than PRESENTATION/PROGRAM.
2) Gospel-realizing. Jonah 2:9. "Salvation is of the Lord." Didn't Jonah already know that? Yes and No. If you think you understand the gospel, you don't. There needs to be a lifelong process of deeply realizing the gospel.
Religion = I obey, therefore I'm accepted. Gospel = I'm accepted through the work of Christ, therefore I obey. Religion gives me control. Grace means there is nothing God cannot ask of me.
Putting money in a coke machine. There's the moments where you've put the money in, and there's limbo and no coke. You've got to pound the machine to get the coins to drop and it produces the coke. 90% of Christians are people in that middle state. The gospels gone in, but the pennies haven't dropped and nothing like real character change is coming out. God will spend your entire life shaking down the pennies of the gospel until they drop. Revival is when, corporately, the pennies drop. When the wonder of the gospel is recaptured.
"To see the law by Christ fulfilledMORE TOMORROW.
and hear his pardoning voice
transforms a slave into a child
and duty into choice."
- John Newton