Driscoll's debut book contends that as believers we must be concerned about three things: the gospel, the church, and the culture. When we neglect oneDriscoll's debut book contends that as believers we must be concerned about three things: the gospel, the church, and the culture. When we neglect one of these three elements, we fall into one of three errors:
The Church + The Culture - The Gospel = Liberalism
The Church + The Gospel - The Culture = Fundamentalism
The Gospel + The Culture - The Church = Parachurch
I think this is slightly reductionistic, but it still provokes reflection. Driscoll's book is a plea for the church to be faithful to the gospel within the culture - not by isolating itself from the culture. He says, of course, that faithfulness to the gospel involves some measure of separation. As Christians, we are different - called out of darkness into light - and this will affect our life-styles and ethics. But Driscoll also contends that Christian liberty must be maintained in areas where Scripture is silent - and that our liberty should be used for the sake of reaching culture.
Of course, culture looks different in Seattle than it does in the Midwest, where I minister. Driscoll's church looks different than ours, with lots of tattooed, pierced, young Christians decked out in Gothic clothing and make-up! But Driscoll rightly argues that becoming a Christian doesn't necessitate a conversion to wearing business attire (like a middle-class, white suburban American Christian), but rather a conversion to Christ and His kingdom.
Be warned: reading this book will probably provoke a variety of deep and intense emotional responses, including laughter (Driscoll is hilarious), shock (Driscoll breaks all the conventions that you would expect of a Christian author), and (hopefully) excitement, as you hear of what God has done in his life and through his life and ministry in the lives of others....more
Tell the Truth is an excellent guide to God-centered evangelism, set out in four parts. Part one, "The Whole Gospel," defines the "content of our messTell the Truth is an excellent guide to God-centered evangelism, set out in four parts. Part one, "The Whole Gospel," defines the "content of our message." Part two, "To the Whole Person" focuses on "conversion of the total person." Part three, "Wholly by Grace," shows how God's gracious work in Christ is the "foundation for evangelism." And part four, "Offered by Whole People," discusses "character and communication in witnessing."
One of the strength's of Metzger's book is it's clarity on the gospel and it's contrast between God-centered and Me-centered evangelism. Here's a summary of the contrasts in regard to each one's views on God, humanity, Christ, and response to Christ. The language and wording of this summary is largely taken from Metzger, although somewhat paraphrased by me.
View of God
The point of contact with unbelievers for Me-centered evangelism is love ("God loves you") or friendship (Jesus wants to be your friend). But God's ownership and sovereignty are blunted. In God-centered evangelism, the point of contact is creation (God made you). God's ownership rights as creator are emphasized, as well as his love and grace. Justice and love are seen as equally important attributes of God. In Me-centered evangelism, God is impotent before the sinner's will. In God-centered evangelism, God is able to change and empower the sinner's will. The message is not "God is a friend who will help you," but "God is a king who will save you."
View of Humanity
In Me-centered evangelism, man is seen as fallen, yet with the ability or potential to choose what is good and to choose God. The sinner is one who seeks the truth, but lacks information. He needs love, friendship, and a new life. He makes mistakes and is imperfect, and needs forgiveness for specific sins. He needs salvation from the consequences of sin - unhappineness and hell. In God-centered evangelism, man is seen as fallen and unable to come to God by his own will-power. His mind is at enmity with God, and he does not seek after God. He needs a new nature (regeneration), not just information. He needs salvation from both the guilt of sin and the enslaving power of sin in his life. In Me-centered evangelism, man is seen as sick and ignorant. In God-centered evangelism, man is seen as dead and lost.
View of Christ
Me-centered evangelism views Christ as a Savior from failures, from sin, and from hell. He exists for man's benefit. The emphasis is on Christ's role as priest. God-centered evangelism emphasizes Christ's role as priest also, but also his kingly and prophetic roles. Jesus is viewed as Savior and Lord. His death is emphasized, but also is law-fulfilling life. In Me-centered evangelism, an attitude of submission to Christ's lordship is optional for salvation. In God-centered evangelism, submission is essential.
View of Response to Christ
Me-centered evangelism offers an invitation to be accepted. God-centered evangelism gives a command to be obeyed. In Me-centered evangelism, man's choice is the determining basis of salvation. God responds to our decision. Appeals are made to the desires of the sinner to escape hell. The sinner is saved by faith - repentance is not emphasized, and is thought of as "works." Assurance of salvation comes from a counselor using the promises of God and pronouncing the new believer as "saved." In God-centered evangelism, God's choice is the determining basis of salvation. We respond to God's initiative and grace from the whole person (mind, heart, and will). Truth is driven home into the conscience of the sinner. Man is saved by faith alone, but saving faith is always accompanied with repentance. Assurance of salvation comes from the Holy Spirit applying biblical promises to the conscience and effecting a changed life. In Me-centered evangelism, the sinner holds the key in his hands. In God-centered evangelism, God has the key in his hand.
Now, Metzger acknowledges that for most of us, our evangelism falls somewhere between these two positions. Most of us are not so extremely Me-centered as this contrast might indicate. I would even argue that many Arminians are not necessarily Me-centered in their approach (consider John Wesley or C. S. Lewis). Nevertheless, this Me-centeredness is latent in much of our witnessing, and Metzger has done us a favor by clarifying the God-centered content of the gospel.
This book is helpful in many ways, including much practical advice for personal witnessing and giving realistic expectations for it. I found the book encouraging. If you want to be a more effective witness for Jesus and the gospel, you should consider reading it....more