Friday, March 28, 2008

Fear and Trembling, misappropriated.

I recently acquired a book from Reformation Trust called Jesus the Evangelist by Richard D. Phillips. I chose to get this book because it deals directly with the topic of personal evangelism, something very dear to me. I've only gotten through the preface and introduction, but plan to do a full review in the coming weeks. Nevertheless, I want to share some thoughts on personal evangelism with all of you before I read and review this book.

I titled this post the way I did as a case of irony more than anything else. Surely every Christian has heard this phrase in one form or another. For that matter, some of us can identify the exact places where this phrase is located in Scripture. To some of you astute readers this idiom may remind you of Søren Kierkegaard 1843 publication with the same name, but we'll not be concerned with that here. It is an interesting expression - simply because the two words are intricately connected. When we fear, we usually tremble; when we tremble, its usually because we're fearful.

I think what I find most interesting [about the phrase] is when we speak of their experiences with personal evangelism, much of what we hear is how we couldn't share our faith. Namely, that we feared and trembled. What's bad about this is we're doing this at the feet of man when it should be our posture corem Deo. I admit, I can be categorized in this same fashion from time to time. But what are we saying when we won't profess God before men? How did Jesus respond to our failure to testify about Him? In a 2007 study by The Barna Group showed that 35% adults feel they have a personal responsibility to tell other people their religious beliefs. I find this survey intriguing since in 2001 76.5% of religious Americans are Christians [1] and Christ himself gave us each a personal mandate to preach the Gospel to every creature, did He not?

In any event, my hope is as I embark on this study of personal evangelism [through this book] I will develop a better framework to work with and a greater passion to obey Christ when he says, go therefore and make disciples of all nations, and, go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. I'm very much looking forward to this and can't wait to share with you all what I learn.

I chose the complementary picture of Peter being crucified upside down to serve as a reminder to us all the cost some had to deal with when they stood for Christ (evangelized).

***What about you? Do you struggle with sharing your faith? I'd love to hear your thoughts as I persist through this book and deal with some of my own struggles. ***

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