On Monday, we began to address major challenges to world evangelization in the world today. The first issue was that of Truth. The challenges of pluralism and globalization have compromised the view of Truth with a capital T for many people, so that we are only left with what is true for me. If we give in to this, then we inevitably compromise the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life.
The issues that are addressed are big and universal issues. However, it is helpful to remember that the universals are always fleshed out in very particular situations. Michael Herbst serves in Germany. In a formerly Communist country (E. Germany) where the Communist party had monopolized control of Truth for so long, any conception of religious Truth is quickly dismissed. However they are using the brilliant method of “Greeting Evangelism.” The premise of “Greeting Evangelism” is quite easy – there are no big rallies, or crusades, but people living among non-Christians simply greet their neighobrs. They build relationships and trust. Over time, these people open up to them with their problems. Opportunities to share the gospel emerge. And now there is a church planted in that area. The big picture issues of relativism is worked out in very particular ways in the context of relationship.
This reminds me of my conversation with the head of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in Canada. After reading challenging papers on secularism and pluralism, I asked her how they were addressing these issues on the campuses of Canada. I expected some long, intellectually stimulating analysis of how the Christian worldview provides a more satisfying and truthful account of reality than the poverty of secularism. After a brief pause, she said, “Personal evangelism.” As students build relationships, then they are presented with opportunities to share the gospel.
We may face great challenges in our world today, but the answer is simple. Jesus. Just as Jesus reached out to tax collectors and sinners, so we must reach out to individual, broken people around us each day. It is in the context of such personal relationships that we, the church, can work to stymie the tide of such big picture issues around us each day.