Evangelism without the gospel

Evangelism without the gospel December 11, 2009

Have you seen the “Receive Jesus” ad on national television? (I can’t find it on the web. If any of you can find it, please post a link.) It has a rather cool-looking guy with a goatee and a black t-shirt against a white background. He says how life is hard. But that Jesus can make an amazing difference in your life. He tells viewers, wherever they are, to “receive Jesus.” It’s rather well-done, better than my description makes it sound.

But the ad nowhere includes the Gospel! He doesn’t say anything about sin or forgiveness or who Jesus is or what He accomplished for us on the Cross.

This is not uncommon, trying to be evangelistic while leaving out the evangel. Just telling someone to “receive Jesus” and encouraging a rote prayer to that effect without proclaiming the Gospel doesn’t make anyone a Christian, does it? I’m sure the makers of this ad do believe that Jesus died for sinners and that His death and resurrection grants forgiveness. So why did they go to all of the expense of this ad without saying that?

I’m all for using the media like this for evangelism and salute the effort, but the Gospel of Christ crucified for sinners surely has to be in the message, doesn’t it?


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  • Mark Veenman

    I’m always flabbergasted by this little exchange between an orthodox Lutheran and Lutheran pietist in Bo Giertz’s Hammer of God. This is what is so often missing in NA evangelicalism:
    “That is a word which can stand for things that differ greatly, my boy. I ask only what it is that you believe in.”

    “In Jesus, of course,” answered Fridfeldt, raising his voice. “I mean–I mean that I have given Him my heart.” The older man’s voice became suddenly as solemn as the grave. “Do you consider that something to give him?” By this time, Fridfeldt was almost in tears. “But sir, if you do not give your heart to Jesus, you cannot be saved.”

    “You are right, my boy. And it is just as true that, if you think you are saved because you give Jesus your heart, you will not be saved. You see, my boy…it is one thing to choose Jesus as one’s Lord and Savior, to give Him one’s heart and commit oneself to Him, and that He now accepts one into His little flock; it is a very different thing to believe on Him as a Redeemer of sinners, of whom one is the chief. One does not choose a Redeemer for oneself, you understand, nor give one’s heart to Him. The heart is a rusty old can on a junk heap. A fine birthday gift, indeed!”

  • Mark Veenman

    I’m always flabbergasted by this little exchange between an orthodox Lutheran and Lutheran pietist in Bo Giertz’s Hammer of God. This is what is so often missing in NA evangelicalism:
    “That is a word which can stand for things that differ greatly, my boy. I ask only what it is that you believe in.”

    “In Jesus, of course,” answered Fridfeldt, raising his voice. “I mean–I mean that I have given Him my heart.” The older man’s voice became suddenly as solemn as the grave. “Do you consider that something to give him?” By this time, Fridfeldt was almost in tears. “But sir, if you do not give your heart to Jesus, you cannot be saved.”

    “You are right, my boy. And it is just as true that, if you think you are saved because you give Jesus your heart, you will not be saved. You see, my boy…it is one thing to choose Jesus as one’s Lord and Savior, to give Him one’s heart and commit oneself to Him, and that He now accepts one into His little flock; it is a very different thing to believe on Him as a Redeemer of sinners, of whom one is the chief. One does not choose a Redeemer for oneself, you understand, nor give one’s heart to Him. The heart is a rusty old can on a junk heap. A fine birthday gift, indeed!”

  • Joel Osteen is a master at that – Jesus can make your life better, He can save you, but from what is never explained.

  • Joel Osteen is a master at that – Jesus can make your life better, He can save you, but from what is never explained.

  • Mary Jack

    A truly non-denominational representation? Prosperity churches and others now accepting membership.

  • Mary Jack

    A truly non-denominational representation? Prosperity churches and others now accepting membership.

  • Mary

    It sounds like a commercial running in the St Louis market. It features the pastor of The Family Church. They have run a series of them, offering Jesus as the missing piece to the puzzles in your life, answers to the questions you have, Call on Jesus etc. They are known as the church that Kurt Warner attended when he was with the Rams. I think he still has some ties there.

  • Mary

    It sounds like a commercial running in the St Louis market. It features the pastor of The Family Church. They have run a series of them, offering Jesus as the missing piece to the puzzles in your life, answers to the questions you have, Call on Jesus etc. They are known as the church that Kurt Warner attended when he was with the Rams. I think he still has some ties there.

  • Dan Kempin

    Perhaps, to put the best construction on it, the ad is not designed to be the whole of salvation and the church reduced to an 8 second spot. It may be intended to be a thought provoking encouragement to those who are apart from the church. It may not be fair to evaluate it as a sermon.

  • Dan Kempin

    Perhaps, to put the best construction on it, the ad is not designed to be the whole of salvation and the church reduced to an 8 second spot. It may be intended to be a thought provoking encouragement to those who are apart from the church. It may not be fair to evaluate it as a sermon.

  • Purple Koolaid

    In all fairness, this is no better than most of your LCMS churches use for missions. THey think a food kitchen, housing help, financial support is mission work. These are good things, but if the gospel is not part of it, doesn’t count as evangelism.
    At least the ad you discuss mentions Jesus.

  • Purple Koolaid

    In all fairness, this is no better than most of your LCMS churches use for missions. THey think a food kitchen, housing help, financial support is mission work. These are good things, but if the gospel is not part of it, doesn’t count as evangelism.
    At least the ad you discuss mentions Jesus.

  • WebMonk

    Along the lines of what Dan pointed to, a LOT of churches have a mindset about 50 years out of date about some things.

    At one point, there was a cultural awareness of the background of Christianity. One could say that you need to “accept Jesus”, or some variation thereof, and the hearer would be almost sure to have an awareness of the larger concept intended to be communicated.

    Phrases like that could be used as a minimal, compacted communication of the gospel.

    If that was truly the case 50 years ago, it most certainly isn’t the situation today.

  • WebMonk

    Along the lines of what Dan pointed to, a LOT of churches have a mindset about 50 years out of date about some things.

    At one point, there was a cultural awareness of the background of Christianity. One could say that you need to “accept Jesus”, or some variation thereof, and the hearer would be almost sure to have an awareness of the larger concept intended to be communicated.

    Phrases like that could be used as a minimal, compacted communication of the gospel.

    If that was truly the case 50 years ago, it most certainly isn’t the situation today.

  • Tom Hering

    “He says how life is hard. But that Jesus can make an amazing difference in your life.”

    The message is: “This will make your life better.” So the commercial says the same thing that any commercial for a product or service says.

  • Tom Hering

    “He says how life is hard. But that Jesus can make an amazing difference in your life.”

    The message is: “This will make your life better.” So the commercial says the same thing that any commercial for a product or service says.

  • This reminds me of the people with the “John 3:16” signs at sporting events and such — what nonbeliever is going to know (or care) what that reference reminds the Christian of?

  • This reminds me of the people with the “John 3:16” signs at sporting events and such — what nonbeliever is going to know (or care) what that reference reminds the Christian of?

  • CRB

    Without the preaching of the law, the
    gospel is meaningless, so perhaps its
    good that they “didn’t go there”?
    I certainly hope that “The Family Church” pastor preaches both law and gospel, then the Holy Spirit will work in the lives of
    those who are unbelievers and they will
    be brought to faith. But if it remains
    a “therapeutic message” in the church,
    what’s the point?

  • CRB

    Without the preaching of the law, the
    gospel is meaningless, so perhaps its
    good that they “didn’t go there”?
    I certainly hope that “The Family Church” pastor preaches both law and gospel, then the Holy Spirit will work in the lives of
    those who are unbelievers and they will
    be brought to faith. But if it remains
    a “therapeutic message” in the church,
    what’s the point?

  • Jeff,
    It was some 12 years ago I was in a room full of fellow Airmen watching professional wrestling. Ston Cold Austin was doing his blasphemous thing with Austin 3:16 (at least I took it as somewhat blasphemous.) One of the guys asked what is the 3:16 thing about. After half the room answered I don’t know, I quoted John 3:16 for them. They were a little perplexed that the guy who just drank 6 or seven beers with them had bible verses committed to memory. At least that one time some of those unbelievers got the message.

  • Jeff,
    It was some 12 years ago I was in a room full of fellow Airmen watching professional wrestling. Ston Cold Austin was doing his blasphemous thing with Austin 3:16 (at least I took it as somewhat blasphemous.) One of the guys asked what is the 3:16 thing about. After half the room answered I don’t know, I quoted John 3:16 for them. They were a little perplexed that the guy who just drank 6 or seven beers with them had bible verses committed to memory. At least that one time some of those unbelievers got the message.

  • one of the things that has been sort of making me wonder lately as I see “christian” billboards, and T.V. ads like this one, is the total divorce they often have from any church. I would think for this sort of advertising to be successful It should be pointing people to a local congregation. I don’t know who does those Billboards, but I would like to call them up and say, hey, think you could put my church webaddress under that. Of course sometimes you wonder if you want to be associated with the advertising often void of the Gospel. But it really isn’t evangelism if it isn’t pointing people to a congregation where they can be baptized, catechized, and communed.

  • one of the things that has been sort of making me wonder lately as I see “christian” billboards, and T.V. ads like this one, is the total divorce they often have from any church. I would think for this sort of advertising to be successful It should be pointing people to a local congregation. I don’t know who does those Billboards, but I would like to call them up and say, hey, think you could put my church webaddress under that. Of course sometimes you wonder if you want to be associated with the advertising often void of the Gospel. But it really isn’t evangelism if it isn’t pointing people to a congregation where they can be baptized, catechized, and communed.

  • Rev. Alexander Ring

    I would guess that this is the time of year when many churches are putting together ads for their Christmas services. Do all of those need to have both Law & Gospel, or is it okay if they simply invite others to hear the message of the Savior’s birth?

    I am with Dan Kempin on this. It is a commercial, not a sermon. A commerical isn’t intended to tell you everything about the product but generate interest. (Think Apple’s “1984” commercial.)

  • Rev. Alexander Ring

    I would guess that this is the time of year when many churches are putting together ads for their Christmas services. Do all of those need to have both Law & Gospel, or is it okay if they simply invite others to hear the message of the Savior’s birth?

    I am with Dan Kempin on this. It is a commercial, not a sermon. A commerical isn’t intended to tell you everything about the product but generate interest. (Think Apple’s “1984” commercial.)

  • shortman

    I know who you are talking about, that’s pastor jeff of st.louis family church. Its your typical prase band, non-denom church. The sermans are just as bad as the tv ad. There are no alter or crosses in the building, just a stage w/ there motto hanging above it: Honor God Help People.

  • shortman

    I know who you are talking about, that’s pastor jeff of st.louis family church. Its your typical prase band, non-denom church. The sermans are just as bad as the tv ad. There are no alter or crosses in the building, just a stage w/ there motto hanging above it: Honor God Help People.

  • Garry

    Perhaps you Lutherans can tell me about evangelism and baptism. I spent some time among the WELS, who were often encouraged by their pastor to talk about “Jesus’ love” to their friends (many of whom likely had been baptized), but never about baptism. I couldn’t distinguish what the WELS said from what any conservative evangelical church might say. But I did not understand why baptism wouldn’t matter. Shouldn’t a Lutheran who’s talking to a friend first ask, have you received Christian baptism? If so, then the Lutheran can talk about coming to church, etc. But simply to talk about “Jesus’ love” seems to me to ignore baptism [where the gift of faith is imparted sacramentally] altogether.
    Help me out.

  • Garry

    Perhaps you Lutherans can tell me about evangelism and baptism. I spent some time among the WELS, who were often encouraged by their pastor to talk about “Jesus’ love” to their friends (many of whom likely had been baptized), but never about baptism. I couldn’t distinguish what the WELS said from what any conservative evangelical church might say. But I did not understand why baptism wouldn’t matter. Shouldn’t a Lutheran who’s talking to a friend first ask, have you received Christian baptism? If so, then the Lutheran can talk about coming to church, etc. But simply to talk about “Jesus’ love” seems to me to ignore baptism [where the gift of faith is imparted sacramentally] altogether.
    Help me out.

  • Garry,
    Not sure why the pastor was telling them that sort of thing. I wouldn’t say that that is an approach that characterizes all Lutherans. Though I did have a prof. once who said that the Lutheran understanding of the sacraments might not always be the most helpful place to start the conversation. I suppose you have to have a bit of acumen with that. I don’t know.
    I have found baptism to be a great starter, especially when someone I know has just had a child or finds out they are going to have a Child. They often look perplexed when you ask them if they are going to have their child baptized, and it opens up for a great conversation regarding Baptism, the word of God, and the nature of faith, and any good conversation on baptism takes you to the cross Via Rom. 6.

  • Garry,
    Not sure why the pastor was telling them that sort of thing. I wouldn’t say that that is an approach that characterizes all Lutherans. Though I did have a prof. once who said that the Lutheran understanding of the sacraments might not always be the most helpful place to start the conversation. I suppose you have to have a bit of acumen with that. I don’t know.
    I have found baptism to be a great starter, especially when someone I know has just had a child or finds out they are going to have a Child. They often look perplexed when you ask them if they are going to have their child baptized, and it opens up for a great conversation regarding Baptism, the word of God, and the nature of faith, and any good conversation on baptism takes you to the cross Via Rom. 6.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Evangel, the good news of Christ’s atonement for all of our our manifold sins, has been corrupted into a shallow acceptance of Jesus into our “hearts.” Basically, mainline Protestantism has substituted emotion or feeling for the hard truth of the Gospel and the Law. This ad, which most mainline Protestants would abhor, exactly sum ups up the Mainline position, including that of the ELCA.

    The problem is that most modern people have fallen for the assumption that we humans are wonderful folk with ample capacity to take Christ into out “hearts” and to work our way past sin. Sic transit gloria mundi.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Evangel, the good news of Christ’s atonement for all of our our manifold sins, has been corrupted into a shallow acceptance of Jesus into our “hearts.” Basically, mainline Protestantism has substituted emotion or feeling for the hard truth of the Gospel and the Law. This ad, which most mainline Protestants would abhor, exactly sum ups up the Mainline position, including that of the ELCA.

    The problem is that most modern people have fallen for the assumption that we humans are wonderful folk with ample capacity to take Christ into out “hearts” and to work our way past sin. Sic transit gloria mundi.

  • DonS

    I agree with both Dan and Bror on this one. Dan is right that you can’t evaluate a 30 second commercial as a sermon. It is intended to pique interest. But, if it doesn’t point the viewer to a local church, where he/she can receive the Gospel, then what is the point?

  • DonS

    I agree with both Dan and Bror on this one. Dan is right that you can’t evaluate a 30 second commercial as a sermon. It is intended to pique interest. But, if it doesn’t point the viewer to a local church, where he/she can receive the Gospel, then what is the point?

  • Right, I wasn’t criticizing the theology of the people who made this commercial, not knowing what it is, nor do I believe that Christian messages always have to be evangelistic in proclaiming both Law and Gospel. But this one clearly WAS trying to be evangelistic, but it left out the gospel, even though I suspect those who placed the ad do believe that Jesus died for their sins. I’m just curious why they didn’t include that. (Maybe they think people don’t believe in sin or don’t want to be accused of being sinners; maybe they think the atonement is too negative or hard to accept.)

    I have been in evangelical churches that do the same thing, asking people to come up at an altar call and receive Christ, even though there was no proclamation of the Gospel. I don’t mean to raise theological differences, but I would think even in terms of their own theology, they would need to say something about sin and Christ’s redemption to provoke any kind of saving faith, even if they do emphasize a “moment of decision.”

    Also, I watched this on the Fox News Channel when I was in St. Louis, so maybe it is sponsored by a local St. Louis church, rather than being a “national ad” as I had thought.

    What might be an effective proclamation of the Gospel that could be televised as a 30 second commercial?

  • Right, I wasn’t criticizing the theology of the people who made this commercial, not knowing what it is, nor do I believe that Christian messages always have to be evangelistic in proclaiming both Law and Gospel. But this one clearly WAS trying to be evangelistic, but it left out the gospel, even though I suspect those who placed the ad do believe that Jesus died for their sins. I’m just curious why they didn’t include that. (Maybe they think people don’t believe in sin or don’t want to be accused of being sinners; maybe they think the atonement is too negative or hard to accept.)

    I have been in evangelical churches that do the same thing, asking people to come up at an altar call and receive Christ, even though there was no proclamation of the Gospel. I don’t mean to raise theological differences, but I would think even in terms of their own theology, they would need to say something about sin and Christ’s redemption to provoke any kind of saving faith, even if they do emphasize a “moment of decision.”

    Also, I watched this on the Fox News Channel when I was in St. Louis, so maybe it is sponsored by a local St. Louis church, rather than being a “national ad” as I had thought.

    What might be an effective proclamation of the Gospel that could be televised as a 30 second commercial?

  • I’ll go you one further, Veith (@19), and ask: can a 30-second commercial be an effective proclamation of the Gospel?

    I mean, sure, we could come up with a few Scripture passages or paraphrases that summed up Law and Gospel and focused on Christ. That’s not that hard to think up.

    A more interesting question is: does the medium lend itself to such things? What do all commercials do? I would argue that the answer is not “inform”, except possibly to inform people that a product or service exists. “Persuade” is a better answer, as commercials tend to skip logic and go straight for the emotions. Is that the context in which we want to put our proclamation of the Gospel, given most people’s negative attitudes towards emotional Christianity?

    Commercials are often viewed as inconsequential, ignorable — we even have remote controls designed to skip ads on recorded programs. They are made by large, uncaring entities that merely want you to buy their product. They are often viewed as lies, or at least they stretch the truth.

    I’m not saying someone can’t make a good — and, more importantly, effective — commercial about Christianity. But I do think most of the time and money spent on Christian advertising is wasted. It says more about our culture than it does about our beliefs. It’s easier to record an ad that talks to people than it is to talk to the people ourselves.

  • I’ll go you one further, Veith (@19), and ask: can a 30-second commercial be an effective proclamation of the Gospel?

    I mean, sure, we could come up with a few Scripture passages or paraphrases that summed up Law and Gospel and focused on Christ. That’s not that hard to think up.

    A more interesting question is: does the medium lend itself to such things? What do all commercials do? I would argue that the answer is not “inform”, except possibly to inform people that a product or service exists. “Persuade” is a better answer, as commercials tend to skip logic and go straight for the emotions. Is that the context in which we want to put our proclamation of the Gospel, given most people’s negative attitudes towards emotional Christianity?

    Commercials are often viewed as inconsequential, ignorable — we even have remote controls designed to skip ads on recorded programs. They are made by large, uncaring entities that merely want you to buy their product. They are often viewed as lies, or at least they stretch the truth.

    I’m not saying someone can’t make a good — and, more importantly, effective — commercial about Christianity. But I do think most of the time and money spent on Christian advertising is wasted. It says more about our culture than it does about our beliefs. It’s easier to record an ad that talks to people than it is to talk to the people ourselves.

  • Mary

    Found this on YouTube Hope it works for you

    http://www.encyclopedia.com/video/gb04Idn-4i0-tv-commercial-cemeteryst-timothy-lutheran.aspx

    copy it in to your address bar

  • Mary

    Found this on YouTube Hope it works for you

    http://www.encyclopedia.com/video/gb04Idn-4i0-tv-commercial-cemeteryst-timothy-lutheran.aspx

    copy it in to your address bar

  • Joe

    I agree with tODD and had tried to put it in words earlier – I failed where tODD has succeeded – so I say ditto.

    I think effective evangelism is almost always going too relationship based.

  • Joe

    I agree with tODD and had tried to put it in words earlier – I failed where tODD has succeeded – so I say ditto.

    I think effective evangelism is almost always going too relationship based.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Mary found a rather effective thirty-second commercial by a bright Charleston pastor on You Tube who very
    compellingly in a cemetery invites folk to come to his Lutheran church to hear of the surprising Jesus who overcomes death and the grave.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Mary found a rather effective thirty-second commercial by a bright Charleston pastor on You Tube who very
    compellingly in a cemetery invites folk to come to his Lutheran church to hear of the surprising Jesus who overcomes death and the grave.

  • I think that is just it tODD, a 30 second commercial is at a real disadvantage to present the gospel in a meaningful way. If it is going to be used as a medium of evangelism, its limits have to be recognized. I don’t think that it can’t be done. I think it can even be done well. But I have yet to see it.

  • I think that is just it tODD, a 30 second commercial is at a real disadvantage to present the gospel in a meaningful way. If it is going to be used as a medium of evangelism, its limits have to be recognized. I don’t think that it can’t be done. I think it can even be done well. But I have yet to see it.

  • George A. Marquart

    I have been a Lutheran for almost 73 years since my baptism, and for most of my life I have attended services at least once a week. During that time, I met fewer than ten pastors who understood what “the Gospel” is. Our Lord, Who certainly knew what it is, said in Luke 4: 43 …”I must preach the Kingdom of God to other cities also, for therefore am I sent.” How often do we hear anything about “the Kingdom” when the Gospel is mentioned? The fact is that if the Gospel ended with the Resurrection of our Lord, after He suffered and died for our sins, we would be no better off than we were before, because we would have no way of entering the Kingdom. But as that most ancient of hymns, the Te Deum, says: “He opened the Kingdom to all believers.”

    Before we chide others, because they do not mention “the Gospel,” we should know that the work of the Holy Spirit, the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom, Baptism, The Lord’s Supper, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit all are means by which our Father creates us anew and brings us into the Kingdom of His beloved Son and sustains us in it. Without the proclamation of this Kingdom as part of the Gospel, the Church, in the words of one of my fathers in the faith, becomes anorexic; it becomes weak and irritable.

    The authors of the Book of Concord knew this. The joy and the confidence, which are so lacking in our church to day, are all there.

    Peace and Joy,
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    I have been a Lutheran for almost 73 years since my baptism, and for most of my life I have attended services at least once a week. During that time, I met fewer than ten pastors who understood what “the Gospel” is. Our Lord, Who certainly knew what it is, said in Luke 4: 43 …”I must preach the Kingdom of God to other cities also, for therefore am I sent.” How often do we hear anything about “the Kingdom” when the Gospel is mentioned? The fact is that if the Gospel ended with the Resurrection of our Lord, after He suffered and died for our sins, we would be no better off than we were before, because we would have no way of entering the Kingdom. But as that most ancient of hymns, the Te Deum, says: “He opened the Kingdom to all believers.”

    Before we chide others, because they do not mention “the Gospel,” we should know that the work of the Holy Spirit, the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom, Baptism, The Lord’s Supper, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit all are means by which our Father creates us anew and brings us into the Kingdom of His beloved Son and sustains us in it. Without the proclamation of this Kingdom as part of the Gospel, the Church, in the words of one of my fathers in the faith, becomes anorexic; it becomes weak and irritable.

    The authors of the Book of Concord knew this. The joy and the confidence, which are so lacking in our church to day, are all there.

    Peace and Joy,
    George A. Marquart

  • Peter Leavitt

    Excellent, George.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Excellent, George.

  • tODD, good points. But I do believe works of art can express the gospel. I’ve seen films that express the gospel, and I’ve seen short films that express the gospel. I think it could be done in a 30 second film. (If a “commercial,” by definition, is about selling something, let’s not call it a commercial.) One of the short films I saw centers around Holy Communion, actually, put in the context of a story, with voice-over narration. (It’s “The Music School,” based on a John Updike short story.)

  • tODD, good points. But I do believe works of art can express the gospel. I’ve seen films that express the gospel, and I’ve seen short films that express the gospel. I think it could be done in a 30 second film. (If a “commercial,” by definition, is about selling something, let’s not call it a commercial.) One of the short films I saw centers around Holy Communion, actually, put in the context of a story, with voice-over narration. (It’s “The Music School,” based on a John Updike short story.)

  • Garry

    This may sound strange, but what made me take Christ seriously was watching Chuck Heston in Ben Hur more than 30 years ago. What came to my mind was, why is Jesus taken so seriously today? It was merely a thought, but I kept pondering it, and finally opened a Bible, where, upon reading the 10 commandments, I was scared to death.

    Weeks later I was invited to a church, heard that Christ died and rose for my sins, and believed it. I don’t promote Ben Hur as a gospel movie, but I can say that sometimes just hearing about Christ can make you think about Him and yearn to find out more.

  • Garry

    This may sound strange, but what made me take Christ seriously was watching Chuck Heston in Ben Hur more than 30 years ago. What came to my mind was, why is Jesus taken so seriously today? It was merely a thought, but I kept pondering it, and finally opened a Bible, where, upon reading the 10 commandments, I was scared to death.

    Weeks later I was invited to a church, heard that Christ died and rose for my sins, and believed it. I don’t promote Ben Hur as a gospel movie, but I can say that sometimes just hearing about Christ can make you think about Him and yearn to find out more.

  • fws

    the best gospel preaching is consciously proclamation and not persuasion.

    am not sure if it is purely coincidental that I appreciate art and books and journalism that presents reality in a rather naked way that forces me to think beyond my normal frame and challenge my certainty about certain things.

    comedians also accomplish this by making us laugh at ourselves where normally we would be offended.

    I always kinda didnt warm to the message laden spike lee films where I feel I am constantly being rib poked …”do you get it do you get it?”

    The preaching of the Holy Gospel is different. Todd hits nail on head. the power of the message is the message itself. I find myself committing the idolatry of thinking I can add to its power by enhancing its form of delivery….

    George Marquart: I always enjoy your posts. I am not sure I got the entire point of this last one. could you share more with us please?

  • fws

    the best gospel preaching is consciously proclamation and not persuasion.

    am not sure if it is purely coincidental that I appreciate art and books and journalism that presents reality in a rather naked way that forces me to think beyond my normal frame and challenge my certainty about certain things.

    comedians also accomplish this by making us laugh at ourselves where normally we would be offended.

    I always kinda didnt warm to the message laden spike lee films where I feel I am constantly being rib poked …”do you get it do you get it?”

    The preaching of the Holy Gospel is different. Todd hits nail on head. the power of the message is the message itself. I find myself committing the idolatry of thinking I can add to its power by enhancing its form of delivery….

    George Marquart: I always enjoy your posts. I am not sure I got the entire point of this last one. could you share more with us please?

  • fws

    #25 GEORGE MARQUART

    are you meaning here how luther divides things? the earthly kingdom of outward righteousness where God rules and effects his will only through the foreign other currency of love and the law with promises and threats ,

    and then the heavenly kingdom where only the currency of faith avails before God as inner righeousness and where God rules in our hearts?

  • fws

    #25 GEORGE MARQUART

    are you meaning here how luther divides things? the earthly kingdom of outward righteousness where God rules and effects his will only through the foreign other currency of love and the law with promises and threats ,

    and then the heavenly kingdom where only the currency of faith avails before God as inner righeousness and where God rules in our hearts?

  • I guess the apostle Paul was wrong for trying to persuade others to believe the Gospel.

    2 Cor. 5:11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others…

    see v. 10 esp. for context.

  • I guess the apostle Paul was wrong for trying to persuade others to believe the Gospel.

    2 Cor. 5:11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others…

    see v. 10 esp. for context.

  • Barry,
    I don’t get what you are getting at.

  • Barry,
    I don’t get what you are getting at.

  • Barry (@31), your comment appears to be a reply to my use (@20) of the word “persuade”: “‘Persuade’ is a better answer, as commercials tend to skip logic and go straight for the emotions.”

    And no, of course Paul was not “wrong for trying to persuade others to believe the Gospel”. But then, consider how he did it. Did he skip logic, going straight for the emotions? Anyone who’s read his letters knows he didn’t.

    If you can fit a Pauline argument into a 30-second commercial in a way that doesn’t completely obliterate the argument and the message of Christ that is at its center, and yet can be considered a good and effective commercial, then congratulations. I’d love to see it.

  • Barry (@31), your comment appears to be a reply to my use (@20) of the word “persuade”: “‘Persuade’ is a better answer, as commercials tend to skip logic and go straight for the emotions.”

    And no, of course Paul was not “wrong for trying to persuade others to believe the Gospel”. But then, consider how he did it. Did he skip logic, going straight for the emotions? Anyone who’s read his letters knows he didn’t.

    If you can fit a Pauline argument into a 30-second commercial in a way that doesn’t completely obliterate the argument and the message of Christ that is at its center, and yet can be considered a good and effective commercial, then congratulations. I’d love to see it.

  • @33 tODD,

    I agree that more is better when it comes to the Gospel. Why not start with Genesis and work to Revelation in sharing the Gospel if time allows?
    I am also not against using arguments & reasoning to present the Gospel such as Paul did “reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus.” (Act 19:9)

    My simple point is that using persuasion in sharing the Gospel is biblical. The problem with the-30 sec ad is that it is shallow, anemic, incomplete–not that the use of persuasion is out of bounds.

    Bror Erickson I have explained myself a little better this time.

  • @33 tODD,

    I agree that more is better when it comes to the Gospel. Why not start with Genesis and work to Revelation in sharing the Gospel if time allows?
    I am also not against using arguments & reasoning to present the Gospel such as Paul did “reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus.” (Act 19:9)

    My simple point is that using persuasion in sharing the Gospel is biblical. The problem with the-30 sec ad is that it is shallow, anemic, incomplete–not that the use of persuasion is out of bounds.

    Bror Erickson I have explained myself a little better this time.

  • Rev Grayl

    It is fine if we share the message Jesus has given us whether it is 30 sec or shorter. The shortesdt sermon in the Bible is 5 words (in the Hebrew) from Jonah. He shared the message God gave him and 100,000 people repented and believed. The message is the power of God, not our own, but we have to share it not skirt around it.

  • Rev Grayl

    It is fine if we share the message Jesus has given us whether it is 30 sec or shorter. The shortesdt sermon in the Bible is 5 words (in the Hebrew) from Jonah. He shared the message God gave him and 100,000 people repented and believed. The message is the power of God, not our own, but we have to share it not skirt around it.

  • Dan Kempin

    Following on Garry, #28,

    Criticism as discussion, for the sake of sharpening our own thought, is a good thing. Regarding the ad itself, I tend toward the Mk. 9 perspective that “whoever is not against us is for us.” Our Father is working in many and various circumstances to reach everyone and gather them to himself. Who can say this ad won’t play a role in God’s great and patient plan to lead someone home?

    That’s not to say we should chuck all theological reflection and do whatever. Dr. Veith, as always, asks a thought provoking question. I’m just saying it doesn’t bother me that this ad is out there.

  • Dan Kempin

    Following on Garry, #28,

    Criticism as discussion, for the sake of sharpening our own thought, is a good thing. Regarding the ad itself, I tend toward the Mk. 9 perspective that “whoever is not against us is for us.” Our Father is working in many and various circumstances to reach everyone and gather them to himself. Who can say this ad won’t play a role in God’s great and patient plan to lead someone home?

    That’s not to say we should chuck all theological reflection and do whatever. Dr. Veith, as always, asks a thought provoking question. I’m just saying it doesn’t bother me that this ad is out there.

  • Rev. Grayle,
    I think I can say this without being lumped into the camp of higher criticism, but it is very doubtful that Jonah’s sermon to Ninevah was the mere five words recorded. Often times, you find that the sermon is condensed to its essence, and not recorded verbatim in an historical account like Jonahs.

  • Rev. Grayle,
    I think I can say this without being lumped into the camp of higher criticism, but it is very doubtful that Jonah’s sermon to Ninevah was the mere five words recorded. Often times, you find that the sermon is condensed to its essence, and not recorded verbatim in an historical account like Jonahs.

  • CRB

    Mary #21,
    Short and engaging promo. Do you happen
    to know what denomination of Lutheran?

  • CRB

    Mary #21,
    Short and engaging promo. Do you happen
    to know what denomination of Lutheran?

  • wayne .pelling

    I found this quote from William Booth-founder of the Salvation army

    In answer to your inquiry, I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.”

  • wayne .pelling

    I found this quote from William Booth-founder of the Salvation army

    In answer to your inquiry, I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.”

  • Elizabeth F

    CRB #38,
    I believe that St. Timothy’s is an ELCA church.

  • Elizabeth F

    CRB #38,
    I believe that St. Timothy’s is an ELCA church.