Wednesday, June 15, 2005

This is Brilliant!!

I just wanted to post the last bit of an interview by Relevant magazine with Leonard Sweet, that is just straight to the heart of the church. The call to Be the church and Make Disciples!!

[RM:] I want to know about the "wussification" of the church, as you call it ...

[LS:] I'll give you one example of it: Street evangelism. You think about a typical street evangelist on a soapbox, with some kind of megaphone and he's handing out tracts. I mean, Wesley and some early Methodists in the late 18th, early 19th century invented street evangelism and they would attract these huge crowds; people were getting converted and there were these huge revivals! We do it today and it drives people away! It's not turning people to Christ, it's driving them away from Christ. Why? It's the wussification of the church, and the wussification of the church's mind and mission.

In the 1790's, a book was equivalent to one month's salary, so people didn't have books. And they didn't have literature in their homes. So pamphlets and tracts were the cutting edge hardware of the 18th century. Literally, a book is one month's salary, and you're on a street evangelism team giving out books and tracts and pamphlets. Well, hello! In the 1990's the computer was equivalent to one month's salary! And here we are still giving out tracts, which our ancestor's did, but if we were doing what they did, we'd be standing on street corners passing out Palm Pilots, PCs. You want to talk about crowds that would wait in line and listen to what we have to say?

Now, of course, that hardware would have to come with spiritual software. The early street evangelists just didn't have pamphlets, they had chapters from John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, or Fox's Book of Martyrs, or Thomas A Kempis' Imitation of Christ. So you just don't pass out Palm Pilots, you put Bible software on them, if you're passing out PCs, you put the whole Scriptures in there! We're such wusses! We're still passing out tracts. I mean, in the men's room they put tracts on the urinals. And this is evangelism?! Who's gonna pick it up? It's the wussification of the church's mind and mission, and it's embarrassing. Let's do for our day what our ancestors did for their day — is that too much to ask?

[RM:] Yeah, there's also the idea in there that Jesus raised people from the dead and we're just barely hanging on.

[LS:] Oh, absolutely. We're fighting over the five points of Calvinism or something. But the big Achilles heel of the church is the practice of attractional Christianity, which is how you get people to come to church. It's all "come and see," it's not "go and be." The whole Great Commission is not about "come and see," it's "go and be." We're all trying to figure out how to bring more people into the church and it shouldn't be about coming to church. It should be about coming to Christ. And then when those people come to Christ, the church's job is to send them out.

That is straight awesome!!
Wallace D.

1 comment:

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