We face an urgent need to relearn gospel communication. In an increasingly secularized and polarized culture, theological terms like sin, Christ, faith, and God are often misunderstood or rejected. Evangelistic defeaters bombard the hearts of Christians across our country. We need re-evangelization—a fresh preaching of the gospel to Christians and for cultures.
Re-evangelization needs to happen on two fronts. The first front is cultural. Not everyone needs to hear the same version of the gospel message. The small town grocer, urban professional, busy mom, burned out addict, cutting-edge creative, doubting skeptic, and spiritual seeker hear and respond differently.
The second front for re-evangelization hits closer to home—the church. Re-evangelization isn’t just a matter of communicating in intelligible, culturally relevant ways. We can heed evangelism critiques and gain fresh witnessing methods, and remain unmotivated to share the gospel. Why? Because there is a defeater underneath the defeaters—fear of what others think of us. We can heed all the evangelistic concerns and still refuse to speak about Christ because we are afraid what others will say about us. Therefore, both evangelized Christians and insufficiently evangelized cultures need a fresh preaching of the gospel.
I recommend a multisensory approach, employing the senses of sight, touch, and sound, to reinvigorate gospel witness. Each sense is critical to whole understanding and diverse communication of the message of Jesus.
Have you ever had the experience of seeing something familiar from a fresh perspective? Perhaps a work of art, or a new way of looking at an old picture, or even seeing someone you’ve known for years through the eyes of another person? The depth of our vision increases when we see something in multiple dimensions.
The gospel is the good and true story that Jesus has defeated sin, death, and evil through his own death and resurrection and is making all things new, even us.
Looking at the gospel from different perspectives, three dimensions emerge—historical, personal, and cosmic. Taken together, these dimensions enable us to see a flat, simplistic story of a man dying on a cross in its full, three-dimensional beauty
The historic, personal, and cosmic dimensions of the gospel work together to bring us into heart-thrilling union with Christ and usher in a whole new creation.
The gospel, when truly grasped in all of its richness and glory, will cause us to stop in our tracks, fall on our feet, and cry out to God in joyful worship or humble terror.
Jesus and Paul didn’t have a “gospel presentation.” Instead, they selected different gospel metaphors to meet the unique needs of their listeners. Similarly, if we listen closely to others, asking good questions, we will surface needs in their stories that only the gospel can truly meet.
This is just the tip of the iceburg. There are endless gospel metaphors that convey the power and grace of the gospel. Learning how to handle the gospel will make us more believable, personal, and discerning evangelists.
Paul avoids the pressure of getting “the whole gospel” out in one hearing. Instead, he carefully communicated specific gospel metaphors he knew would rouse interest.← Home Metaphors →