The Semantics of Evangelism.

Last night in our small group, we discussed the fourth installment of the Castaway Series the Summit is doing on evangelism.  This series has been overwhelming. Convicting.  Incredible, really.

During the discussion, many members of the group who grew up  in church expressed their own internal frustrations when sharing the Gospel.  One frustration that many of us shared was the desire to use flowery, ‘churchy’ language when explaining the Gospel, and what a hindrance that could be, and it sparked a lot of thought for me.

In our defense of the Gospel, as we are sitting with a friend or co-worker unpacking the truths about God’s redemption, we must not in our thinking or in our words, assume a religious point of reference  in those we share with, even in a culture like the South where cultural Christianity still exists.   What does that mean?  It means we should simply take careful consideration with the words we use and not assume the person hearing them understands what they mean.

Words such as ‘saved’, ‘sanctification’, ‘justification’, etc. are true and right words.  But if the hearer does not understand what they mean, they can be more hindrance than help, and you’ll find yourself (as I have) spending more time explaining the words you’re using, than you do the story of the Gospel.

Through this series, we’ve emphasized using the phrase: Jesus in my place.  The Gospel in four words.  This phrase gives us an incredible starting point to actually explain    the deep truths of redemption, the fact that the Gospel means that Jesus stood in my place, took my punishment and gave me his righteousness.  This gives me a tool to ‘give a defense for the hope that is within me’, rather than merely using ‘church words’ as a crutch that most people in our culture won’t understand.

So give it a shot this week.  The Gospel in four words: Jesus in my Place.

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