Feb 26, 2014

Voicemail Evangelism: Jesus Calling, Indeed (PART ONE)

[note on the title:  If you don't know- and I didn't- there is a book out called Jesus Calling that is a devotional written in the first person, as if Jesus is speaking to you.  It is wildly popular, and I don't think that's an overstatement.]

As a part of my job, I call people.  People who've  placed orders with our business.  I could rant on and on about the things they say and do, but most of that is not important.

One thing I've noticed, though, that seems to be a growing trend, is voicemail evangelism.  And like many things, I see this as part of a bigger problem.

"Thanks for calling, and remember, "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

They don't say their name.  They don't say their phone number.  No way whatsoever for me to know if I've called the right place.  But at least they checked off their "witness" box for the day.  And with no effort!

So much of what Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote about in The Cost of Discipleship is as true today as ever:

"Cheap grace is preaching forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession. … Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate."

Maybe I'm stretching too far here, but I include along with that evangelism without personal effort, personal conversation, or even consent from the other person.

I once felt like this.  Like maybe I was misunderstanding evangelism, or maybe something was wrong with me.  I tried to make myself whip out Jesus on total strangers.  Even as late as seminary (preacher graduate school, if you don't know), I went with a group to Salem to evangelize the witches at halloween.  Because Jesus told us to go to the ends of the earth spreading His gospel, right?

He sure did that, but what exactly IS this gospel he was telling us to spread?

Look for my thoughts on that in part 2.

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