Paris Peace Accords 23 Oct. 1991

Sunday, February 26, 2017

[Veritas Forum at Harvard University] Is Jesus Christ Truth for the 21st Century? John Stott

Veritas Forum at Harvard University

Imago Dei / Image of God


It’s quite an interesting debate as to what the difference is between “to evangelize” and “to proselytize”

But I think you can find it in three things. 

One, is in our MOTIVES.  The motives of evangelism are good motives, they are seeking the glory of Christ, that he should be given the honor that is due to him.  In proselytism, our motives are often false; we are triumphalistic; we’re wanting glory to our church, to ourselves, to our denomination, to our agency, whatever it may be.  And it’s when motives are skewed that evangelism becomes proselytism.

Secondly, it’s the question of METHODS.  What method do we use in evangelism?  Now, whenever you’re using any kind of inducement, if you’re offering, say, in the Third World, you’re offering to feed the hungry IF they will accept Christ.  That is FALSE inducement

Or, if you’re using psychological pressure techniques, even warning people, you know, they’re going to hell if they don’t.  You can even twist that into our psychological pressure technique.  That’s a false method. 

Our only method is to make known the good news as honestly, fully, acceptably as we possibly can, and commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 

That we reject all underhand and disgraceful ways.

So, our methods are different, our motives are different.  Maybe I will add athird: our MESSAGE is different.  In proselytism, you’re speaking AGAINST other religions, AGAINST other ideology.  In evangelism, you’re only speaking for Jesus Christ and uplifting Him.

What is "liberation theology"? Christian can have any, or should have any difficulty with the concept that God wants human being to be free.  Andwhatever is oppressing them from that, we should seek their liberation.

The idea of the liberation of human beings from political, economics, social, personal, moral degradation and oppression—that we should seek their liberation is part of the gospel.  Of course we want human beings, made in the image of God, to be liberated from anything that dehumanizes them.  We want them to be authentic human beings.  They can’t be if they are oppressed.

So to liberate them from dehumanizing influences so that they become more human is a desire that all Christian people should have.

Now our problems with the liberation theologians, particularly in Latin America, is, I think, first that they tended to confuse that liberation with what the New Testament means by salvation.  And they are not identical things; they are two different things.

Secondly, that they tended to use Marxist, socialist analysis to explain the oppression under which people are laboring and suffering, which may be true but may not.  But it’s a pity, I think, to baptize any political ideology into Christ as they’ve baptized Marxism into Christ.

And thirdly, they tended—again, I’m generalizing—they tended toespouse violence, that the only way to secure this liberation of the poor and the oppressed was not an evolution, not reform, but revolution.

So those are the three reasons I have question marks about themwhile applauding their commitment to human liberation.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:35 AM

    Let me flex some German superiority here so that you folks know who I am.

    Last year, I met a couple Mormon missionaries at the local library. I asked them one question.

    I told them, "In the movie, The God Must Be Crazy, the main tried to return the evil discarded coke bottle which had caused havoc/contention in his innocent tribe. On the journey, he poached a goat for food and got detained."

    "When the judge asked him: Guilty or not guilty. The translator could not translate the word guilty because the main character's language does not have the word guilty. His people is very innocent and simple. There is no crime, not guilt."
    I told the Mormon missionaries, "I was very touched with that movie and wish that Eve did not eat the apple and learned all the evil ideas from the snake. I wish to remain innocent and simple."

    Then I added, "With that said, the American Indian tribe which received God teaching [according to Joseph Smith, Mormon founder] would be very innocent and simple too. They would lack a lot of words in their vocabulary, in their concept to adequately learn from God."

    So, I posed a question to the two Mormon missionaries, "So, how was it possible, Joseph Smith found an original and authentic Bible from a simple Indian tribe to translate into a new one for Mormon belief?"

    "Would the simple, primitive American Indian tribe's language, mentality limited the words of God?"

    Then I added, "Find a simple Amazon tribe in the rain forest. Try to teach them what ever version of the Bible you can find. They just cannot fathom the whole idea. They were too simple why we are too sophisticate, too evil in a way."

    One Mormon missionary was thinking hard and had a moment of wow as if he met Jesus Christ, me. The other one was very upset as if I was the Satan, being anti-Mormon.

    I was just being smart and logical. That's all.