The American church has an issue.
She simply can’t surrender the concept that success and prosperity are what God ought to present her. Even we who strongly denounce the prosperity gospel are drawn to the concept that development and affect is inevitable for the devoted. “If you build it, they will come” is a nationwide slogan—and assumption. If we do church proper, the church will develop. If we’re devoted in simply the suitable method, the tradition will respect and hearken to us.
However because it turns into more and more clear that we don’t truly belong in America, that we aren’t welcome within the public sq., and that our beliefs are thought-about bigoted and backward, we’re simply tempted to discouragement and fearfulness. Elliot Clark diagnoses the issue: “The mere potential of such shame, the possibility of being made an outsider, hinders me from practicing bold evangelism” (33).
Clark’s Evangelism as Exiles: Life on Mission as Strangers in our Personal Land critiques exactly this concept so as to encourage the church towards devoted evangelism in a tradition more and more hostile to the religion. Our identification as Christians on this world is one in all chosen exiles. Having a correct sense of that identification is prime to residing as devoted witnesses in a world hostile to the gospel. Clark sketches an outline of our identification as exiles and sojourners and demonstrates the way it grounds and informs the Christian mission.
What’s It About?
Evangelism as Exiles makes use of 1 Peter’s counsel to Christians who’re “elect exiles” because the framework for residing as devoted witnesses.
After encouraging Christians to embrace their identification as exiles on this world (1 Pet. 1:1–2), Clark grounds that identification within the hope of our superb dwelling to return (1 Pet. 3:15). He factors out why we must concern God greater than man, but additionally to point out respect to all (1 Pet. 1:17; 2:13–17). He helpfully describes evangelism as a assured declaration of God (1 Pet. 2:9–10). He reveals how residing distinctively Christian lives, particularly in hardship and opposition, proclaims the fantastic thing about Christ (1 Pet. 2:11–12). And he concludes by meditating on the fantastic thing about the household of God—the promise that we take pleasure in a style of our heavenly dwelling even on this life, and the way splendidly highly effective that gospel neighborhood is as a witness to the gospel (1 Pet. 4:8–10).
Devoted Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God
One of the rewarding parts of the e-book is the encouraging illustrations sprinkled all through, taken from Clark’s experiences proclaiming the gospel in a Muslim-majority nation. As a result of many Western believers view the Muslim world as one of many hardest locations to be a devoted Christian, Clark’s illustrations reveal the ability of daring and gracious declaration, affected person confidence in God’s work, and loving, hospitable lives.
One of many extra convicting parts of this e-book was Clark’s critique of our euphemistic description of evangelism as “sharing the gospel” (94–97). Clark cautions in opposition to utilizing language that implicitly catechizes us to look just for these fascinated with receiving the gospel. If we imagine in God’s sovereignty—if we imagine God can act like he does within the Bible—then we don’t want to attend for somebody who needs what we’re sharing. We are able to boldly announce the gospel, warn folks they have to repent and imagine, and be assured that God can save even those that are opposed.
Many Christians are a bit embarrassed to speak an excessive amount of about heaven and the hope of glory. It feels a bit “pie-in-the-sky,” a bit too faraway from actuality. However Clark (channeling the apostle Peter) helps us meditate on our fantastic hope and the way that serves as an engine for assured, gracious proclamation: “We need to hear and believe the promise of our future exaltation in order to overcome the threat of shame and disgrace that would silence our witness” (33).
Evangelism and the Church
Many Christians battle to incorporate different Christians of their evangelistic efforts. Some would possibly invite their non-Christian buddies to a church service, but it surely looks like dishonest to ask a fellow member to get to know and put money into our buddies. We act like evangelism is a non secular self-discipline we should do by ourselves for it to rely for something. My buddies are my duties. That pondering is flawed, and it fails to acknowledge the evangelistic effectiveness of a neighborhood dedicated to residing faithfully collectively.
As a result of most of Clark’s illustrations come from his expertise evangelizing in a context with out established church buildings, it might be straightforward to stroll away from this e-book with that mentality strengthened. Although he speaks about the fantastic thing about hospitality as an encouragement to converts who’ve misplaced the help of their households (ch. 13), even that feels targeted on what you and your loved ones can present. A better emphasis on the encouragement we’re supplied via residing life as exiles collectively would make this an much more useful software.
Purchase It, Learn It, Give It Away
Elliot Clark’s e-book is a present to Christians tempted to really feel discouraged by their elevated sense of alienation in America. Greater than that, it’s a clarion name to confidently declare the gospel in a world that desperately wants it.
A e-book this encouraging and convicting on evangelism is a must have for pastors to learn and provides away liberally.