Monday, May 14, 2012
If you're actively engaging those who don't believe the Gospel, you've been asked or you're going to be asked some really tough questions. Here's Tim Keller being asked some tough point-blank questions on the campus of Columbia University.
Here's what I see that is excellent and instructive for us as we interact with those who don't yet believe the Gospel. . . .
He is warm, winsome, relaxed and funny, but not defensive or angry. He speaks the truth in love.
He answers the question, but broadens the discussion. He is uncompromising, but connects. "Homosexuality is not God's original design, but we are called to love all our neighbors." "Yes, homosexuality is a sin, but no one is going to hell because they are homosexual."
He humbly admits the church's shortcomings whenever and where ever possible. "We don't love our gay neighbors." "We are greedy." "As a member of the Christian community, I have to take responsibility for the oppression of homosexuals." That's huge and so disarming. Look for places to give up ground.
He shifts from the sin of homosexuality to the "sin underneath every sin": We all want and try to be our own savior. This is our real sin issue and the reason why people go to hell. To put it in our recent James language, God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to those who will humble themselves and admit their need.
He works in the Gospel: "What sends you to hell is self-righteousness . . . .thinking you can be your own savior." "What sends you to heaven is getting a connection with Christ, because you realize you're a sinner and need help from outside." The guy who is interviewing Keller has never heard it put like this before and is clearly trying to take it all in. . . He admits "this is a lot to take in." Such a great reminder to us. . . people don't understand the Gospel.
These ways of engaging are transferable and something you can learn as you practice chatting with those who don't yet trust the Gospel. Look for an opportunity to practice this week.